Oakland: Tay Ho

Sorry for the lack of posts recently.  I just got back from an amazing nine days in Iceland!  But we'll get to that later.  I still have posts from earlier that I need to catch up on, which seems to be my usual state with this blog.  Sigh. 

Anyway, in late February, I connected with my friend CT had relocated from the East Coast to the East Bay in the fall.  Since we both work in Oakland, we met up at Tay Ho for dinner after work:

Tay Ho has to be the most hipster Vietnamese restaurant I've ever been to.  Just check out that bar:

And the mysterious hanging bicycle.

CT was feeling a bit under the weather, so she wanted something soupy.  She got the Vietnamese udon ($12):

I had my heart set on ordering Tay Ho's steamed rice noodle rolls (banh cuon) after seeing so many people rave about it on Yelp.  What I didn't realize until after I opened the menu was that the rice noodle rolls are only offered at lunch. 


After some deep contemplation, I finally decided on a banh xeo ($12):

The crepe itself was made of turmeric and coconut rice flour.  Tucked lovingly inside were poached pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts:

By itself, the banh xeo was a bit bland.  But made into a lettuce wrap?: 

Much better.  Then doused with fish sauce?:

So.  Good.

While everything was delicious, I left Tay Hao slightly dissatisfied.  I really wanted those rice noodle rolls.

I plotted and I planned and ultimately, I made it happen.  A week later, I had a date after work.  It was just for pearl tea and with all the rush hour traffic, I knew I wouldn't have time for dinner.  I took a page out of my father's book and planned ahead (he loves to say "plan ahead!" at the most annoying moments) by ordering Tay Ho's house special combination rice noodle roll plate ($10.95) to go for lunch:

The combination plate came with three types of rice noodle rolls: pork and mushroom, ground shrimp, and plain.  It also came with sweet potato fritters, an egg roll, shrimp fried bread, and cured beef.  Everything was lovely.  The only thing I could have gone without were the plain rice noodle rolls.  They just took up space in my stomach that could have fit more sweet potato fritters.

I will definitely be back to Tay Ho.  Prices are a bit higher than your typical Vietnamese restaurant, but the food is good and the location is very convenient.  The rest of downtown Oakland seems to agree.  It's super popular at lunchtime.  You pretty much have to get there right at noon to make sure you get a table. 

To all my friends who work in Oakland, anyone up for lunch sometime?

Tay Ho
344 12th St Ste B
Oakland, CA 94607 
(510) 836-6388


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