How do we say this delicately?
We think most Vietnamese food was conceived on a dare. It defeats us from the first bite.
Rubbery, tasteless pork roll, strange, gristle-laden beef meat from somewhere around a steer’s head, bread-like substances studded with beans…if it wasn’t for the pickled vegetables, nothing would have any taste at all.
What’s not disgusting is tasteless and what’s not tasteless is disgusting. And by “disgusting” we don’t mean stomach wrenching…just a lot of cheap, offal-ly innocuous ingredients that add up to a big zero.
Who in the world thought this stuff up?
There’s no sense and no flavor to banh mi sandwiches, and the only thing they have going for them is that they’re cheap.
And the bread is pretty good….as are those lightly pickled vegetables.
As for our recent House Special – banh cuon dac biet combo platter — it was an unmitigated disaster. We almost broke a tooth biting into something that looked like a jumble of deep fried carrots into which a stray, rock-hard shrimp had been tossed, and underneath that was a hush-puppy-like thing that could give WonderBread a run for its money….except this one was studded with lentils. Bean-y tasteless starch rolled into tasteless bread — an idea whose time should never come.
But in Vietnamese food, those bland on bland hits just keep on comin’.
Large white, rice noodles encase weird (again tasteless) orange stuff — carrots or shrimp paste we couldn’t tell — and our taste buds couldn’t tell either, and a pork mushroom flower roll (bahn cuon nhan thit) that didn’t bother leaving mush-room for the essence of either.
Maybe you need to be enduring a sweltering summer in the Mekong Delta to appreciate this food.
We just don’t get it. Probably never will.
To be fair, lots of people like this place, and the management is friendly and accommodating to poor lost souls like us and folks who know this food backwards….and love it still.
But we’ve eaten here half a dozen times (and at a couple of other banh mi joints around town), and what there is to love, or even like about this “cuisine” is something we shall ponder no longer.
Life is too short.
HUE THAI’S FAMOUS FRENCH SANDWICHES
5115 Spring Mountain Road #223
Las Vegas, NV 89146