Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Eat in San Francisco: Thanh Tam II

Grilled Chicken Noodle (Bún Gà Nướng) vermicelli noodle bowl with salad, bean sprouts, mint, and peanuts

I never really share the places I frequent the most. (Maybe I want to keep them a secret; maybe I don't bring my camera. Excuses.) Thanh Tam II, a Vietnamese restaurant located on Valencia between 16th and 17th in the Mission, is one of those places. I've been eating there almost monthly since at least 2012. My culinary journey at Thanh Tam II started with their soups, perhaps a classic noodle soup with beef balls (Phở Bò Viên) or a hot and spicy beef noodle soup (Bún Bò Huế). It then led me to the vermicelli noodle page of the menu, featuring bowls of vermicelli noodles over salad with either grilled pork (Bún Thịt Nướng) or grilled chicken (Bún Gà Nướng). In recent years, I've pretty much stuck with the grilled chicken noodle bowl shown here.

It has everything I want in a meal: dynamic flavors, great textures, and it's filling and well-priced to boot. In terms of flavor, the perfectly grilled chicken is complemented by the dipping sauce you pour over the dish, the crunchy peanuts, and the fresh salad of cucumbers, lettuce, and bean sprouts under the noodles. The contrast between the cooked noodles and meat with the raw vegetables provides the texture I like. The whole bowl is layers deep, making it quite a filling meal at about ten bucks. (I've recently come to accept that it's hard to come by a meal in San Francisco and the parts of the East Bay I frequent for less than $10. *sigh*)

I will be visiting Thanh Tam II in the future and I'll most likely be ordering this bowl again. If I'm feeling adventurous, I'll try... the grilled beef. If you've visited Thanh Tam II recently, what do you recommend trying?

Thanh Tam II
Website Facebook | Yelp
577 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Open: Daily 12pm - 10pm

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