Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trieu Chau Vietnamese Restaurant – St. Paul, MN

D.Rough has been talking about this Vietnamese place in St. Paul for a couple of weeks, and claims it’s the best Pho in the Twin Cities. With a boast like that, I had to go there. And since I’m not (that) rude, I told her she had to go with to listen to me complain if it was terrible. It actually wasn’t at all. It was awesome.

The menu is pretty comprehensive with a lot of standard Generic-Asian fare (and I mean the food is generic to the Eastern Empire, not the people themselves are generic or look the same – that’s racism). Noodles this, fried rice that, etc, etc. But on the back of the menu are the Vietnamese specialties – soups, Pho, sandwiches, bun, and salads. Lots of stuff to choose from.

I was feeling adventurous so I planned to order the Pho with everything, even though it had tendon and tripe in it. I don’t even know if I like those things or would be able to pick them up in a line up. When I mentioned this, D.Rough’s face turned inside out in disgust, so I quickly changed my mind. She said one of her friends gets it with that gross stuff in it, but normal people don’t eat those parts. Instead, I went with ingredients I recognized – brisket and rare beef. Pho #142. D.Rough went with Pho #146. Apparently she’s the “Norm Peterson” of Trieu Chau and they prepare her food the moment she walks in the door most times. They saw she was with a hairy sasquatch, which probably threw off their game plan a bit, so they actually took her order.

We ordered fresh spring rolls, as well, as many of you know about my addiction to spring rolls. D.Rough warned me the food comes out super fast here and I was pleasantly surprised when the spring rolls came out in just a handful of minutes and then the Pho came out with a plate of sprouts and basil - everything was on our table in less than five minutes. Amazingly fast.

The spring rolls were decent. Not the best I’ve had, but clearly not the worst. There was a pretty significant strip of pork in them which can be overpowering and change it from a light appetizer into something too heavy. The insides for some reason didn’t taste as fresh as some places and just didn’t crunch right. But the flavor itself was pretty good. But with enough hoisin sauce, sriracha, and peanuts, EVERYTHING tastes better!

I’ll only comment on my food, since I didn’t dip into D.Rough’s Pho or anything – that’s just rude. But I WILL comment on the amount of extraneous additives she put in her bowl. Chili sauce, Sriracha, fish sauce, soy sauce, basil, and other potions and powders available at our table. The only thing she didn’t put in were salt and pepper as far as I could tell. I went commando and dove right in without adding anything. It was delicious, truly. It had a faint hint of cinnamon in the broth, which normally turns me off, but this was more of a hint and made it even tastier. There were onions and rice noodles along with the rare beef and the brisket (which I couldn’t tell apart, honestly). The portion was absolutely huge and I struggled to finish it (but I conquered about 85% of it – I didn’t want to embarrass myself or anything – next time it’s ON though).

D.Rough also got some sort of smoothie thing made with Soursop. It was delicious. She said she usually only gets it in the summer since it’s pretty light, but she was feeling saucy, so she got it anyway. She kept offering some to me, but I only got two bites. Next time, I’ll just get my own. Hahaha.

This place is good and worth recommending to people. I’d like to try other things on the menu, but the Pho was really good, so I’ll probably stick with that. The staff was super nice as well, but it might have been because D.Rough is a regular there. Go here and get the Pho – you’ll be glad you did.

Top 5 things about Trieu Chau
1. Pho, without a doubt
2. Soursop smoothie
3. Amazingly fast
4. Really nice staff
5. Extra cheap

Bottom 5 things
1. Tons of stuff on the menu, so it will take you a while to decide
2. Someone hoarded the soursop smoothie… hahaha. kidding
3. I’ll have to go here with someone who eats tripe and tendon so I can see if I like it without committing too heavily
4. It’s a long haul for those of us who don’t live in St. Paul
5. It’s a bitch to look up if you don’t know exactly how it’s spelled


Anonymous said...

I think you did it right! You should have ordered the Pho with everything. Be true to yourself!

EnYa Face!

Anonymous said...

This made me chuckle. If only I had known you were writing about your experience. I will never adivise against you eating tripe again. Also, I don't use soy sauce in my pho, jeesh. Thanks for coming with me. Yeah, and get your own shake next time ;)