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Vung Tau (San Jose) - another thumbs up for dinner

Alice Patis | Apr 10, 200607:29 PM

With my sister visiting and me wanting her to taste good dungeness crab, we took her to Vung Tau for dinner on Saturday. The place was packed, there were a few families waiting for a table when we showed up at 8. They mistakenly made our reservation for 8:30, but seated us in a few minutes anyway.

Besides the Tamarind Crab that was a hit at the Feb Chowdown, we also ordered the green papaya salad that others have praised, and Rau Muong Toi (sauteed ong choy with garlic), and Canh Chua Tom Viet Nam (sour soup with shrimp and viet herbs).

The crab was just as good as before, the body meat succulently fresh (the legs' smaller sections were a tad drier), and the savory tamarind sauce so worthy of sucking on every piece of shell and meat.

I never had the green papaya salad here before, and it was good but too sweet and the basil sloppily chopped/hacked. I've had other versions that are as good, so I wouldn't order it again here.

The rau muong was a good rendition, big cuts, stems still crisp-tender, and with a ton of little tiny bits of garlic. Yum! (BTW it's not on the menu, but rau muong with beef was, and they didn't bat an eye when we ordered rau muong with garlic only).

The canh chua (tamarind soup) was the only miss, it was so sweet it should have been called sugar syrup soup. Barely any taste of tamarind powder or any acidity. But we liked the plump shrimp and the huge pile of herbs (mostly purple shiso). I did not see any of the ngo om "rice paddy herb" that is common in canh chua, which we were hoping it would have. I took about half home and doctored with extra tamarind and water, it was much better.

I was pleased that service is still really nice and "western style" and our server came back twice to check on things. Total including 1 iced coffee (which is as good & strong as others say it is, but small) was around $50 before tip.

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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