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….
Broccoli “All Meat”
Lemongrass Tofu Sticks
Thai Iced Tea
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Address: 8446 SE Division St. Portland, OR 97266