BY MIKE PUCKETT
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Tapioca Place is located on Hammerly BLVD, just west of Gessner Rd. Not only does Tapioca Place have wonderful Vietnamese cuisine, but the smoothies, slushies, teas and coffees are nothing less than top notch!!!
The first thing you notice as you head into Tapioca Place, are the huge smiles from the staff and pictures of some of their most popular drinks. The variety of drinks seems endless and that is so cool. No matter what you fancy, you will find it here at Tapioca Place.
After speaking with the owner, I found out the key to their flavorful meat is that it is marinated for 24-48 hours to soak in all the spices. Their marinades are a mix of many Asian spices and their beef is tenderized with Asian pears. All their meats are made in-house, including their traditional cold cuts (pate, headcheese and Asian ham known as cha lua) That explains a lot!
The Egg Rolls at Tapioca Place are as good as I have had in Houston. They are not pre-packaged, but made in-house, just like about everything else. You can taste it in every bite. Another favorite of mine is their classic Vietnamese style mayo that adds a sweet taste to the pickled carrots and brings out the flavor of the meat in their Banh Mi. I like that!
Tapioca Place has a nice selection of menu items as discussed earlier. There are so many choices to choose from, it was difficult to decide what to order. We decided on the Banh Mi, Egg Rolls, Spring Rolls, Dumplings and variety of Smoothies, Slushies, Coffees and Teas. All the drinks were wonderful, and I recommend you find the flavor you like best and you will love it! My two favorite menu items were the Egg Rolls and the Banh Mi.
The Egg Rolls are some of the best I have enjoyed in the city. Like I said before, they are not pre-packaged. These house-made beauties are lightly fried to entice your taste buds as you see the golden-brown crispy shell headed towards your mouth. The perfect crunch and flavor. You must try these Tapioca Place Egg Rolls!
Another favorite of mine here at Tapioca Place is the Banh Mi. I tried three different Banh Mi’s: Teriyaki Beef, Lemon Grass Pork and Lemon Grass Chicken. My favorite was the Teriyaki Beef, but like the drinks I would recommend that you choose the flavor you like best and you will not be disappointed.
The Banh Mi here at Tapioca Place starts with a freshly toasted French Baguette filled with Vietnamese butter, pickled carrots, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, soy sauce and black pepper. Don’t forget to add the classic Vietnamese Mayo… it really helps this fresh and flavorful sandwich stand-out. I need one right now!!!
If you are looking for a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant to grab a quick lunch or even a quick drink, then I highly recommend Tapioca Place. The customer service goes hand and hand with the outstanding food. They even allow you to taste-test a few items, if you are undecided on exactly what you want. They also measure all their drinks to allow consistency. Let just say there are no short-cuts here… and you know I like that!!! Enjoy!
Good Eats Houston Recommends…
Teriyaki beef, lemon grass pork and lemon grass chicken
Freshly toasted French Baguette filled with Vietnamese butter, pickled carrots, cucumber, jalepeno, cilantro, soy sauce, black pepper
Combines milk, ice and up to three flavors for your own unique smoothie
Reese’s Buttercup – Banana – Vanilla
Oreo – Chocolate – Almond
The house special milk tea is a blend of teas with non-dairy creamer that is a perfect blend of tea, cream and pairs wonderfully with tapioca.
Freshly brewed Vietnamese style iced
Freshly brewed green, black and Thai tea.
PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKE PUCKETT