When Thuyen Vien closed its doors last year, I was sad to see one of the better veggie Vietnamese places go. Luckily, the close was just temporary — they relocated to a similar spot in Anaheim. The new location looks very familiar. The layout is reminiscent of the previous location, and the friendly, helpful owner was there to give suggestions and take our orders.
We started off with fried eggrolls, which arrived hot and perfectly crisp. The filling was hearty and savory and went well with the faux fish sauce dip. Last time, I complained that there weren’t any pickled carrots in the sauce — no complaints this time.
I ordered a bowl of bun rieu, which some may say is a risky move since the flavor of crab is what makes the broth. I wasn’t expecting something particularly crabby in this vegetarian rendition, so I was fairly pleased. The broth was full of tomatoey goodness and I liked that my plate of herbs came with thin slices of banana blossoms which lends the soup a nice, crunchy texture. The soft crab meatballs were substituted for pillowy, porous tofu in this version, which I thought made perfect sense.
Will ordered beef pho which was decent, but too aromatic this time. We both preferred the beef pho at the old location. This broth had a bit too much cinnamon and suffered from being too sweet — something that a lot of veggie Vietnamese places have in common.
For dessert, there’s really only one option: flan in all its rich, sweet, decadent glory.
We’re both happy that Thuyen Vien re-opened, but like last time, we left the restaurant sad that it was so far from Los Angeles.
1740 S Euclid St
Anaheim, CA 92802