Green Papaya

Date: January 15, 2008
Times Visited: 1

Green Papaya is another prime example of why investigative dining is imperative for us vegans. We were excited about trying this location out since we’re big fans of Pho Green Papaya and their long list of actual vegan options. Green Papaya was always overlooked on our lunch walks to places like Habibi and India Chaat House. And on this occasion, we should have continued walking, even to Whole Foods for their pathetic Pho Bar, which can be made vegan.

We walked in, inquired with a waitress about vegan options, if there was fish sauce, oyster sauce, and shrimp paste, and she advised us that we simply needed to specify to leave them out when ordering. The Green Papaya menu clearly states 4 ‘ vegetarian’ options which we were later informed, weren’t even vegetarian. We each ordered from our waitress, who took note of our ‘no’ items, and also relayed that these dishes originally would have contained the animals listed above and possibly cream. She was helpful and very nice, and we can only assume she passed along our request.

The food came presented in large, pretty bowls, containing a mound of white jasmine rice, side of green beans, onions, bell pepper, and a small sea of the tofu entree we each chose. There was one order of the Tofu with Lemongrass: tofu sauteed with lemon grass and other spices, and one order of the Sauteed Tofu, listed as tofu ‘wok seared with coconut cream, tamarind, turmeric, peanut and vegetables’. That sounds lovely and creamy on a chilly day, doesn’t it?

The tofu seemed to be the only part that was prepared for us, and even that was questionable. The green beans contained onions which raised the first red flag since we specifically asked for no onions. Then upon tasting the green beans, we realized they were cold. The vegetables were somewhat crisp, but it was odd paired with a warm meal. We were having flash-backs to Kitchen Nightmares and being served month old food where they picked out the moldy bits.

The tofu. It’s best to forget this part of the meal, but it’s our public service to report back to you. Both Stumptown Vegans were suspicious of the dishes upon eating the squishy, wet, overly turmeric-ed tofu. Once again it brought images of tofu/sauce combinations sitting in a container, and warmed up for each dish. Not something you’d anticipate, or accept, for $8 a meal in a seemingly nice, downtown lunch spot. The real problem with the food was the Sauteed Tofu – we haven’t tasted something so fishy since last eating fish years ago. We chalk it up to a premade sauce on both sides, in particular the peanut sauce with the sauteed tofu.

We thought about returning for happy hour, but upset stomaches and minds, the taste of too much turmeric lingering on the tongue, and overall frustration are putting a halt to that thought.

Why are we giving it 1 star? Because the waitress did seem to care, and the presentation was nice. Perhaps our requests were ignored or overlooked, and the sauces were premade and no additional non-vegan ingredients were added besides what was in the sauce – we don’t even care to know because we will not be returning. Ugh.

Sauteed Tofu in Peanut Sauce
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Lemongrass (Fluorescent) Tofu
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Rating: 1 out of 5
Address: 1135 SW Morrison St. Portland, OR 97205
Hours: Daily 11am-2:30pm, 4pm-10pm

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10 responses to “Green Papaya

  1. Pho Green Papaya and Green Papaya have very different menus. PHO green Papaya has a long list of vegan items and was a much different expereince than this. Hopefully that was clear in this review.

  2. What a bummer :( What is it with these folks and their ubiquitous fish/shrimp sauce? I swear, some of the Thai places around here would put it on dessert if I didn’t specify not to!

  3. You can tell when a dish will be bad when they give you only like 5 cubes are tofu, and those cubes are gianormous. The inside will be mostly raw tofu, or tofu and grease if it’s fried. Icky. And that’s what it looks like in those photos.

  4. Wow that is awful! I went there quite a while ago and didn’t like it so much either…I hate bad dining experiences because it feels like I wasted a good appetite.

  5. whew! — at first i also thought that you meant pho green papaya in portland and i was so freaked out! thanks for the warning about green papaya. i can offer a similarly poor review for Pho Green Papaya in east vancouver. i don’t know if they have the same owner, but it was pretty uninspired as far as i could tell. even as a dreaded pescatarian, there wasn’t much for me to eat. i had some mediocre salad rolls.

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