100 Favorite Dishes: No. 57, Vegan Curry at Cafe TH

​This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

Cafe TH, once known as Thiem Hung (in fact, that's still their Twitter handle: @ThiemHung), seriously branched out under the ownership of Minh Nguyen when he purchased the bakery and banh mi shop from its old owners several years ago. And nowhere is Nguyen's new direction for the old Vietnamese cafe more evident than it its vegan curry.

"Originally, I only offered it on certain days," Nguyen told me. "And then people started asking for it more and more," he continued. So despite the fact that making the curry is a very time-consuming, he began offering it on a daily basis. It's not only attractive to the increasing numbers of vegetarian and vegan patrons (indeed, I've turned on a few vegetarians to Cafe TH with a bowl), but the curry is so good that it's even appealing to regular omnivores like myself.

The secret to the curry's deep, silky, earthy broth is simply time. ​Nguyen boils handfuls of cauliflower, green beans, carrots, onions and still more vegetables separately before combining all of the vegetable stocks together with a green curry base that he thickens up with coconut milk. To brighten it up, Nguyen then adds lime, basil and pungent vegan fish sauce.

The New York Times ran a piece this morning on the "new" throwback trend of stem-to-root eating (prepare to start hearing that one a lot more, whether you like it or not). Nguyen and Cafe TH were way ahead of the curve on that one.

The list so far:

No. 100: Dumplings at Heights Asian Cafe
No. 99: Mixta Pizza at Friends Pizzeria
No. 98: Veggie tacos from Radical Eats
No. 97: Bean pie from Conscious Cafe
No. 96: Swiss chard crepes from Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 95: Eggs Mia Bella at Mia Bella
No. 94: Mulligatawny soup at the Queen Vic
No. 93: Helado de Lúcuma from Pollo Bravo
No. 92: Black bean burger from Natachee's
No. 91: Chupacabra pizza from ERA
No. 90: Roast chicken from El Norteño
No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil
No. 88: Frank the Pretzel from Eatsie Boys
No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio
No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19
No. 85: Falafel from Zabak's
No. 84: Buttermilk-fried pork loin with fried eggs at Canopy
No. 83: Grillades and grits from BB's Cajun Cafe
No. 82: Haemul dolsot from Seoul House
No. 81: Pandan waffles at Parisian Bakery III
No. 80: Pita bread and hummus at Phoenicia
No. 79: Goat pepper soup at Peppersoup Cafe
No. 78: Melon and Texas feta salad from Beaver's
No. 77: Hot Italian beef from BB's Beef & Hot Dog
No. 76: Bacon-avocado burger from Facundo Cafe
No. 75: Pancakes from Fountain View Cafe
No. 74: Hobnobs from Fluff Bake Bar
No. 73: Chu chee eggplant from Nidda Thai
No. 72: Sausage sampler from King's Biergarten
No. 71: Shawarma from Abdallah's
No. 70: Moules-frite at the Broken Spoke
No. 69: Hong Kong-style French toast at House of Bowls
No. 68: Sashimi sampler at Sushi Miyagi
No. 67: Baleadas from Honduras Mayan
No. 66: Snow ice from Star Snow Ice & Teriyaki
No. 65: Boudin balls from MerCheri's
No. 64: Miso ramen at Umai
No. 63: Grim burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 62: Dabeli at Bansuri Indian Food Corner
No. 61: Wine and cupcakes at 13 Celsius
No. 60: Pâté de France from Spec's
No. 59: Steak and eggs from Ninfa's on Navigation
No. 58: Breakfast pita at Niko Niko's

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Location Info

Cafe TH

2108 Pease St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Still haven't tried this but need to soon because it looks so delicious!

Erin Nies
Erin Nies

I dream about this dish. So. f'ing. GOOD!

Bruce R
Bruce R

If the dish contains fish sauce then it is neither vegan nor vegetarian.


I think in this case, "fish sauce" is used to describe the intense salty and umami flavor that traditional fish sauce provides.  The mushroom soy and miso in the recipe Katharine posted would provide it nicely.


Totally swiping this recipe and trying to make it.  :)  Thanks!

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