Hai Ky Cafe

2000 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 480-0057

Last week, campus was pretty dead with all the students gone in between semesters. I had a slower day at work and my usual convenient lunch of Wendy’s was unavailable due to their closing down in between semesters. I yelped around for something within walking distance and decided on Hai Ky Cafe. I’ve been to Hai Ky in a rundown shopping center on Oltorf several years ago and I believe this is their swankier version nestled on Guadalupe (dubbed the “Drag” by Austinites). I had walked by it when eating at Tap House the day before.

Inside Hai Ky. There is also tables along a long cooridoor not pictured that looks pretty cozy and intimate.

When I enter a Vietnamese pho restaurant, I rarely get anything else but pho. I just always crave pho over the rice plates or vermicelli bowls in general when at a Vietnamese pho place. That aside, I haven’t had a vermicelli bowl in over ten years. The last one I had I don’t think I was even in high school yet and it was my mom’s. I don’t eat a lot of fresh vegetables or salads, and I prefer my meals warm and not cold/room temperature. Vermicelli bowls are chopped grilled meat and or chopped egg rolls tossed in cool vermicelli noodles and lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and carrots. (My mom used to chop up mint leaves in hers.) It’s very much like a salad, and as someone who does not usually crave salad, I just don’t bother with vermicelli bowls.

After a long stint of eating unhealthy foods with no color (save brown), I usually start craving veggies just to detox my system a little bit. It’s kind of like a halfass measly reboot of my diet. So for the first time in over ten years, I had a Vietnamese vermicelli bowl. I had mine with chopped egg rolls and it surprised me that it hit the spot! I will admit it has wet my appetite for this traditional dish a bit that maybe I won’t wait another ten years to have another one.

This is the prettiest vermicelli bowl, I’ve ever seen. (Though I’m not a big VB eater, I’ve seen my fair share as it’s a popular thing to order at pho restaurants). That dipping sauce is an essential part of the dish.

Mix it all up and dive in!

It was quite fresh, light, and tasty. Priced at $6.50, it’s pretty economical lunch. I must say $6.50 is about how much Hai Ky charges for a bowl of pho too. It’s a little steep in terms of Austin pricing for pho but when you factor in convenience for the UT student or staff member, that’s not bad. Maybe next time I’ll try it.