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May 25, 2007 10:33 PM

Tempe, AZ Mini-Review: Khai Hoan

Apache Boulevard in Tempe is best known for its numerous Middle Eastern restaurants, but Khai Hoan, a small restaurant serving Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, adds some variety to the stretch of Apache between between Dorsey and McClintock. Khai Hoan is hidden in the corner of a scruffy strip mall on the south side of Apache. Despite the unappealing setting and spartan decor, the restaurant draws a steady crowd, particularly at lunch. It is not uncommon at peak times to be asked to share a long table with another party.

Khai Hoan has an expansive menu with a wide variety of Vietnamese dishes, incuding pho, noodle dishes, stir fries, spring rolls, etc. Some dishes are quite authentic, with organ meats and other exotic ingredients, while others are more within the comfort zone of newcomers to Vietnamese food. Several meatless selections are available, although broths and sauces may not always be vegetarian. About the only item that fans of Vietnamese food are likely to miss at Kahi Hoan is bahn mi, a type of Vietnamese sandwich not currently on the menu.

In addition to the extensive Vietnamese options, there are also some Chinese restaurant standards available. These are certainly well prepared, but generally less interesting than the Vietnamese dishes. No alcohol is served, but the house-made lemonade and fresh-squeezed orange juice are both outstanding. Service is friendly and generally efficient, but during peak times customers may have to find seats and grab menus on their own while staff handle the rush. Khai Hoan is a bargain, with nothing on the menu priced at more than $10, and is open from 10 AM until 9 PM every day except Sunday.

1537 E Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 829-7118


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  1. Thanks for the review, sb. Another affordable, interesting restaurant is always a "plus". The outside photo shot looks like it could be in the same tacky strip mall as Haji Baba???? There used to be an Oriental market at the end ....... Tough parking at peak hours but will be on my list of "must trys" when I return from a summer trip.

    Believe that I remember reading this is the same family (niece? cousin?) as Cyclo's dynamic Justina? Any familial menu resemblance?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sherri

      Yes, it is in the same strip mall as Haji-Baba. Haji-Baba is at the west end near Oak St., and Khai Hoan is at the east end near Elm Street. As for parking, if the lot is full, you can park along Elm Street, and in 1 1/2 years, you'll be even be able to get there by train.

      There is a family affiliation with Cyclo, but the restaurants are different. As noted in Jasonaz's recent review, Cyclo is a bit more westernized and upscale in its approach to Vietnamese food. It serves a limited menu of Vietnamese and some Thai dishes expertly prepared but within the comfort zone of most customers. Khai Hoan has more spartan decor, but its menu is more extensive and its Vietnamese food is a bit more authentic than at Cyclo. Both are solid restaurants that complement each other.

      1. re: Sherri

        Khai Hoan is run by Justina's sister. I would say the primary resemblance is in the quality of the food and preparation, but outside of that, the sisters have taken very different approaches to their restaurants. Both are excellent.

        1. re: jasonaz

          I agree. Both places are really good. As long as you know what you are in for, you can't go wrong with either restaurant.

      2. Khai Hoan is a great little place. I just became a huge fan of Vietnamese food and was very delighted by the quaint little place that does not look like much from the outside. I had a spring roll and spicy beef noodle soup and was in heaven. My only issue was that there was no menu to be found anywhere online. The menu is posted here.

        Khai Hoan
        1537 E Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85281

        1. I love this place for pho. I love the family run atmosphere. Affordable yummy food and always friendly service.