Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lan Cafe 03-20-2010

Location: 342 E. 6th St.
Time: 4pm
People: RB and myself

Feelings: The weather was just perfect last Saturday, and restaurants all over were packed with people enjoying their brunch, drinks and sun. We decided to skip all the brunchy spots and dine at Lan Cafe, a vegan Vietnamese restaurant in East Village instead. They have all the Vietnamese specialties from banh mi, pho to bun. I was curious to see how Vietnamese food would taste without a drop of fish sauce.

It is a bit of hall-in-the-wall here, but the place is peaceful and quiet. I felt like I stumbled into some nice Vietnamese lady's apartment, and she started cooking for me without any judgment that I don't eat meat. I also liked that there were no pushy "don't eat meat!" or "eat organic!" agenda. If I am at a vegan restaurant, I obviously know their agenda, so why push it even harder?

I ordered Bun (Vietnamese vermicelli noodles) with spring rolls ($8.95), which was very light and tasty. The noodles were thicker than usual and came with plenty of fresh veggies, and the spring rolls were crispy and not overly greasy. Surprisingly, I, who pretty much live on fish sauce, enjoyed the dish without any fish sauce. It was tangier and lighter yet still satisfying. This would be a great refreshing lunch dish for work.

RB's Yellow Noodle ($8.95, with tofu, vegan ham, and veggies) was not too exciting, but it had a good flavor without any greasiness.

We left the place without any heaviness in our stomachs, which is quite a rarity when we eat Vietnamese. It's also good to find out that I can actually live without fish sauce. Lan Cafe would be a perfect place for vegans, vegetarians and light meal lovers as well as those who simply cannot stand fish sauce.

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