Tay Ho

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I love restaurant that specialize in one thing.  You almost always know its going to be good.  Being Chinese, I'm a stickler for good rice noodles and rice noodle dishes.  I've had banh cuon before, but I've always been a little disappointed until my most recent trip to Vietnam where my eyes were opened to some amazing banh cuon in the Ben Thanh market.  
Tay Ho is actually a chain with locations in Southern California (Westminister, etc) and the Bay Area (Oakland and San Jose).  Their menu consists of a lot of items, but the must get are the steamed noodles - banh cuon or banh ut.

A giant pitcher of nuoc mam (fish sauce) sits on every table.  You scoff at the size of the pitcher, but in reality a large bowl of nuoc mam is a necessity here for all the dipping you do.

The banh xeo (crepe filled with pork, beansprouts, and shrimp) is giant here.  Almost as big as the one I had in Vietnam!  The batter is heavy on the coconut milk so its very sweet.  It does have a little too much bean sprouts and too little meat (shrimp and pork) plus the pork is lacking in some flavor.

If you've never had banh cuon or this type of food before its best (and popular) to order the #11 banh cuon dac biet, which is the banh cuon special combination.  The plate is easily sharable and comes with banh cuon (steamed rice rolls with mushroom and pork), banh ut (steamed rice sheets with shrimp), cha lua (steamed pork deli meat), deep fried mung bean cake, nem (cured pork meat), egg rolls, and shrimp "tempura"(deep fried sweet potato and shrimp).  All I can say is that everything on the plate is delicious, but the standouts are the banh cuon (of course), the banh ut, and the shrimp tempura.  Definitely the best banh cuon I've encountered in the States.  All the steam rice sheets are fluffy with just the right about of thickness and chewiness. 

Address:               Tay Ho
                              2895 Senter Rd.
                              San Jose, CA
Type:                     Vietnamese        
Popular chomps:    #11 banh cuon dac biet
                                banh cuon
                                banh xeo
                                banh ut

Chomp worthy:       #11 banh cuon dac biet         

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