22 February, 2020, 17:39

Quality fast-casual Vietnamese cuisine at “Vina Vietnamese Street Food”

The menu options are pho real

Late 2016, Vietnamese food truck Vina Baguette transitioned into a brick-and-mortar restaurant called Vina Vietnamese Street Food.

Over the past two years, the restaurant has slowly developed a loyal following.

Tucked away inconspicuously at 4230 N. Oracle Rd. near a Home Depot, the restaurant doesn’t catch attention from the street light. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing it as just another Vietnamese restaurant.

Customers order inside at the counter for fast-casual service. Menu options include noodle soups, banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), rice paper rolls (also known as spring rolls or summer rolls), pad thai, bubble tea, and build-your-owns special akin to a Vietnamese version of Mexican fast food chain Chipotle.

Expect more than fast food chain quality from Vina, however.

The Fresh Roll, filled with pork and shrimp, is refreshing with savory use of mint. The portion of slurpable peanut sauce is generous, so feel free to go overboard with dipping.

Fresh Roll at Vina Vietnamese Street Food (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Fresh Roll at Vina Vietnamese Street Food (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Noodle soups feature rich, complex broth and fresh herbs without a sad leaf in sight. The Vina Pho features beef broth with tenderloin slices, broiled beef brisket, meatballs, cilantro, thinly-sliced onion, and scallions.

Vina Pho at Vina Vietnamese Street Food (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Vina Pho at Vina Vietnamese Street Food (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Banh mi feature locally baked, appropriately delicate baguettes with a balanced ratio of fillings. The lemongrass chicken is fragrant with a slight char. Slices of jalapeño come on the side by default.

Lemongrass Chicken Sandwich at Vina Vietnamese Street Food (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Lemongrass Chicken Sandwich at Vina Vietnamese Street Food (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Pad Thai is clearly Vietnamese-influenced with the use of sriracha. However, you can still expect the balance of sweet-sour-salty-savory with tamarind that makes it a favorite among Vina regulars.

Service is fast — the most recent visit from start to finish was about 30 minutes, so consider making Vina a work lunch option if you’re in the area.

Vina Vietnamese Street Food is located at 4230 N. Oracle Rd. Keep up with Vina Vietnamese Street Food on Facebook.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

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