Thái Son Vietnamese – Fresh, Lean and Green!

I’ve hemmed and hawed before about how hard it is to find actual vegan vietnamese fare in NYC, so I’m very excited to announce I’ve discovered yet another VEGAN VIETNAMESE joint! Yes, caps it totally necessary.

Located just a few steps from the Roosevelt train station on Queens, Thái Son is totally worth the trip– it’s cheap, delicious and understated. I came here with a friend after work on a Tuesday night, and it was a great place to relax and chow down.

I love slightly dingy, homely places like this-- they often have the best food!
I love slightly dingy, homely places like this– they often have the best food!

Atmosphere:  Fair, but really, can't you do better?

Warm and welcoming, this restaurant features a tiki-bamboo style counter, complete with a display case of desserts and cold appetizers and a winding string of holiday lights perennially bedazzling the ceiling. It’s definitely roomy– there are two open dining sections with plenty of Asian-style tablecloth-under-a-glass-panel tables and cheap cushy chairs, so it’s a good place to hang with a party of people.

Service: Fair, but really, can't you do better?

So this place has your “typical Asian-style service” —  by that I mean direct, quick and no “How is everything?” questions, since they know their food is already good. It might be jarring to people who aren’t familiar with TASS (yeah, I just made that up, sucker)… but I’ve been pretty much raised on it, so I barely notice. And Thái Son definitely has a TASS gold star. Which gives them only 3 carrots— tolerable but could be improved (not likely to though!).

Vegetarian Spring Roll / CHA GIO CHAY ($3.75 – $6.75): Near Confection Perfection

I've really missed this type of spring roll... it's a teary reunion for me! Sniff sniff...
I’ve really missed this type of spring roll… it’s a teary reunion for me! Sniff sniff…
The filling is made of clear noodles, mushrooms, soy and onion... then deep fried. Mmm.
The filling is made of clear noodles, mushrooms, soy and onion… then deep fried. Mmm.

When I was little, these no-shell spring rolls you wrap in raw lettuce and dip in sweet carrot broth were my absolute favorite. Slightly crunchy and super tasty, these are usually made with beef/pork, but I loved these so much that I honestly think they are just as good… if not better than a meat-based version (also healthier!).

These are lightly deep fried, lending the outside a nice, crisp consistency. The filling is super flavorful– textured soy, clear noodles, black mushroom and onion meld together into one tasty-ass appetizer! This is definitely a no-miss!

Vegetable Bean Curd Noodle Soup / CANH HE DAU HU$7.00 – $9.50: Near Confection Perfection

Topped with fresh parsley, this soup is chock-full of healthy veggies and filling fried bean curd pouches!
Topped with fresh parsley, this soup is chock-full of healthy veggies and filling fried bean curd pouches!

I’m usually wary of things that are described as “home style vegetable” because it means that they either

a) douse it in some weird brown sauce

b) fry it in tons of oil into a slime-like mess

c) basically it becomes some unrecognizable plant matter mush pile.

Thankfully, it was d) none of the above.

This dish had a bevy of freshly chopped veggies: baby corn (my favorite!), baby mushrooms, carrot, onion, tomatoes and bean curd pouches. Like any Vietnamese joint, it comes with a platter of raw bean sprouts, lemon and Asian basil for you to toss in. The rice noodles were a good consistency- not mushy, perfectly cooked and quite filling. I loved that the broth was light and not too salty, so you were able to add in whatever amount of salt/seasonings as you pleased.

Overall, I was pleased with the food and the prices, which were super affordable, yet allowed me to leave with a full tummy! This place is definitely a keeper.

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  1. At the top of my list of concerns vis-a-vis Korean restos is the ubiquitous use of fish sauce, including kim chee and various dipping sauces. Broth is one thing, but there are other issues. I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass here; I’m just trying to point out the pitfalls for those of us concerned about ingesting animal products.
    With all good wishes and thanks for your response.

    1. Of course not– I always check that the sauces have no fish, anchovy (that is a popular ingredient in Korean cuisine), shrimp or bonito in anything I ingest at these places. If I am ever unsure, I just don’t indulge in the sauce at all, which I think is the best policy.

    1. Hi Deb, yes you are right– this restaurant is not 100% vegan but does offer quite a few vegan options. They use vegetable broth when requested, so it’s a good choice if you’re out with non-vegan folk and don’t want to go hungry!

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