Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2017 Austin City Guide: Vietnamese Restaurants

When I moved to Austin over 10 years ago from Houston, finding Vietnamese restaurants helped me with my homesickness.  When I don't have the time to cook or want to eat out, some of these places have been solid!  I think the Austin Vietnamese scene has really blossomed over the last few years as Vietnamese food has become more mainstream.  

Vietnamese food in Austin is plentiful! Sometimes, you just need to know where to look.  Here is just a SAMPLING of a few popular places around town.  The hours and addresses are listed and website linked when possible.  If I left out your favorite, please comment below!

In an effort to keep this post from being repetitive or way too long, I left out places my fellow food blogger over at The Smoking Ho has included in his Banh Mi roundup

2400 E. Oltorf Suite 1A, Austin, TX 78741
M-Sat 11:00 am-2:00 am
Sun 5:00 pm-11:30 pm
Like the name says, this is pan-Asian cuisine, so you can also enjoy Thai and Chinese dishes along with the typical Vietnamese fare.  A great thing about 888 is the late night/early morning hours.  So if you are craving Asian food at 1:00 am after partying all night, or need somewhere to eat New Year's Day, this is the place.

13000 N IH 35 #102, Austin, TX 78753
Sun-Th 11:00 am-9:00 pm
F-Sat 11:00 am-9:30 pm
Cyclo offers Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine.  Upon recommendations by the owner, I tried the banh xeo (Vietnamese crepe), salt and pepper fried shrimp and squid,  Cyclo Special Seafood.  We also ordered the mi ax xiu (egg noodle with bbq pork).
Cyclo Restaurant


Dong Nai
Lakehills Plaza, 4211 S. Lamar Blve #E1, Austin, TX 78704
Mon-Sat 11:00 am-9:45 pm
Sun 12:00 pm -8:45 pm

Duy Vietnamese Restaurant
10901 N Lamar Blvd Suite A-101 Austin, TX 78753
M-Sun 10:00am-10:00 pm
Located in the spacious corner unit of the Chinatown Center, Duy offers Chinese and Vietnamese dishes.  A friend of mine recommends the non-pho dishes such as bamboo duck with pork blood.  I am a fan of their congee!

500 E. Ben White, Suite D-200, Austin, TX 78704
M-Sun 10:00 am- 9:00 pm
I haven't had a chance to try Hea cafe since it's in South Austin, but hear it offers good Chinese dishes alongside the typical popular Vietnamese dishes such as pho and vermicelli bowls.  No tipping necessary which is interesting.

Multiple locations, check website for locations and hours
Lots of different Chinese/Vietnamese dishes offered here.  Get the hu tieu ap chao, crispy pan fried wide rice noodles stir-fried with your choice of protein (vegetarian option also available)!  They also offer pho, vermicelli bowls, and other pan-asian favorites.  The Spicewood Springs location is very family friendly.

Pho Dan
11200 N Lamar Blvd, Ste 200, Austin, TX 78753
Mon-Thurs 8:30 am- 9:00 pm
Fri-Sun 8:30 am -9:30 pm
Come for the pho; they even have vegetarian broths and options.

Pho Hoang
2521 Rutland Dr #400, Austin, TX 78758
Mon-Sun 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Casual setting specializing in pho.

Pho King
1021 E. Parmer Ln, Austin, TX 78753
Mon-Sun 9:30 am-9:00 pm
Best thing about this place is the cheeky name.

Pho Lee
2601 IH 35 Frontage Rd, Round Rock, TX 78664
Mon- Sun 11:00 am -10:00 pm

10901 Lamar Blvd, A108, Austin, TX 78753
Mon-Sun 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
This is my personal favorite place to eat beef pho in Austin.  Their broth is not too fatty, and is very flavorful.  Service is super fast but friendly and the place is always clean.  Located in the Chinatown Center.  This place is more consistent to Vietnamese restaurants in Houston that I'm used to, and they have locations there, as well. They specialize in one type of dish, and do it well.  

Pho Thai Son*
Multiple locations, check website for locations and hours
Pho Thai Son has a very nice setting and ambiance so it makes for a nice place to take out-of-town guests.  The food is a little bit more Americanized and so is also very accessible to many people.

Pho Van *
8557 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78758
Mon-Sun 10:30 am- 9 pm
This used to be one of my favorite pho places in town.  I'm not sure if the management changed or if my tastes have changed since the first time I tried it 10 years ago, but it just doesn't seem to be the same. Pluses are that it is a little easier to get to than some of the other places that are further soother north in Austin.

Pho Viet
 603 Louis Henna Blvd B200, Round Rock, TX 78664
Mon-Sun 11:00 am- 9:00 pm

Phonatic
Multiple locations, check website for locations and hours
Great fast-casual eatery for your go-to pho and Vietnamese options.

Fried tofu at Phonetic
8557 Research Blvd, Suite 146, Austin, TX 78758
M, Wed-Sun 10:00 am- 9:30 pm
T closed
I think Sunflower is on everyone's personal 'best Vietnamese restaurant in Austin' list.  The food is authentic and their banh xeo (Vietnamese style savory crepe) can't be beat!


The amazing banh xeo at Sunflower

Tan My
1601 Ohlen Rd #E, Austin, TX 78758
Mon-Sun 10:00 am-9:00 pm
Pho Tai at Tan My
Tan My is my personal favorite Vietnamese restaurant in town.  Pho and vermicelli bowls here are excellent.  Located in an unassuming strip mall next to a laundromat, this place is pretty authentic.  The Tran family, the owners, are incredibly friendly and service is super quick.  It does get a little busy for lunch time.

