We recently ordered a meal from Banh Mi Hoàng (3509 Elgin St.) containing no meat products. We normally would send anything without a bone back to the kitchen, but our vegan accomplice urged us to take the plunge and try a vegan-certified Asian lunch. We had a tofu banh mi that was really unremarkable. Never again.
But what impressed us was the other use of tofu at Banh Mi Hoàng, near the University of Houston. It consisted of steamed white rice topped with chile oil and green onion, served with pan-fried tofu. The tofu was marinated and fired with Kaffir lime and cilantro and made us change our minds about vegan cuisine.
Our friend said it had become increasingly difficult to find a vegan-certified meal around town, and this was the best place he could go to avoid eating something drenched in pig fat. Good information, we thought, but then realized that it's a distressing thing for a city as big as Houston to offer so little in the terms of variety.
At least we came out knowing there's one dish we can confidently order next time we have to impress a vegetarian - the pan fried tofu with rice from Banh Mi Hoàng.