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Vietnamese crepe (banh xeo) recommendations (South Bay)?

b
blorp Nov 28, 2005 02:55 PM

Hello,

Banh xeo is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, and I was wondering if anyone would recommend places that whip up a good version?

I've tried several places (listed below), but I'm seeking eateries closer to home, like the Mountain View / Sunnyvale region.

* Anise Cafe (San Jose) - Minced tofu with shrimp, quite delicious. They chop up the salad herbs, rather than the more traditional plate of whole lettuce, mint, etc leaves.

* Citronelle (San Jose) - Alas, they only serve it on limited days (Mon-Wed or Mon-Thur, cannot remember specifically). But very yummy when it is available.

* Tao Cafe (San Francisco) - The add pea sprouts instead of mung bean sprouts, which is a lovely variation. Also includes tasty slices of chicken instead of pork. (I prefer chicken/shrimp/tofu over pork, but that's just me. :-)

Thanks in advance!

  1. b
    beach bum mama Nov 28, 2005 05:01 PM

    Sorry I can't give a south bay location, but I've had the banh xeo at Slanted Door (Ferry Building) several times, and it is simply wonderful!

    1. c
      Carb Lover Nov 28, 2005 05:42 PM

      I have heard very good things about the banh xeo as well as other dishes at Quang Da in downtown San Jose (see link). They use pork and shrimp, which is the traditional prep. Please report back if you try it.

      There's a banh xeo stall at the food court in Grand Century Mall (Story and McLaughlin). Some people here have liked it, but I found it rather bland and watery the one time I tried it. That's all they do, so it may have been an off time though...

      Link: http://www.metroactive.com/papers/met...

      4 Replies
      1. re: Carb Lover
        m
        Manda Nov 28, 2005 06:29 PM

        The banh xeo I've had in the Grand Century mall have been excellent almost every time I've had it. I love how they crisp the in-shell shrimp. The exterior has an excellent char/crisp on the outside with a slightly tender interior.

        The last time I had it though, I didn't get enough greens and herbs and I think they skimped on the filling. That was partly my fault though - I went in the later afternoon and I think they were just running low on ingredients.

        1. re: Manda
          c
          Carb Lover Nov 29, 2005 02:31 AM

          Thanks for your input. Is this the same banh xeo stall in the food court or at one of the sit-down restaurants? I don't remember in-shell shrimp, but my version was rather forgettable so I could be wrong...

          Truth be told, I like the idea of banh xeo better than the actual taste...even when made pretty well.

          1. re: Carb Lover
            n
            Nathan P. Nov 29, 2005 02:19 PM

            I have the same thought; Banh Xeo is one of those dishes that I think sounds amazing but does not live up to ordering excitement. Part may be that while I have learned to eat shell on shrimp I don't really like them. I also find so many versions to be overloaded with bean sprouts which I like in more modest quantities. Plus I just can't eat fast enough to keep the whole thing crisp. The version I have like most is at the Cambodian restaurant, Angkor Borei, in SF. They use ground pork (plus shrimp and sprouts) which seems to balance out the textures better for me though you don't get as many herbs.

            I did really like the Bun Rieu at the crepe stand at grand century mall and have been meaning to get back for a second try.

            1. re: Nathan P.
              c
              Carb Lover Nov 29, 2005 02:44 PM

              Thanks for your input, Nathan. You now remind me that the banh xeo stall at GCM sells other items besides banh xeo. That seemed to be the most popular dish though.

              Since I don't really care for bean sprouts, banh xeo often doesn't do it for me since many places economize on the meat and load up on sprouts. Adds insult to injury when the meat/shrimp don't taste fresh. The banh xeo I ate in Vietnam was a little more balanced, but it was still not that memorable relative to the other vivid tastes I had. The only impressive banh xeo I've come across was at a funky place just east of LA...huge, nicely charred, stayed crispy forever, good fillings. Look forward to trying Quang Da's version.

      2. c
        Carb Lover Nov 29, 2005 04:09 PM

        Just remembered that I have heard good things here a while back about the banh xeo at Viet Ville near Oakridge Mall in S. San Jose. Any updates on this place?

        1. a
          ahong Nov 29, 2005 10:48 PM

          One of the best Banh Xeo I've had is at a restaurant in the same small plaza as the Nam Vang restaurant on Alvin near Tully in San Jose. I can't remember its name though. Surprisingly, Nam Vang (Vietnamese for Phnom Penh) is known for its Cambodian noodle soup, but at the restaurant with the great Banh Xeo, the same dish (Hu Tieu Nam Vang) is even better, imo. If you want to try the soup, or any southern vietnamese rice noodle soup, ask for the "dry" version, which is more tastier with a small bowl of broth on the side. That way the noodle stays less watered down.

          Link for Nam Vang.
          http://siliconvalley.citysearch.com/m...&

          2 Replies
          1. re: ahong
            n
            Nathan P. Nov 30, 2005 02:41 PM

            Thanks for the tip. The Lion market in this area is one of my favorite asian markets so a new restaurant in the area to try is appreciated. So do you dip noodles in the side bowl of broth or just drink it straight?

            1. re: Nathan P.
              a
              ahong Dec 14, 2005 08:44 PM

              You'd simply pour it all over the noodle just before you eat, to keep noodle al dente. Furthermore, the noodle will typically be covered with additional tasty sauce when you order it "dry" a la lo-mein, and that for Phnom Penh noodle, the broth might even contain pork bone chunks. Note that this does not apply to Pho, which has no "dry" version.

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