Okay, okay, so I messed up. I kinda, sorta, actually, definitely forgot to eat something vegetarian last week, causing me to forgo a meatless post for today. And although I didn’t keep my promise of eating meat-free, I did make sure to take note of the vegetarian options on Pho Tau Bay’s menu and I promise to share my findings.
Ever since I had my first spring-rolling experience here, I have been craving Vietnamese food almost daily. There’s something about the fresh herbs (especially cilantro!), savory broths, char-grilled meats, and crunchy veggies that I can’t seem to get out of my head. It’s exam week for my boyfriend and his brother, so on Friday I took the two of them to Pho Tau Bay on the West Bank for some hot and healthy pho and Vietnamese po-boys. I was urged by friends to not only try a bowl of their popular pho, but to also try a po-boy, and one of the bun bowls (vermicelli salad bowls). We ordered a little bit of everything, starting with some spring rolls with pork and shrimp. Compared to the other spring rolls I’ve had here and here, these completely lacked. The pork was dry and I didn’t taste nearly enough herbs–we ate them anyway. For our main dishes I ordered the Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio (Stir Fried Marinated Lemon Grass Beef with Egg Roll and Vermicelli Noodles), my boyfriend ordered the Banh Hoi Bo Xao (Stir Fried Lemon Grass Beef with Pressed Vermicelli Squares), and his brother got the Pho Tai (hot broth with fresh veggies and medium rare beef), and the Banh Mi Bi Nem Nuong (Shredded Pork and BBQ Meatballs on French Bread with Hot Peppers). I thought mine was the best, with crispy beef, fried egg rolls, and noodles drenched in fish sauce. My boyfriend enjoyed the flavor of his, but was confused about how to eat it, and his brother thought the po-boy bread was dry. The pho, on the other hand, was awesome. The depth of flavor from the savory broth, jalapenos, and medium rare beef made this soup the perfect warm and comforting meal. We took turns sharing the regular-sized bowl, which I think would be the perfect size for one person, but they do offer a large size as well.
Ok, so now onto what this post is supposed to be about: vegetarian options. I’m happy to say that Pho Tau Bay has a vegetarian option for each kind of dish, but the only real difference is that they’re made with vegetable broth as opposed to chicken or beef, and everything has deep fried tofu instead of meat. Now, I’ve never had deep fried tofu (though I’m skeptical that anything deep fried could be bad) but I think a bun bowl with fried tofu sounds pretty darn good. As far as the pho with assorted vegetables in vegetable broth, however, I can’t help but be curious about how the fried tofu’s consistency would hold up once saturated in a big bowl of liquid. So the bottom line is this: if you’re looking for more exotic Vietnamese vegetables, such as spinach and eggplant, then Pho Tau Bay just isn’t your place. My curiosity will inevitably bring me back to the Bay to try the vegetarian pho, just so I can see what kind of “assorted vegetables” are in it, and to test my theory that anything deep fried, even tofu, is most likely going to be awesome. I’ll be sure to report back.
Pho Tau Bay: 113 Westbank Expressway, Gretna LA 70053
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday except Thursday and Sunday.