Oh man. While writing this post, I took a look at the last time I posted about Vietnamese restaurants in Taipei and it's been years (blame insta!) and quite a few of them have closed since I posted about them. So this is the perfect time to post about this new Vietnamese restaurant I can't stop thinking about.
Opened over a month ago by two cousins from Hanoi, Vietnamese Bistro came from when Anya and Ryan couldn’t find any authentic Northern style Vietnamese food while studying here in Taipei. They reached out to me to give it a try and I went looking for it in the alleys not far from Taipei Main Station.
With a table full of delicious noodle soups, spring rolls and salads, we’ve barely even scratched the surface of their extensive menu which includes pho ga, classic salt and pepper chicken and sliced goose marinated with lemongrass and ginger. The rice noodles in their pho and French rolls for their banh mi is all made in house, by Ryan, the cousin who was a chef back in Vietnam.
My favorites I kept going back to were
the Bun tron (dry rice noodles) with pork (NT$120),
(I've always been partial to noodle salads which are the best of both worlds with slippery chewy noodles and crispy lettuce, carrots and veggies all in one bite. Light for a summer day or when you're not feeling like something soupy.)
the chicken papaya salad (must order) (NT$70)
(Crunchy, sweet and refreshing)
fried spring rolls (NT$80/120) nem rang
(Cut into bite sized pieces, these were so crispy and addictive with plenty of flavor)
and washing it down with sweet Tamarind juice (NT$50)
The bun ca (rice noodle fish soup) (NT$120) and pate banh mi (NT$80) are among their specialties to try if you have room, as well as their version of Northern traditional beef pho (NT$130). When we tried both at the same time, as the tangy and spicy broth of the bun ca was overpowered tasting the flavor in the lighter broth of the pho. Vietnamese Bistro’s pho comes from simmered beef bones and star anise, and their rice noodles are wider and soft. Because they make their pho rice noodles from scratch, they’ve broken into shorter strands to spoon up rather than do noodle lifting. The broth of the bun ca had a sweetness from the tomato and large pieces of fried fish were filling. If I had to pick one of the two, I would try the bun ca just because it’s so different.
The pate banh mi comes as a whole sandwich, but they kindly cut it into quarters after we asked them to. I am almost too full after all the food to take a bite, but I couldn’t resist. The French bread is made in house too, with a smear of pate, crunchy fresh veggies. Next time I would probably try the pork banh mi.
The restaurant is small but clean, with charming murals hand painted on the walls by Anya, one wall has their most popular dishes making it easy to order. The pricing is student friendly, or as they say CP is high, so it’s definitely worth a try the next time you’re craving Vietnamese food.