July 31, 2022

Cha Gio - Crispy Rice Paper Version at Cuu Long Quan

 Tucked into a little non descript and slightly decrepit strip center on Broadway near I-45 South, is Cuu Long Quan. I discovered this place when I sent a query for a specific Vietnamese appetizer, cha gio. You see, as time has passed, more Vietnamese places are moving away from the traditional, crispy, fried, rice paper wrapper and substituting a spring roll/lumpia wheat based wrapper. Because doing the rice paper right is a challenge. You need to rehydrate the dried wrapper in a water and sugar solution, deep fry it watching closely so that it doesn't burn or get too greasy. It is a real skill. And someone on the Chowdown in Chinatown - Houston (Facebook group) recommended this place.

Well, the cha gio was terrific. As was a flat noodle (lots of wok hai) with chicken and vegetables dish. I am already looking forward to coming back here for cha gio.

One caveat emptor though. As of May 2022, the interior smelled really bad, as if they needed to go in and do some maintenance on their plumbing piping. I hope that someone reading this, who speaks Vietnamese, will talk to them, as this could really be hurting their business. And they probably aren't aware of the issue since they are there every day.

But the cha gio. Man, was it ever excellent.

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