vieng thai

6929 long point rd. b/w silber & antoine

i had dinner at vieng thai last night and went back today with an out of town guest who i knew would enjoy VT, so i enjoyed 2 back to back meals there. vieng thai sits in a old, run-down shopping center. it's very easy to drive by and miss the restaurant completely. once inside, you feel transported into a thai family's living room. a tv was set up with a/v equipment and what appeared to be a karaoke system. there was also a disco ball hung on the wall. i could just imagine this restaurant turning into a thai karaoke and disco after the restaurant closed for the owner's friends and family.

here is a list of the dishes i had during my 2 trips there and my comments:

e-sarn sausage - both robb walsh and alison greene recommended this app. it was served cold with peanuts, cilantro, lime, chiles, and white cabbage. i did not care for it.

fried chicken wings - dinner companion ordered them last night. as expected, they were tasty and crispy with no heavy battering. nothing unique about them.

tom kha gai - excellent, delicate soup. i was surprised how good it was. it had just the right balance of coconut milk and broth.

som tum - thai style, green papaya salad. wow! fantastic dish and very memorable. perfect spicy kick.

gang keaw whan - green curry chicken. had this last night but they left out the eggplant. the sauce was very soupy. wasn't wild about it. i'll pass on this next time.

panaeng chicken - preferred this thick, rich curry sauce. looking forward to trying the massamum next time.

pad grapraow crispy pork - tasty dish, but when we ordered it last night, they brought it with ground pork in it. i was expecting pork belly, but they ran out and didn't bother to let us know in advance. i'll have to try again on another visit.

plaa pad ped- crispy catfish in curry paste. very lovely with deep fried whole basil leaves. highly recommend this too.

kee mao noodle- a favorite at the table last night. would have been better if it were spicier.

chinese broccoli - better than any chinese broccoli that i've had in chinese restaurants.

the restaurant dumbed down the spice level for us non-thai diners. i wasn't sure how much heat my lunch guest could have handled, so i told them to make our lunch a little spicer than usual. it didn't seem to make a difference. on my next visit, i will ask for "thai spicy" and see what i get.

see vieng thai photos and updated review here

vinh hoa

9600 bellaire blvd #126 @ corporate
dynasty plaza

i love making the trek out to chinatown to this place for lunch whenever possible. hands down one of the best lunch deals in houston. all items on the lunch menus are $4.25 each monday - saturday (until 2:30 or 3 pm). there are 2 lunch menus, 1 chinese (39 items), 1 vietnamese (16 items). i've only ordered from the chinese menu.

this is a pretty typical mom and pop type of place in chinatown. they specialize in fresh seafood so the dining room contains numerous fish tanks full of various live fish, lobsters, geoduck clams, frogs, etc. my mother says they own a seafood wholesale operation which is how they are able to offer their seafood at such low prices.

not to be missed:

  • crisp fried whole rex sole fish (listed on the dinner menu for $16.95)
  • salt toasted shrimp

other good items:

  • shrimp, scallop, squid sauteed with tofu
  • crisp, deep-fried "desert storm" chicken ($8.25 at dinner)
  • stir-fried ong choy (vietnamese spinach)
  • manila clams sauteed with black bean sauce
  • sliced beef w/green onion

my friend and i usually (over)order 4 or 5 dishes and take the leftovers home b/c it is such a great bargain. the fish was so wonderful last time, we may order 1 fish each the next time and couple other dishes to share.

their regular menu has set menus for groups of 4 to 10 people. my friends and i had the seafood dinner for 6. it was a bargain at $98 w/o tax & tip and included:

  • crab meat w/fish maw soup
  • shrimp, scallop, squid sauteed w/tofu
  • salty toasted shrimp
  • manila clams sauteed w/black bean sauce
  • dungeness crab sauteed with XO sauce
  • lobster sauteed w/ginger & scallions
  • steamed fresh tilapia fish
  • stir-fried chinese broccoli
  • fruit

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