Restaurant review: Chau Veggie Express

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After attending a private function catered by Chau Veggie Express (which, by the way, was a non-vegetarian menu), I was intrigued enough to give the restaurant a try.

Chau Veggie Express is a modern vietnamese vegetarian restaurant.

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We arrived on a weekend afternoon, and seated ourselves at a communal long table.   The space is bright, airy and rather eclectic.  It appears to be the result of joining unrelated neighboring retails spaces into a single space.

We placed our order at the counter, and received a plastic figurine that would uniquely identify our order.

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I ordered the rickety rickshaw bowl

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this is a rice vermicelli bowl, topped with crispy shallots and mung beans, thin slivers of pressed tofu, matchstick cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon radish and a crispy kale spring roll.  It came with a small cup of nuoc cham (sweetened vinegar and fish sauce).  The noodles were tender, and the vegetables were fresh and crisp.  The fried shallots and fried mung beans provide nice flavor and crunchiness.  The slivers of pressed tofu provide some contrast with their soft, slightly chewy quality.  I liked the kale spring roll, it had some decent flavor and was very crisp.

My lunch companion ordered the night market salad
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This is a green papaya salad, with slivered carrots, apples, with roasted peanuts & mung beans, crispy shallots, orange zest citrus dressing, slices of firm tofu.  The crispy green papaya, slivered carrots and apples were very fresh and crisp.  The fried peanuts and mung beans were lightly crunchy.  The slices of firm tofu were… just kinda there.  Tofu, by itself has a very mild flavor, it absorbs the flavor of marinades and sauces easily, but there was no apparent marinade here.  This was probably one of the best green papaya salads I’ve had in the lower mainland.

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We finished off with a little dessert.  This is a mason jar of coconut tapioca pudding, topped with mango puree, toasted peanuts and sesame seeds.  This is quite tasty.  The coconut pudding is lightly sweet, and buttery smooth.  The tapioca beads were very soft,  if I closed my eyes, I wouldn’t even notice them.  The mango provides a fruity tone to the pudding, and the crushed peanuts and toasted sesame seeds provide a little crunchiness.

The service is fairly minimal, but the counter workers are pleasant and nice enough.  The room is bright and airy, the room is clean (and eclectic and quirky).  The communal tables take a little getting-used-to.

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