Fried rice noodles with mixed veggies at Saigon Café in Charlottesville, VAOn our most recent visit to the reliable Saigon Café (menu here), we started with vegetable rolls – carrots, tree ears, bean vermicelli, cabbage, celery, onion wrapped in rice paper and fried. Delicious! Sometimes fried foods can be overwhelmingly fried, but these were really good, with a prominent veggie flavor. So good, we ordered a second helping. The dipping sauce is sweet but not overpowering, balanced out with a touch of spice. The rolls were served on a large bed of lettuce, which was a strangely aggressive presentation – I can’t imagine anyone eats it. We would have loved to try a steamed version of the rolls, but they only offer steamed rolls with shrimp.

For the main course we tried fried rice noodles with mixed veggies. I asked them to hold the water chestnuts, which seem like a waste of an ingredient to me. The delicious sauce was slightly sweet and a bit smokey, not at all greasy, as is too often the case with comparable Chinese dishes. It was heavily stocked with lots of veggies and not a lot of noodles, however. I would have liked a little more noodle and a little less veggie (especially those baby corns…way too many). It was also strange that a noodle dish would come with a large bowl of rice, of which I ate very little. We also tried the Bun Rau, which was rice noodles and steamed veggies in the same peanut red pepper sauce that came with rolls.

As for the rest, chardonnay at $2.75 a glass? Yes please! And filled right to the brim, thanks ladies. Not an award-winning chard by any means but it tasted great. The decor of the restaurant is nothing fancy. You can certainly go in any attire, and in fact the hubs says it has looked exactly the same for years. The waitstaff is friendly, helpful, and extremely attentive. Overall, a very reasonably priced and satisfying vegan meal!