Lang Chay / Dia Diem 1

Peninsula and South Bay, California

Reviews

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rating star

This is a clean, modern, friendly vegetarian (mostly vegan) Vietnamese cafe in a stripmall. There are about two dozen similar places in the San Jose area, but the openness and friendly vibe in Lang Chay stood out from the rest.

We started off with a veggie egg roll with salad ($6). This consisted of four fried egg rolls, filled with tofu, vegetables and maybe taro as well. I didn't really need the salad portion (which consisted of just lettuce) and I found it strange that you can't simply get a single or double serving of egg roll for cheaper (all the other "roll" dishes are spring rolls served without salad and are less expensive). I really liked the taste of the egg rolls, though.

For our main course we went overboard and got an eggplant with basil ($8), a lemongrass spicy chicken ($7) and a mushroom hotpot ($17).

The eggplant and lemongrass chicken dishes were both great. I thought they were both fresh, flavorful, and not overly oily or salty. The lemongrass chicken, in particular, was excellent: spicy; crispy and addictive.

The mushroom hotpot was a mixed affair for me. For one thing, I was amazed at how costly it was---$17 for a dish in a cash-only joint in a stripmall? They bring you a large bowl full of semi-cooked noodles, a large plate overflowing with a variety of vegetables (bok choy, various mushrooms, whole basil plants, huge stems and leaves of some kind of leafy green called "an dong", and more), as well as a pot full of fake meat and seafood, mushrooms and broth. You are supposed to mix everything together iteratively on the small burner that they also bring to your table. I guess you just keep letting things simmer for a long time.

This hotpot could have been the entire meal, quite frankly; we didn't need the other dishes. That said, I wasn't a huge fan of the fake seafood and meats in the pot, though I did enjoy the mushrooms and the savory broth. The sheer quantity of fresh vegetables was also great, but it was hard work, messy and frustrating to mix everything together over and over again.

In general I'm not a fan of "some assembly required" meals.

All of the customers at Lang Chay were Vietnamese and they all ordered hotpots, so that does seem to be the the thing this place is known for. I loved their stir-frys, though, and they were pretty cheap at $7-8 a piece.

Unfortunately Lang Chay doesn't offer brown rice. Always a bummer.

Lastly, the service was really friendly and helpful. In conclusion, I would definitely come back here for another meal and I was impressed with the general quality of the food.

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