Monday, March 28, 2011

Tay Dô - What does it mean?

Dear Family, thank you for the suggestions and stories. Please keep them up as I keep the posts coming.  The next recipe is currently marinating in the fridge which gives me a chance to pick the fish scales off of my face (spoiler alert: it's another fish dish). I'll write that up later tonight.

It was apron time. The fish scales were flying.
For now, meet Tay Dô, a bring your own wine/beer Thai Viet restaurant on Duluth Avenue, near St Denis. It was actually our second choice for dinner to an all you can eat place called Asian Fusion nearby. Do not let this name fool you as it fooled me! Let me be clear: Asian Fusion does not fuse Asian cuisines whatsoever. It instead calls itself fusion for serving various cuisines which to me means which they list to be: Szechaun, Thai and of course Asian. Unfortunately, we were turned away at the door for not having a reservation. We then saw a woman in a wedding dress rush into the restaurant to escape the -10 degree March air.  I do hope to go sometime, despite the deceiving name, as I cannot resist AYCE. 

Walking down the street, we find another BYOB recommended to us, Tay Dô. I glance at the menu, written entirely in French, and enter. I notice the staff chattering in Vietnamese as the host confers with the motherly leading lady behind the cash because they are unsure if they can seat our party of six. We are soon seated in a tight cozy corner in the back. This place is kind of pretty! Very unconventional of a Vietnamese restaurant. As I flip through the menu, I see that the dishes are not listed in Vietnamese. I can read French just fine, but the menu mostly consisted of "X sautéed with vegetables and rice" and I had trouble finding something that I wanted to eat. 
When the server came to take our order, I asked him "Do you speak Vietnamese?" 
He replied "Yes." 
Let my culture lesson begin!
I asked "Elder Brother, is there anything Vietnamese on this menu?" (Pretty polite, right?)
He replied "Yes." pointing out that there was Pho and Canh Chua. 
I asked him what 'Steak Vietnamienne' was in Vietnamese.
He replied it was like Bo Luc Lac, and then pointed at the item above it named "Cubes de Boeuf" and told me that was Bo Luc Lac. 
After all my friends ordered, I asked "Elder Brother, what is your favourite dish to eat?" 
He told me to try the Bo Luc Lac. 
I suppressed a chuckle, ordered that and a papaya salad (One of my favourites, must make this soon). 

Our meals started with a spring roll with Nuoc Mam. I saved my left over Nuoc Mam for my salad appetizer in case I needed extra. How necessary it was, as my salad came out with Hoisin sauce to put on it and when the server saw that I had kept a bowl of fish sauce off to the side, he looked at me and said "Elder brother, pour this on top." 
I looked back at him and then forlornly at my Nuoc Mam and said "I usually eat it with this but I will try  half with the Hoisin." It was good. Not better, but different and good.
When he came back, he asked me what I thought. I told him that it was ngon (delicious) and is even good mixed with fish sauce. He was patient and kind, I hope I didn't bother him too much!

Finally, for those of you who don't know, I'm more or less Viet illiterate and when asked by my friends what Tay Dô might mean, I replied "It could mean to change clothes."  Oh, how this road is long and uphill...

P.S. My wife ordered the General Tao's Chicken. My Vietnamese history is pretty terrible but I don't remember ever learning about him...

Ching ChongIt means I love you.


  1. Is that how it is spelled? Cuz viet dictionary is not helping me translate that...

  2. At the restaurant there were some more accents on the word 'Tay' I think but when I google it, none of the sites have any accents except for the hat on the o. I'm not too worried about it though. :P

  3. Tây = West, Đô = Capital, so "Tây Đô" would mean Capital of the West.
    There is a city in Viet Nam named "Cần Thơ" which is located in the Western region of the country and it was also given the name "Tây Đô".
    There is a song called "Chiều Tây Đô" (chiều means afternoon or evening). To listen:àng+Oanh+-+Chiều+Tây+Đô

  4. lol, the knew of the name of the restaurant because of that song "Chieu Tay Do" :P