CHAU Veggiexpress is a quaint vegetarian lunch eatery & take out, nestled in the Victoria Drive neighborhood. Their menu is completely vegetarian, and you can also purchase their signature home made sauces and spices to have in your own kitchen.
I am disappointed to have to update my review, but the Manager of Chau Veggie Express Maria Huynh leaves me no choice.
They are incredibly busy, so they don't care if you have an unpleasant experience (or multiples of them).
I have been a dedicated and loyal patron for the last 8 months (embarrassingly eating here about twice a week). I contacted the manager "Maria Huynh" with my issues with NO RESPONSE AT ALL.
Eventually your declining service will catch up with you. You are enjoying the glory of your busy days but I am very disappointed on how my complaints were dealt with (as in...NOT AT ALL) and left a sour taste in my mouth.
I will miss your food.
Vegetarian Vietnamese. Really? Well, we shall see.
Small little joint, cleaner than most pho places (usually a bad sign :-)
Service pretty decent.
Food, ah yes, the food.
Did we get lucky? Everything but the faux pho had spicy in it. Usually a good sign that the vegetarian dudes don't really know what they're doing and just using spicy as a crutch to add "flavour".
There was some rice bowl loaded with veggies. Some spring roll thingies (probably the least compromised of the lot) and taro chips with dip.
I think the quality is pretty good. I would be happy if I had just whipped it up in a few minutes at home (and in fact, it does taste like stuff I might make when I run short on ingredients). Aside from the faux pho, I don't think anything really screams "Vietnamese!" at me. It could be some undisclosed "Asian" vegetarian joint.
However, there are 2 biggies:
1) It is pricey. The whole dang lot came out to about $35 or so before tips. If you're keeping track, that's 2 mains and 2 appies. At any regular Vietnamese joint, this would net you around 10 subs or 5 large pho or ... you would be darned full. I swear I was hungrier walking out. We went across the street to the Chinese bakery to grab some buns...
2) It's pretty tasty food ... for vegetarian. And you can't do that. It has to be tasty period. The faux pho, yeah, it's pretty good, if you haven't tasted real pho before. If you have, this would not rank any where near the top. I've eaten really tasty vegetarian food before, I even make some dishes myself, so I know what can be done and this is not it.
We were pretty much the only ones in the place at lunch time. As we were leaving a couple of other small groups came in, I think just 6 people in the shop eating as we left.
We walked down the block and across the street. There are 3 other pho places around and they are jam packed, for good reason. Significantly cheaper, more variety, way tastier and you won't go away hungry.
Nope, not worth your time unless you are a vegetarian who lives in the area and too weak to make it to some other joint and can't cook on your own.
Came here on a weeknight and noticed how small it was. Basically one long common table down the middle of the restaurant that seats 12. Then some bar seats along the wall and front window. It's a self serve restaurant where you go up to order/pay, they deliver your food, then you have to clean up your own table. It's Asian/Thai themed. Tried the Bun Choy - vermicelli (dry) with spring roll, veggiies and herbs - not bad; tried the salad rolls - very good; green papaya salad - very good and the coconut shake - good. Overall the food is good but a limited menu. Didn't get to try the soup noodles (pho style). A bit too small of a place for large groups and you would have to share a table. Prices are a bit on the high side, noodles around $10 and appies in the $4-$7 range, given the decor/level of service and cost of food ingredients. I don't like the self service aspect. Probably not return.
At one time, I think there were 3 Vietnamese restaurants being built on the same block at the same time. Another 24-hour Viet place just opened up out of nowhere around the corner on Kingsway too. But it has elevated the standard of the food in the area and also created some differences. So you find some restaurants with larger, extensive menus, others focus on soups while a few restaurants specialize on a region. Chau Veggie Express is unlike any other Vietnamese restaurants in Vancouver.
It has a simple design, with a long table in the middle and bar stools along the wall and at the window. The space is clean and modern, but it's very much self-serve. You order at the front, they bring you your food. Everything else you get yourself at the back, including water, chopsticks, napkins, etc. They also have a very clean bathroom.
The food is excellent. I'm amazed how flavorful vegetarian food can be. There are noodles in soup, there are cold noodles topped with tofu and vegetables, and there are side dishes such as papaya salad, ricepaper wraps and spring rolls. I found the deep-fried tofu (??) pieces that topped the cold noodles to be strangely chewy, I was expecting some of the firm tofu slices, but it's still a lovely, refreshing dish during the summer. The soups have delicious broths, although they could use a little more noodles, I don't feel completely full afterwards. Their side dishes are exquisite. A little pricier than the neighboring places, but they seem very concerned with the healthiness of their ingredients, so I think it's worth it.
Service is friendly and will help you out with the menu if you're having trouble. Beautiful restaurant for a quick bite to eat.