I’m not sure if Lil Green Cyclo is the first Vietnamese food truck out there, but it’s definitely one that is most readily accessible to me in terms of where it regularly parks and serves. The obvious draw for me was the menu that included Vietnamese sandwiches (aka banh mi) and garlic noodles. I have really come to crave the sandwiches much more these days, mainly because it’s so difficult to find a real Vietnamese sandwich in the city. Saigon Sandwich really is probably the best of the bunch. Granted, banh mi’s are like the new hip taco where everyone seems to be stuffing all sorts of different tasting proteins with some pickled vegetables inside a french bread loaf and calling it a banh mi. Although they are good, very few of them can be called authentic.
The description from the website seemed to indicate that Lil Green Cyclo might be on the authentic side, so I was definitely anxious to give it a try. So when I saw that it was going to be parked right across the street from me at work, I managed to convince a couple of my co workers to join me.
The Garlic Noodles looked like it was a daily special, so even though I really wasn’t that hungry, I had to order the garlic noodles to try in case I never happen upon this truck ever again. I’m still so surprised by how prominent of an item garlic noodles are on so many Vietnamese menus, because I really never associated it with Vietnamese cuisine. Anyways, the noodles tasted surprisingly solid. They were a little bit on the dry side and not as distinctly garlic-flavored, but it wasn’t bad. The grilled chicken was pretty good and was a good complement to the noodles.
The addition of the truffle oil made this sandwich sound like a fancier version of banh mi, but in actuality, the truffle oil essence was pretty subtle and the rest of the sandwich tasted pretty simple. All the right ingredients were in the sandwich, steamed pork roll, pate and pickled vegetables, but when put altogether, it just didn’t have the right taste of a good banh mi. The bread was a little bit bland and dry, and the flavors from the rest of the ingredients just didn’t have the same punch as I am expecting to taste from a good banh mi. It wasn’t awful, but it definitely didn’t hit the spot. I was left wanting more… and better.
Overall, I give this food truck points for being more on the authentic side of Vietnamese fare. Unfortunately, the sandwiches which I would have expected to be good ended up being kind of plain, but the garlic noodles (which aren’t necessarily the most authentic Vietnamese dish) actually ended up tasting decent. There are some other dishes on the menu including some vermicelli noodle dishes and they offer a variety of different special dishes every so often. I have to admit I’m slightly curious to check it out, but I will probably wait until it conveniently parked close by again. I don’t think it’s a truck that I would hunt down.
PAFO Ratings for Little Green Cyclo:
Food 3 stars
Overall rating 3 stars