Donna Cooks


Seven Courses of Beef at Huong Ly
February 23, 2007, 1:35 am
Filed under: DFW Restaurant Reviews

What’s better than beef for dinner?  Seven courses of beef, of course!  I’ve always seen the seven courses of beef advertised on banners outside of Vietnamese restaurants, and this past Wednesday, a group of five of us went to Huong Ly in the Richardson Chinatown to find out what it’s all about.

According to Wikipedia, Bo 7 Mon (or “Beef 7 Ways”) is traditional wedding fare in Vietnamese cuisine.  The idea is to create spring rolls with the various cooked beef items.  From some light web reading, it appears that Huong Ly’s version of the seven courses of beef falls right in line with the standard fare.

The first course of beef was actually a salad.  Thin strips of red onion, carrots, cabbage, mint, beef slices, and pickled tripe topped with ground peanut. Yep, I said tripe.  I’m not personally a big fan of tripe, so I ate around it but still got to sample the crunchy salad with the fish saucy, vinegary dressing.  An interesting way to whet your appetite.

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Course number two started the spring roll making madness.  The table soon filled up with a hot pot of boiling broth with slices of red onion, clear spring roll wrappers and bowls of hot water for softening the wrappers, a giant plate of veggies for your spring roll (mint, basil, sprouts, carrot strips, cucumber strips, and something that looked like banana but was starchy and hard), vermicelli noodles, two dipping sauces (regular fish sauce and Mam Nem, a fermented fish sauce which originated from Thailand), and the thin slices of beef to be boiled.

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Drop the beef slices in the boiling broth, soften your spring roll wrapper, fill wrapper with noodles and veggies of choice, add in cooked beef slices (should be done by the time you’re done softening the wrapper and piling on the veggies), roll up into a spring roll, and dip in your choice of either regular fish sauce or the more pungent fermented fish sauce.  It’s definitely a fun, hands-on experience. 

The next plate included the third, fourth, and fifth course. 

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So this is where “beef 7 ways” makes more sense than “7 courses of beef.”  These three different “sausages” are eaten the same way as the boiled beef in the first course, roll them up in the spring roll wrappers with veggies and dip in the fish sauce(s).  There was the plain “sausage,” chargrilled beef slices wrapped around ground beef, the fatty “sausage,” ground beef rolled in caul fat which gives it the shiny exterior, and ground beef wrapped in la lot leaves.  My favorite of the three were the ground beef in la lot leaves, the leaves gave them a distinctly herbal flavor.  I have always been a fan of things wrapped in leaves/husks, tamales, zhong zi, etc.  The fatty beef was a bit more juicy than the regular beef, but otherwise had similar flavors.

Two more courses to go and we were already stuffed!  The next course consisted of a crunchy sesame cracker with a beef “dip.”  You spoon the mixture of ground beef and clear cellophane noodles topped with mushy peas.

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Out of all the courses, this was my least favorite due to personal preference.  I’m just not a big fan of the texture of steamed ground meat.  And I thought the sesame cracker tasted stale.  But still an interesting dish, nonetheless.  The last course was ground beef congee (porridge) topped with lots of green onion, a soothing way to end our massive feast of beef.

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The Seven Courses of Beef is $11.95 per person at Huong Ly.  We actually ordered 4 portions for our party of 5 (3 boys in their mid-20’s with voracious appetites and 2 girls that can hold their own when it comes to eating) and all left so very full.  You do the math, it’s quite the deal.  The atmosphere at Huong Ly is like you would expect at a Chinatown restaurant, people definitely come for the food and not the decor.  Service was a bit slow.  They were probably a little busier than expected on a Wednesday night. 

I got this email the next day at work:

“Beef, it’s not what’s for dinner.  At least for tonight, because I feel like I have a beef hangover.”

It’s like the State Fair but with beef instead of deep fried goodies.  And just like the State Fair, Beef 7 Ways is something you just have to try at least once.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Huong Ly
400 N. Greenville Ave #20
Richardson, TX 75081

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