Vietnamese Food in Houston

We have threads for bbq, burgers and Mexican food. This being Houston, we need a thread about Vietnamese food.

There are several dishes I’ve been wanting to explore lately - Bo Luc Lac, or Shaking Beef, for one. I had it recently for only the second time at Hughie’s. Then there’s Banh Xeo, the Vietnamese Rice Crepes. I’ve had only once, at Thien An in Midtown. Lots of people say that’s the best one in town but I didn’t understand how to eat it so I need to return and practice. Then there are a few other places around town that have versions. And also Com Tam dishes. I’ve had only once, also, at Thuan Kieu Com Tam on Bellaire. I like Indian Thalis and Tex-Mex Combo Platters - plates with a good variety of dishes on them, and that seems to be what Com Tam is - Vietnamese combo plates with a unifying element of Com Tam or Broken Rice. There are several places in Chinatown specializing in Com Tam.

So yesterday I was going to get started on this but I was running late for lunch and didn’t want to get stuck in afternoon drive time traffic on the way home so I checked the box that said ‘None of the Above.’ I went to Tau Bay, on Beechnut at 59/69, very close by to me. It identifies as a ‘Vietnamese Noodle House.’

I’ve been there many times before; it’s convenient, clean, friendly, and the food is good if not exceptional. I always get food to go because the portions are so huge and the restaurant seating is more oriented toward large groups.

First thing I noticed was the shopping center exterior has been spiffed up (the restaurant occupies part of a former K-Mart). The interior also seemed to have been spiffed up and there seemed to be fewer of the big round tables and more smaller eating arrangements. I wasn’t sure if I recognized any of the staff but they were all very friendly, as they always have been.

I tried the grilled pork rolls, Gui Cuon Thit Nuong. This is the first time I’ve ever tried these anywhere; I always get the shrimp versions. This was just grilled pork, ‘vegetables,’ - all I got was lettuce, I think- and rice vermicelli. Hmm. Okay but nothing special. The peanut sauce, however, was excellent, perhaps the best I’ve ever had, and a very generous portion, close to half a cup. I will have plenty for all four rolls versus usually running out after only 2.

And a dish I’ve had before, Hu Tieu Mi Dai, clear rice and egg noodles soup with chicken, rice and shrimp. The presentation, for take-out, was different. Before I just got the ingredients in a clam-shell box and produce bag of the sprouts and cilantro and had to provide my own bowl; this time the ingredients were in a disposable bowl. Neato. And the broth this time was almost too hot to handle whereas it’s been just lukewarm before. The lid of the broth container was distorted by the heat; I wonder how much melted plastic I got???

After the picture I ladled 2.5 C of the broth into the bowl, added the garnishes, and dug in. The broth is fantastic, much better than I remember. The egg noodles, very thin, were matted together and underneath them the rice noodles were practically melded together in a solid sheet. Next time, I’ll take everything out of the bowl and divide up for at least two portions and do some separating of the noodles.

But this was excellent. I’ve never had this dish at any other place so I can’t make any comparisons except to my previous sampling here.

I’m thinking, with all the changes I noticed, there has been a change in ownership, management or in the kitchen. And that’s good news.

It wasn’t until I’d slurped about half of the bowl and put the leftovers away and went in to the computer to upload my pretty pictures that I realized I had not take a picture of the bowl with broth and condiments. take my word for it, it was gorgeous. :blush:.

Half the leftovers made a great breakfast today, too.


This all looks divine! Is that a shrimp won ton on top of the bowl?

Many Asian restaurants have Vietnamese dishes along with Chinese and Thai. I’m a creature of habit and usually get the shrimp spring rolls (glad to hear about that peanut sauce, my fav was at the erstwhile Van Loc and I miss it) and the vermicelli bun most often with Vietnamese rolls instead of a meat.

1 Like

Yes. The shrimp was tough and over-cooked. I threw the shrimp away. Shrimp in the soup were good, though.

I did not need these, I kept telling myself, but I kept seeing pictures of them online and somehow they wound up on my order. Too hot too eat when first delivered to the table, which was after the rest of my order. Better after cooling off some and surprisingly good warmed up a little out of the fridge the next day.

Pho Tai Bo Vien - rare steak and meatballs. Very good broth. I added just a little hoisin after slurping a good bit of the broth just as it came out of the kitchen.

The accoutrement and some Thai Milk Tea. I used just about all of that but the Milk Tea wasn’t a good choice - shoulda got some hot tea.

This place is about a mile from me, one of the branches of the Pho Binh Trailer on the SE side which has been ranked as best in the city in past years. I’m not enough of an expert on Pho to say but this was very good. I don’t have enough experience to know what combinations I like the best, either, so I just try different things.


There’s a Pho One near me I need to try. I’ve been there once before, different location and it was pretty good.

I like Pho Dien. And am at the Pho Saigon location in Katy a couple of times a month. Partly because it’s convenient, I suppose, but there are at least two-dozen Vietnamese noodle houses out here, and I’ve tried most of them. I definitely like Pho Saigon the best.


I understand this. I almost went back to Pho Binh 59 today. Hungry for some more.

I had seen that list - Pho Dien and Pho Danh are both on my list. I’ll have to find the Pho Saigon nearest me.

I’ve been to Pho Ga, too, the chicken pho place, a couple of years ago. Need to go back.

1 Like

I know about the location at Wilcrest and Westheimer but where is another? The website doesn’t mention another.

Also, why is the hyperlink icon now the Facebook icon? Does Zuckerberg own Hungry Onion now too?

We used to hit Pho One at least once a week. My son loved the banh mi. As for pho, I’m a pho ga guy.

Chicken Soup all the way. Haven’t been back in years though.