10901 North Lamar Blvd, Suite B-203, Austin, TX 78753
Mon-Sun 10:30 am- 9:30 pm
I like the congee here.  This is another place that specializes in Chinese/Vietnamese cuisine.  The place has a pretty cool history.  It is run by descendants of Teochew ethnic-Chinese from Vietnam.  This ethnic group are from South China and Southeast Asia.

**If your favorite place wasn't listed here, please check out The Smoking Ho's banh mi City Guide for more places.   



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Getting ready for AFBA city guide

Getting together the Austin Foob Bloggers' 2017 City Guide and checking out some Vietnamese places I hadn't been yet. 
 
Mi Xa Xiu at Cyclo Restaurant

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Xiu Mai (Chinese/Vietnamese meat balls)

My mom stayed with us for a whole month after John was born.  To say we were pampered is the least of it.  She made this for us while I was wallowing in self-pity about my peri-partum Bells Palsy (facial nerve paralysis) and Reid was fighting a flu-like cold.  And she helped with baby John.  The kitchen smelt so good.  I asked her to write down her recipe for me (a very hard task for someone who cooks as well as she does).  We ate it in baguettes with French mayonnaise and cucumbers and shredded and pickled carrots for banh mi xiu mai (though I couldn't chew the crusty delicious outer crust so I ate mine with lettuce).

Xui mai, or su mai, or whatever other crazy spelling we've come up for translating Chinese/Vietnamese words into English phonetics are basically Asian meatballs.  They are savory from fish sauce and soy sauce and have a bit of a chewy/crunchy bits sprinkled throughout from the waterchestnuts or jicama root.  So like instead of onions in Italian-style meatballs.  This is hard to describe. But trust me, they are good. Combine them in a French-style baguette and mayonaise and it's even yummier.

Ingredients:
Meat mixture:
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  •  1 can waterchestnuts (or 1/2 small jicama root, small dice, cooked in microwave for 1 min and juice squeezed out
  • 1 tbs. corn starch
  • 1 tsp. choped garlic
  • 1 tbs. chopped shallot
  • 1 tbs. white part of green onion
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tbs. oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs. fish sauce
  • 1 tbs. soy sauce
Sauce:
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • garlic
  • shalllots
  • 3 tbs. ketchup or tomato paste
  • 2 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tbs. fish sauce
  • 1 tbs. sesame oil
  • pepper
  • 1 c. water
Directions:

  1. Mix well.  Let stand 30 minutes.  
  2. Moisten hands with a small amount of vegetable oil to prevent meat mixture from sticking to hands.  Form into small ~1 inch balls.   
  3. Fry in 1 tbs. oil until golden brown on all sides.
  4. Simmer meatballs in sauce until fully cooked.  Taste to adjust seasoning as necessary.
  5. Add green onions

I had a baby

I had a baby.  John.  On November 26,2016 at 3:01am weighing 6lbs 6 oz and 21" long.
So there was a break from the blogging.  My next few posts are going to be back logged from when I started them or super late.  I may not have a post consistently again.  Or one that makes any sense.

Sleep deprivation is tough...

Almost as hard as quiting cheese and dairy because John may have a milk intolerance.

My baby burrito

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cold Buster Orange Smoothie

I don't know about you, but allergy and cold and flu season has been kicking my butt. Maybe it's the lack of sleep while waking up so frequently to breastfeed the baby, the Bells Palsy, or just being post-partum, but my immune system just hasn't been working great. 
So this is a great way to quickly get some vitamin C in that's easy to gulp down.   I love the taste of cardamom  and cinnamon and the turmeric adds anti-inflammatory benefits. Raw honey is supposed to help with allergies.  Flax seed adds omega 3.  I have a Blendtec blender so it's super easy to throw everything in (can be prepped night before) and blend in the morning while I'm toting the baby around in the morning.   Then it goes in my shaker cup!

2 c. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 large Fuji apple
2 carrots
2 mandarin oranges
2 tbs ground flax seed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Indian turmeric 
2 tsp ground cardamom 

Directions: combine all ingredients in a blender. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Easy Bake Christmas Cookies

When you have a 3 week old, you make super duper easy semi-homemade shortcut Christmas cookies. Made peppermint brownies by adding peppermint extract and crushed peppermint to store bought brownie mix, store bought chocolate chip cookie dough, and poor man's turtles (pretzel+melted Rolo+M&Ms). 


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Mom's Bourbon Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

I'm really bad at posting great holiday recipes until it's too late.  I'm just not that good of a food blogger.  But posting ON THE ACTUAL DAY? Does that count? HEB is open until 2pm so if you're still looking for a last minute Thanksgiving dish to bring to a dinner or add to yours, here it is!

Mom's Bourbon Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole
Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 3 green apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 6 tbs. butter
  • 1/2 c.dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 &1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. bourbon
  • 1 c. toasted pecans or chestnuts
  • optional: 1 bag mini marshmallows
Directions:

  1. Roast and peel sweet potatoes in a 375*F oven for about 30-45 minutes.  Slice in 1/4" thick rounds.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Lower heat to a simmer and add vanilla, maple syrup, and bourbon.  Simmer until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Preheat oven to 375*F.  In a large bowl, mix together sweet potatoes, apples, and sauce.  In a large casserole dish, layer sweet potatoes, apples, and pecans.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 50 minutes.  Uncover foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.
  4. Optional (if you're a fan of traditional marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole like me): Top with marshmallows and bake at 500*F for 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows golden brown and not burnt.