Van Hanh Vegetarian Restaurant

Times Visited: 5

How far are you willing to travel for a damn good vegan eggroll? Is it worth a trip to 82nd Ave?
If you said, yes, then make the trip to Van Hanh Vegetarian Restaurant. Located around the corner from Fubonn marketplace, where you can also score some super cheap agar, tofu, bubble tea and coconut milk, the establishment is a non-profit and volunteer run restaurant.

I have to admit, after an incident there a couple months ago, I didn’t see myself returning soon, but I kept an open mind and honest opinion about my previous visits. I had gone a couple times and found it worth the trek, but most recently I had picked up a take out order and found pre-packaged chili sauce packets that included ‘fish extract’ in the ingredients. When I was talked into returning last weekend, I must admit to inquiring into what was vegan more than once.

First up was a steamed dumpling: at $1.25, it was BIG and devoured by my dining companions. This was followed by the obligatory eggrolls. Sticking with the hot chili sauce and bottled soy sauce, the rolls were grabbed for with good reason. Sure, you look at them and think ‘fried springroll’, but they’re labeled vegan eggrolls because they’re more than just cabbage. Heck, there’s even more protein in there, and not from eggs. These things are hot, salty, cheap and could be worth the drive, but not alone – they’re doing what an eggroll should do, work as an appetizer to a deliciously, albeit sometimes greasy, Asian meal.

I was looking for something soothing but not too heavy as a main course, and my veggie pho totally hit the spot. It contained veggie ham, roasted gluten, green onions and two mysterious yet not unappetizing firm white dumpling-type treats in a tasty broth. A side of fresh bean sprouts, chili peppers, cabbage and basil was on the table to add what you wanted. The lemongrass chicken, though the most intriguing looking, with their sugar cane drumsticks, didn’t win much praise at the table. One companion seemed to really like their spicy pho, but didn’t find it spicy enough and utilized the Srichi. Another diner’s all meat with broccoli seemed to be a new favorite, being called “awesome” and a definite must get again. This particular diner asked if I wanted to go to Van Hanh again two days later!

What’s with the lack of buzz about this place? It’s vegetarian and their extensive menu is very well priced, the spring rolls are under 3 dollars and my medium sized pho was $5.95. Sure, Portland also has Vege Thai, Bay Leaf and Vegetarian House all offering vegetarian Asian closer into the city, but what the hey….

Steamed bun

steamed bun

Bird’s Nest Noodles

march 2008 latter half 026

Broccoli “All Meat”

broccoli all meat

Lemongrass Tofu Sticks

chicken
Vegan Eggrolls

vegan eggrolls

Pho fixings

pho-fixings-van-hanh.jpg

Pho

pho-jess-van-hanh.jpg

Spicy pho

pho-van-hanh.jpg

Thai Iced Tea

march 2008 latter half 025

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Address: 8446 SE Division St. Portland, OR 97266
Tuesday-Sunday 11am-9pm

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14 responses to “Van Hanh Vegetarian Restaurant

  1. We went there a few weeks ago. My husband had the kung pao. I think a few more vegetables would have been nice, it was mostly fake meat!

    The eggrolls are good (but greasy)

    The restaurant also seems slightly dirty which may turn off some people.

  2. i’ve always enjoyed van hanh.
    i’ve yet to have a bad meal there.

    i loved how you mentioned the mysterious dumpling things in your pho.
    ryan and i were totally intrigued by these last time we were there.

    mysterious dumplings, eyeball nuggets, call ‘em what you may….they’re pretty amusing.
    and thats why i love van hanh.
    you never know what kind of vegetable or fake meat may end up on your plate.

  3. I think that the best thing about this place is the sushi rolls – they are spring rolls w/ fake fish inside and are delicious. In my experience, the service is generally terrible, and the restaurant itself is a bit dirty and depressing. Calling ahead with your order and getting takeout can compensate for these two short-comings.

  4. I got take out pho yesterday, and my mysterious dumplings were sliced! This honestly intrigued me, as these did not having a ‘filling’ and my previous ones had.

    Another note – I also got eggrolls to go, and the sauce packets did not include *fish extract*. Score!

    Regarding anonymous’ to-go recommendation, I have to say, ugh to their use of styrofoam. All of my pho fixings, and my partner’s order, and the order of eggrolls, were packed in three 3 styrofoam containers.

    I haven’t found it dirty myself, but it certainly isn’t as spotless as dare I say, Bay Leaf.

  5. I went once and tried to ask what was vegan on the menu, to no avail. The woman there that day spoke literally NO English. And the fact that they’re giving out fish extract sauce tells me they are probably not reading ingredients too well. My experience has been that many of the Asian fake meats contain dairy, especially the fake fish and seafood. So this place is off my list until there’s some assurance it’s vegan and they can tell me if something is not.

  6. I have to say, I personally avoid a lot of faux ham, because you rarely see the vegan ones around. I know they’re out there, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat the ones at Van Hanh. Plus, it seemed gross wet.

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  8. We use to eat there so much that my family nicknamed it Van Shawn’s. The Pho is top notch as is the roasted gluten.

  9. I was actually tempted to get the roasted gluten today – I had a nice lunch there earlier.
    Lack of familiarity with english or disbelief seemed to bring my “please no cilantro” bird’s nest lunch a ton of cilantro on top. I picked it off, and regardless, it was tasty. Not amazing, but good.

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  12. Do not go if you’re in a hurry. But do go! It’s definitely a phax meat haven, but they do it right. I’m a huge fan! I’m a salad roll nut and this place has the best around, they’re freshly made which takes a while. And, if you want to break through the nuns icy exterior bring a baby.

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