I’ve noted before that my first Vietnamese was at Nam on Westheimer at Fondren. It was great but the chef had several absolutely unique non-traditional dishes that I crave to this day.

1 Like

I do love the pho at Pho Saigon, but also the char-grilled bbq pork with vermicelli, and those hot crispy fried Vietnamese rolls that you wrap with cool lettuce and dip into fish sauce before heading them toward your mouth.


It was near downtown, maybe it wasn’t a Pho One.

My favorite too! I get them with vermicelli.

1 Like

Tay Do at Westheimer and Highway 6 has a Viet menu and their Vermicelli Bowl with grilled pork and those crispy rolls is excellent.

1 Like

Pho Tai with eye of round steak. I got it with Soda Chanh, hand-squeezed limeade with soda.

Broth was excellent - very aromatic and better than Pho Binh I’d say- and scaldingly hot. The beef cooked very quickly and it wasn’t as good as the beef at Pho Binh.

From what I’ve read this place is touted for it’s broth and quick service. It lived up to the hype on both accounts.

Worth knowing - there’s a parking lot on the back side of the mall, right outside the door from this place in the back corner of the mall, straight back from Ocean Palace. I’m not sure how you get there (!) but if I go back I’m going to try to find out.

Pho Danh, 11209 Bellaire in Hong Kong City Mall.

Ha. I got lost back there trying to find my car in the Ocean Palace parking lot after our recent dim sum get-together.

After dim sum we took a tour of the mall and I figured I could find a short cut to my car if I didn’t go all the way back through the restaurant.

I ducked out what seemed like a convenient back door. It wasn’t.

1 Like

It’s worth trying to park in the back if it’s raining or Chinese New Year, but otherwise just do the best you can. Even the farthest parking space out front is about equal to walking up and down two aisles in Hong Kong Market and which of us DOESN’T need the exercise?!?

Parking in the back amongst the overflowing and leaking dumpsters is no way to start your culinary experience!


Checked out this place relatively close to me in Bellaire - Pho VN 21. Nice clean little place, only been there a few years, easy to miss.

I had high hopes but the broth was lacking in aromatics/taste. This was the Pho Tai Nam - eye of round and well done flank. There was a lot of meat, more of the flank than the round, and proportionately less noodles. Vegetables and herbs were fresh and plentiful and I used all of them plus both hoisin (in a squeeze bottle, possibly house-made?) and sriracha. The Soda Chanh was a DIY version - a glass of limeade, about 4/5ths full, a little too sweet for me, and a can of seltzer, which cut the sweetness.

Along this stretch of Bellaire between Chimney Rock and Hillcroft you mostly find Mexican and Central American businesses and eateries. Appropriately here, the menu is in Vietnamese, English and Spanish. What I had was Sopa de fideos de arroz con cuete en trozo y flanco. The restaurant occupies a small corner of a building housing a large, usually packed seafood house called El Pacifico and parking can mean about a 50 yard hike to the restaurant.

This was the small bowl, rang up as $6.19, and was very filling but not really satisfying. I don’t expect to return.

Pho VN 21, 5800 Bellaire, Suite 101


This is at Pho Dien, on the list posted above by Jaymes and one she has been to. This is the house specialty - Pho Tai Uop - rare steak, marinated. Some sources say it’s filet mignon, others say it’s eye of round, sliced thin, pounded to tenderize and marinated. Whatever - it’s excellent. The broth was the beefiest tasting I’ve encountered and the meat the tenderest. Aromatics were more subdued than in the pho at Pho Danh. This was the small bowl.

The vegetables and herbs were fresh except the bean sprouts which were warm. I’d guess they’d been steamed a bit? And lost a little crispness. There was a small dispenser of a chili paste on the table - I’ve missed that if it was at any of the other places. I like it better than either the hoisin or sriracha and added a couple of pinches.

Unfortunately the availability of two wedges of lime tempted me into adding too much. I must learn self control. But I’ll definitely be back.

Service was very fast; the place wasn’t at all busy at about 2:30 pm.

This is right next door to Hai Nam, a barbecue place where I’ve gotten duck before, and just a little east of here is Pho Ga Dakao, the chicken pho specialists.

Pho Dien, Bellaire @ Kirkwood


I began to worry that I might be developing a soup addiction so I got something different this time - STEW!

This is Bo Kho, a simple Vietnamese beef stew. There’s lot’s of meat chunks in there - either chuck or brisket, not sure but very tender - and chunks of carrots. There’s lots of fish sauce in the broth, according to the recipes. Very tasty but I was expecting/wanting more masticatible ingredients :grin: so I was a little disappointed.

I got the Bo Kho Banh Mi version, this also comes with rice noodles instead of a baguette or egg noodles. There was way too much bread for the quantity of broth that needed sopping so I brought the leftovers home to make friends with some good butter.

More of the chili paste. Is this considered a variety of nuoc cham or is there some other name for this? Definitely better than sriracha. I used it all up.

I ordered the small bowl but was charged for the Lunch Special, which is $3 cheaper. It was 2 cups worth.

I used to go to this place when it was called Thiem Hung and had some very good banh mis. I also had pho here years ago and some other things. Then there was a change of ownership, name change to Cafe TH. This place has a very good rep among some foodies. There was also a Cafe TH Express at the Fiesta on Kirby @ S. Main that I picked up food to go from several times.

Cafe TH

1 Like

Yes I’ve read a lot over the years about people’s love for this place.

Not a variety of nuoc cham. Generically called “tương ớt” and the most common kind is also made by Huy Fong. There are other brands and also easy to make in house so I’m not sure what you had. I prefer the Sambal Olek which doesn’t have garlic.

1 Like