535 East Santa Clara St
San Jose, CA
Why did we dine here? – Vung Tau is a Vietnamese restaurant in San Jose (near San Jose State) owned by the same family as Tamarine Restaurant in Palo Alto. Having heard good things about this place, we decided to give it a try the next time we were in the vicinity. On our last visit was in early 2014 for dinner. We had previously dined here for lunch. Vung Tau also has a location in Milpitas.
Insider Tip – Order what the locals order.
Cuisine – Vietnamese
Location – San Jose
Opened – 1985
Service – Vung Tau had very good service as the restaurant was not very packed. The server helped us navigate the menu with solid recommendations. Food came fast and there were no worries with regards to refills and the like.
Verdict – Vung Tau is a beautiful restaurant that serves authentic Vietnamese food. Give it a try if you’re in the area. We would love to explore more of the menu. There are not many Vietnamese restaurants with high end settings.
Vung Tau Signature Dishes – Seafood, Noodle dishes
Vung Tau’s Menu has a very diverse menu with dinner and lunch selections, noodles, salads, soups, meat, seafood, and vegetarian options. Their dessert menu is pretty weak with only four choices.
Vung Tau Food Picks:
Spicy Lemongrass Beef (Bun Bo Hue) ($8.95) Rice Noodle Soup was pretty authentic, filled with thick beef slices, shoulder, and even beef blood. Very spicy, and lots of tender noodles in a robust, strongly flavored broth. The usual bean sprouts, mint, etc came with this dish on the side.
Ba Nam Sa Dec ($9.75) is a seafood noodle soup which we had with rice noodles. Again you have the option of selecting from rice, egg, or glass noodles. A large, deep fried shrimp cracker was found floating at the top of this nice dish. Two large tiger prawns and a small crab claw were immersed in a less flavorful broth than our other noodle soup.
Shaking Beef (Com Bo Luc Lac) ($16.50) came with a tomato rice as well as a salad. Not as good as Tamarine’s but at half the price, this dish is solid. Tender and moist, medium rare meat with very good flavors.
Rice Noodles (Bun) ($2.00) with shrimp on sugarcane ($3) and charbroiled chicken ($3.50) was a lunch roll-your-own dish where you choose the base and the toppings. The chicken was plentiful and of good quality, while the shrimp was a tad on the small side. The noodles included a bed of chopped lettuce and bean sprouts. We would recommend three toppings.
Com Tay Cam ($10.95) Rice cooked in earth pot, shrimp, Chinese sausages, chicken, shitake mushrooms was recommended by our server. This is an extremely meaty dish that comes in a super hot clay pot. A large slice of chicken breast laid on top of rice intermixed with all the other ingredients. This took a while to cook. Because this is so filling, you might be better off with other dishes.
Banh Knot ($8.95) Crispy shrimp cupcakes, Coconut milk flour, ground shrimp was also recommended. This interesting dish consists of crispy and hot cupcakes that you eat with soft lettuce and mint. The combination is fairly bland, of more of a texture dish. Dipping these in the fish sauce helps bring out some flavor.
Tom Rang Me ($17.95 for half an order) Tiger prawns wok tossed in our signature tamarind sauce is a must order. Extremely fresh prawns possessing that sweetness present only in good seafood. These were bathed in a sweet/sour sauce similar to the one used at Tamarine in Palo Alto.
Dau Dua ($10.95) Long beans were sauteed in a healthy manner with not much salt. They were cut up just right, insuring that they were not too small.
Soda Chanh ($3.75) Sparkling lemonade hit the spot with house made lemonade and some bubbly water mixed together. Not too tart, not too sweet.
Three Colored Bean, Tapioca and Coconut Milk (Che 3 Mau) ($3.75) was shorter than most. This fun drink was filled with jiggly beans and rich coconut milk.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Thai Ice Tea (Tra Thai) ($3.75) was average, try some of the other drinks.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)