Vietnam Cafe is truly a West Philadelphia gem. In my attempts to break out of the “Penn bubble,” I ventured to 47th and Baltimore St. to try this acclaimed spot. It was well worth it.
The decor is nice and simple, but the food is really the draw. The flavors are completely authentic; peanut flavor imbues most of the dishes from peanut oil or their must-try peanut sauce (so if you have a peanut allergy, be careful). The flavor from the fish sauce is also a perfect compliment to many of the appetizers.
For an appetizer, I couldn’t recommend the BBQ sampler any more highly. It comes with crispy spring rolls, beef stuffed grape leaves, char-grilled chicken, grilled meatballs, rice vermicelli and rice paper. The chicken as well as the spring rolls (complete with pork and a combination of Asian spices) were definitely standouts. The spring rolls with the word “cohn” in them are also great. They come wrapped in a thin rice paper (think summer rolls) and are great when dipped into the fish sauce.
For entrees, I have sampled a variety of curry (“Ca Ri”) and sate dishes. Both have a little bit of kick but are balanced out by cool peppers and onions. Both types of dishes offer just enough meat and vegetables so you don’t walk away from the table feeling hungry. For the amount and quality of the food, prices are definitely relatively reasonable. Vietnam Cafe has not disappointed me yet. You truly can’t go wrong no matter what you order, so dive in and embrace the flavors of Vietnam in West Philadelphia.
Location: 816 S 47th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143.
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri: 11:30 am-9 pm, Sat: 12 pm-9:30 pm, Sun: 12 pm-9 pm