Cyclo | Dianping
Address: 陕西北路678号(近武定路) – 678 North Shanxi Rd near Wuding Rd (静安区 Jing’an District)
Date visited: 2014.02
Total bill: RMB¥160 for two people
Will return: Yes
What to get:
– “Banh Mi Heo Nuong” BBQ Pork Sandwich
– “Pho Bo” Beef Noodle Soup
This restaurant is named Cyclo because… I guess there are cyclos in Vietnam. Anyway, it is commonly acknowledged that Vietnamese options in Shanghai are limited and the addition of Cyclo essentially just doubled that list. Overall, there are details that can be improved but Cyclo has a good foundation and potential to become better with some tweaking. While I am still not convinced by any of the Vietnamese joints here, Cyclo is good enough for a next time.
As for authenticity, I have no comment because I am 1.) Shanghainese and 2.) American, neither of which spell Vietnamese. For my purpose, as long as it tastes good, I suppose I am not too concerned with authenticity.
Lemonana (RMB¥30) with lemon and mint
The juice was fresh but it was super sour so we flagged a server down to ask for some sugar (adding sugar makes lemon juice less sour). Before we even said anything, she automatically asked “is it too sour?” so I am thinking this is not uncommon. The liquid-to-glass-size ratio was a bit odd and the glass arrived looking not quite full–perhaps a smaller glass would have been better so it doesn’t look like it was under filled.
“Goi Cuon Tom Thit” Fresh Spring Rolls (RMB¥25 for two pieces, RMB¥40 for four pieces)
Spring rolls are obligatory for me when eating a Vietnamese meal so we ordered rolls wrapped in rice paper, which came with a peanut sauce and a sweet sauce. The inside was heavy on bitter herbs, which overpowered the shrimp and pork. We did hear from our friends the fried rolls are good so we will try that next time.
“Banh Mi Heo Nuong” BBQ Pork Sandwich (RMB¥45)
I like this but minor tweaks could make this even better. Overall, the sandwich had an abundance of contrasting flavors from the herb garnishes and pickled carrots but was sparse on the meat (please sir, I want some more). The bread was pre-toasted but not served warm, and I would have like the bread to be warm. Compared to B Real, Cyclo’s sandwich size is smaller and has less meat but Cyclo’s sandwich has more garnishes, which give it a flavor that is closer to what my expectation for banh mi would taste like.
“Pho Bo” Beef Noodle Soup (RMB¥50 for small, RMB¥60 for large; large shown)
In terms of logistics, the pho took a long time. We got the sandwich and finished the sandwich before the pho came out (and the sandwich was intended to be my entree).
The broth was beefy and the flavor was subtle and not overwhelming in the MSG-laden way a lot of foods in Shanghai are (when you feel like you need to chug water afterwards). It tasted very clean.
Accompanied by nice and chewy flat noodles. Delicious on a rainy day, which this night was.