Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hanoi: Phat Truong Tho

     Right near West Lake, and Ani's place there seems to be a surplus of vegan restaurants! While driving around one day I spotted a brightly colored spot at the end of Xuan Dieu. The place is called Phat Truong Tho and according to the New Hanoian, it's not that bad.
the entrance of Phat Truong Tho (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The parking is confusing here, there's a small driveway and garage on the right side of the restaurant...walk there!
     When we entered we were seated in the back room where a smiling monk greeted us while eating a table full of colorful veggies. Matching the veggies was a vivacious room of crimson red, sunny yellows, and apricot oranges. A large golden Buddha was at the end of the room, inside of an impressive shrine. Being in all that color, you can't help but smile a bit wider.
Beautiful Ani and Buddha (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The menu was decent in size, offering the classics, noodles, rice dishes, etc...but some interesting offers included snails, shrimp, and frog~all vegan, so no worries!
     We were both hungry and tired and ordered spring rolls to start (ahh yea!)
spring rolls (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The springrolls were filled with a lot of greens, smashed tofu, and some julienned root veggies. They were served with slices of spicy hot peppers and a peanut sauce. Not great, not bad...just okay.
     The salad I ordered was a grapefruit and shredded mango one. It was delicious! Chunks of sweet sour tangy grapefruit topped with julienned mangoes, mint leaves, and dried hot peppers and in a sweet lime and rice vinegar dressing. The chewy peppers, slightly grainy mint leaves, hardy sweet mangoes, and plump juicy grapefruit mixed together so well. It was a refreshing and delectable salad.
          ~I desperately miss grapefruit...I long for it.
grapefruit and mango salad (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     One entree we got was the classic tofu in tomato sauce. This dish, wasn't impressive. It was missing a lot...greens and veggies. It was pre-fried and re-marinated tofu cubes in a slightly oily sweet tomato sauce. The tofu just tasted like- sponge. The sauce would have worked if there were some carrots or onions (give it a natural versus artificial sweetness) and some more color. We didn't finish this, it was just...missing.
Tofu in tomato sauce (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     I forgot what I originally ordered but I guess it was out so I went with a quirky sounding dish that had 'snails' in it. It was a curried inspired stew but really what came out was something similar to dwenjjang jigae (된장찌개). The soup base was soybean paste, and it had that same spongy tofu in it (points lost). The greens in the soup were rather bitter, like raw bitter melon, but the "redeeming" points are only on the strangeness of some of the ingredients. The snail was beyond odd, looked like vegan clam and tasted like nothing, the texture was... squeaky. There was something starchy int he sop I couldn't figure out, it was soft, slightly sweet, and smooth~ banana! I am not a fan of bananas but in a soup, it's not too bad. This dish though also wasn't nearly finished, not very impressed.
'snail' soup (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The menu boasts of a lot of interesting potential options but in the end...not that awesome. It wasn't very pricey, I think all together we spent around 120,000-150,000 dong ($6.00-7.25).

The best part of Phat Truong Tho are it's decorations and artwork inside, the smiling ski-ball hat wearing monk and the grapefruit and mango salad , other than that...not worth it. (unless you're nomming on that salad!)

Address: 184B Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi
Directions: At the end of Xuan Dieu (West lake would be on your Left is you are walking towards it), across from the turn into Cong Doan Hotel
phone: 04-7307-8838

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