Plenty has changed in Saigon since I was a kid, roaming the neighborhoods and visiting the many street food vendors congregated in the alleyways and markets, but there’s a place in Houston that reminds me of those childhood days. Teaholic at the Kim Son shopping center in Bellaire, open for three years now and still a bit under the radar, transports this H-Town resident back to the streets of Ho Chi Minh.
Its vast menu has familiar but adventurous-to-newbies items like sticky rice, chili oil-sautéed chicken feet, and beef tripe banh mi. If you’re new to the scene and would like to try out something that’s still authentic but less intimidating, the banh trang tron—or rice paper salad—is the way to go.
Teaholic not only delivers a tasteful medley of some of Vietnam’s simplest ingredients in its food menu, but it also has a robust drink menu that ranges from fresh fruit juices to Vietnam’s popular lemongrass and lychee-featured drinks.
Teaholic uses natural ingredients and incorporates real chunks of fruits into its drinks, such as the Super Fruit Tea. The house-made artichoke drink and pennywort juice (an herbaceous, round perennial plant) are the two most traditional refreshers on the list.
Teaholic has three classic flavors of milk tea, plus eight toppings for mixing and sharing. Ultimately, it’s sharing that Teaholic seems to be advocating, much like how I’d share my dishes among friends and family members on the streets of Saigon.