Vietnam is one of those countries we don’t know much about and have never been to. Food can be a nation’s ambassador but, unfortunately, our first taste of Vietnamese cuisine in Casablanca was unimpressive. Enjoying tofu was such a welcomed treat at that time that we didn’t mind the lackluster food. We knew that we needed to give Vietnamese food another chance and found the perfect opportunity recently in Tampa.
At Trang Viet, you’ll find a simple family-owned eatery with a full omnivorous menu. Traditional Vietnamese dishes featuring meat, as well as veganized versions are served regularly but on the second Saturday of each month, the herbivores have a special treat. From 5:30-7pm, a delicious buffet of plant-based dishes are the featured attraction. We arrived last Saturday only 15 minutes into the buffet and found the restaurant packed with folks of different ages, races, and ways of life feasting on a varied and filling buffet.
After selecting a beverage of unsweetened iced green tea or water, we found small bowls of a coconut milk-based soup filled with pumpkin, carrots, seaweed, and mushrooms. The next course included both winter and summer veggie-filled rolls with peanut sauce, steamed dumplings, and cabbage salad. For our entrees, we had a tofu noodle stir-fry, grilled tofu, vegan ginger beef, tofu-stuffed squash, and seasoned vegan chicken drumsticks. Side dishes included brown rice, white rice, and yucca root. All of the dishes were well-seasoned and freshly prepared. The young men serving the dishes ensured that portion sizes were controlled, in spite of being limitless.
As if the yummy meal wasn’t enough to satisfy us, small slices of iced carrot cake were brought out to cap our evening. At $14 per adult and $7 per child, we had a great opportunity to fill our veggie bellies and sample the delights of Vietnam. The cordial servers and efficient service made for an enjoyable meal. It’s a shame that we have to wait another month for the buffet to return, but as long as the baby hasn’t arrived yet, we will happily put the date on our calendar and eagerly wait to feast once again.