Thursday, May 07, 2009

Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon (Closed)

Day 4.10 Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon 1

When deciding where to eat lunch, Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok said she hadn't tried many of the Vietnamese restaurants in Portland.


Neither had I. Except for the occasional outing for Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup), most of the time my family ate at home.

I suggested Banh Cuon Tan Dinh since she hadn't tried Vietnamese rice noodle rolls before.

Day 4.10 Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon 2

We ordered Nem Nuong Cuon (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patty Salad Rolls) $3.50. They were huge and messy looking.

Day 4.10 Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon 3

I took a bite and saw that the pork was a vivid, fake-looking red. That's not how nem nuong is supposed to look! Nem nuong isn't Char Siu/Xa Xiu (Chinese Barbequed Pork)!

Day 4.10 Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon 4

We ordered the banh cuon dac biet (Vietnamese special rice noodle rolls), which came with shrimp fritters, fried mung bean cake, cha lua (Vietnamese steamed pork loaf), and a whole heap of greens, $7.50. The banh cuon tasted a little mealy. OK, now I'm just complaining, but if this is what the restaurant named itself after, I expected better.

Day 4.10 Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon 5

I ordered Nuoc Rau Ma (Vietnamese Pennywort Drink), $1.50. At first the waiter told me they were out, then he asked someone in the kitchen, and told me they just got a shipment. And then he brings me out a can. A can! When the restaurant is located right next to Fubonn Supermarket!

Day 4.10 Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon 6

Now, I really was complaining. Well, to Darlene anyway.

Have I become a food snob? I remember my brother complaining that the last time he was in Portland, a bowl of pho cost nearly $8 and it didn't even have filet mignon! I know I've become spoiled with the quality of food in Southern California, but there's no excuse for doctoring up nem nuong with either food coloring or a char siu packet and serving rau ma in a can when a grocery store selling fresh pennywort was next door.

We also ordered com tam bi cha tau hu ky (Vietnamese broken rice with shredded pork skin, steamed egg meatloaf, and shrimp paste wrapped in crispy bean curd skin), $8.50. The Tom Tau Hu Ky (Vietnamese Shrimp Paste Wrapped in Bean Curd Skin) was that crazy red again on the left side of the plate. Why? Why are they coloring the meat like there's no tomorrow? The Cha Trung (Vietnamese Meatloaf Steamed Egg Omelet) was OK.

Day 4.10 Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon 7

I kept shaking my head, apologizing to Darlene because this really wasn't good Vietnamese food. I mean, I guess it was OK, but very subpar compared to SoCal standards. But then she reminded me that we started our day eating my Mom's Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes) so she does know what good Vietnamese food tastes like.

Anyway, the restaurant has since closed down so I don't have to feel bad about being so disappointed. Or I guess maybe my disappointment explains why it closed down?

After lunch, Darlene dropped me off at Lloyd Center, where I caught the Max to meet up with lil' sis in Downtown Portland - Oregon.

All Oregon posts can be found in the tag, Series: Oregon. I suggest reading this particular trip in this order:
I-5 From LA to Portland
Mom and Dad's Garden
Burgerville - Portland - Oregon
Hakatamon - Beaverton - Oregon
I Think I'll Go For a Walk Outside Now...
Vista Point - Oregon City
End of Oregon Trail Interpretive Center - Oregon City
Stevens-Crawford Heritage House - Oregon City
Museum of the Oregon Territory - Oregon City
Mom's Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes)
Blackberry Cobbler
Bonneville Lock and Dam - Cascade Locks - Oregon
Bonneville Hatchery - Cascade Locks - Oregon
Multnomah Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Horsetail Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Wahkeena Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Bridal Veil Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Historic Columbia River Highway - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Latourell Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Crown Point Vista House - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon (Closed)
Downtown Portland - Oregon
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland Classical Chinese Garden) - Portland - Oregon
Powell's City of Books - Portland - Oregon
Mom's Geoduck, Dynamite-Style and Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams)

How to Prepare Geoduck and Razor Clams
Geoduck, Japanese Dynamite-style
Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams)
Le Bistro Montage - Portland - Oregon
Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen - Portland - Oregon

Banh Cuon Tan Dinh
2850 SE 82nd Ave., Ste. 11
Portland, OR 97266
Wednesday to Monday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays

1 year ago today, my family's preferred free-range organic chickens at Chinese American Live Poultry - Rosemead.
2 years ago today, my first cooking video - how to make homemade frozen yogurt without an ice cream machine.


  1. Haha I don't mind some of the pink nem nuong out there. But that nem nuong is very red.

  2. I think I just vomitted in my mouth. :/ It's wrong on so many levels. *sigh* At least your friend had your mom's banh xeo first, thank goodness. :D

  3. OK, that food color issue would make me not want to visit this place! I don't even get why restaurants love to use food coloring (ahem...even Capital Seafood). Even Char Siu now is getting more brown colored instead of red, since more people have been complaining about the food coloring.

  4. Andi?,
    I've gotten used to the pink nem nuong, although they're not my preference either. But bright red nem nuong is just wrong!

    I was so conflicted about this post. Thankfully(?), they went out of business before I posted so I don't have to feel bad about driving them out of business. Not that my blog is all that influential, but I hate slamming on the little places.

    Haha. Someone told me to add food coloring to my char siu recipe because it wasn't red. And I said that was my whole point! No artificial dyes.


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