Eatery - Thuyen Vien (CA)

1740 S Euclid St, Anaheim, CA 92802
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Vegetarian, Vietnamese

A fellow cooking friend suggested that we check out this place he had driven by often but not eaten at before; he referred to it as Pho Veggie because that was the prominent sign on the restaurant though its official name is Thuyen Vien. We had looked up dishes to try out based on Yelp reviews but we were also curious in general about how one could recreate pho and its broth without using meat. We decided that we'd try a couple of dishes together instead of having to choose one on its own.

The first thing to do was to choose our drinks. One of the common accolades on the Yelp reviews was for the fresh coconut so my friend was interested in that but not right away; we got Thai tea instead. Pretty standard if you ask me to be honest. It came pre-mixed so it was probably either powdered stuff or from a bottle. At least it wasn't bad.

The first plate to come out was the garlic "chicken" which many had said was delicious. Boy was it! I liked the texture immensely, and the sauce that was used had a good amount of tang. I actually didn't think it was very garlicky but more tangy. My only complaint was that there wasn't enough of the chicken. I mean, we shared the dish but even if I had had it alone, I probably would not have gotten full. Rice costs extra too by the way.

The next thing to come out was the "beef" pho which was mainly mushroom. I believe the broth was made from mushrooms from its taste. However, when I say that I could taste the mushroom, I don't mean that it was a vegetable-tasting broth. It did taste like beef pho. It was chock-full of white and Enoki mushrooms, tofu, vegetarian beef, and noodles. We both agreed that it was a great bowl of "beef" pho.

The last plate was just of stir-fried tofu and bamboo shoots. Interestingly enough, my friend had never had bamboo before so we ordered this by my urging. He ended up really liking it. I thought that the star of this dish was the sauce the tofu and bamboo shoots were in. It went really well with white rice because it had a sour kick to it but was appropriate for the shoots and their pungent smell. The tofu in general at this restaurant was good (I mean, it's a vegetarian restaurant so it needs to be good at this stuff, right?), and I liked the casual atmosphere. I feel like sometimes specialty restaurants have a pompous air to them but this one was very nice and family-owned. I'd definitely come back for more of their options; they had probably more than 75 dishes. Good stuff indeed.