Good Eats Local

What’s for lunch? Vietnamese vermicelli bowls at Old Saigon Cafe on Westheimer

By Ciara Rouege

I couldn’t be prouder of myself; I’ve almost eliminated fast-food and take-out from my lunch menu options during the workdays. It’s a soup or salad in the breakroom fridge for me!

But, girl! When Friday comes around and those coins drop into my bank account, IT’S TAKE OUT TIME! Since it opened in January 2017, I’ve fallen in love with a little place called Old Saigon Cafe Vietnamese Cuisine on Westheimer Road.

It has kind of become my go-to.

Old Saigon
I’m always rushing back to work and totally forget to grab a picture of the outside…so shout out to Jaime Diep for sharing this awesome photo on Google Reviews!

The attraction is simple: the food is well-seasoned and perfectly cooked.

I’ve had all the vermicelli bowls, Ramen and Pho menu options and can confirm, they’re all absolutely delicious! The Pho broth — which is the make-or-break for a Pho dish in my opinion — is the best I’ve had in Houston.

I recommend the vermicelli bowl with spicy chicken lemongrass. I didn’t find it spicy without extra sauce, but it does have a flavorful little kick.

If they offer you their hot sauce, SAY YES! Now, I pride myself in having a high spice tolerance— but this had my nose snuffling. You only need a super, small amount.

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Vermicelli Bowl with Spicy Chicken Lemongrass
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Vermicelli Bowl with Spicy Chicken Lemongrass

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Psh! Those appetizers though…

While I’m a big fan of Old Saigon Cafe, the appetizers can use a little work— except the fresh spring and Vietnamese egg rolls. Actually, I don’t eat spring rolls anywhere else.

The Coconut Shrimp left me a bit disappointed. First, it tasted overcooked. I was expecting a crispy crunch with the shrimp and was left with a hard, burnt coconut taste. It also wasn’t very flavorful.

The kitchen isn’t blowing minds with its Chinese-style egg rolls, artichokes and Edamame. But it isn’t a bad start if you’re looking for something to munch on while you’re waiting for the main course.

The same goes for the Vietnamese Shrimp crackers. It’s airy, crispy chips…so it’s good snack food.

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Coconut Shrimp with sweet chili sauce.

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Oh, my absolute favorite! Spring rolls stuffed with fresh lettuce, rice noodles, cilantro, shallots and shrimp.

The food is definitely worth recommending, but what keeps me coming back is the service.

creme brule
Each meals ends with a sweet spoonful of crème brûlée.

Old Saigon Cafe has a quaint seating area for about 30 people, including its limited outdoor seating— I’m talking a table and a half. But the environment is open and welcoming.

I’m always greeted with a smile and great hospitality. The staff is personable and tentative— something I always look for from family-owned business.

They’re also quick! I’ve managed to pull off two-course, sit down meals at Old Saigon Cafe during my one-hour lunch break.

The cafe isn’t the cheapest lunch in town; be prepared to spend between $15 – $25.

However, you will leave satisfied…and with a spoon of crème brûlée! It’s the sweetest little touch…verses sending customers off with a peppermint.

Old Saigon Cafe Vietnamese Cuisine

6383 Westheimer Road

Houston, Texas 77057

Hours: Mon. Closed; Tue. – Sun. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Take Out Number: 832-668-5270

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