My purpose for this series of articles is to highlight restaurants that are local, good and cheap for those on the typical college student’s budget.
Last time, I profiled Sauced BBQ and Spirits—a great but not exactly affordable BBQ restaurant. As I was remiss in the cheap aspect of my piece last week, I chose to focus on a much more affordable option this time around. “Me and Cha’s Flavor of Vietnam” in Livermore is one of the best places in the Tri-Valley to keep your stomach and wallet full.
Located in a non-conspicuous strip mall so far down the end of Vasco road you’re almost in Tracy, “Cha’s” is easy to miss. With a little effort though, a plethora of delicious options awaits all who venture to the outskirts of L-Town.
Meat-eaters and vegetarians alike will find plenty to love. From the juicy, flavorful beef short ribs to the lemongrass chicken sandwiches to their takes on tofu, everything I try here hits the spot.
If you order a combo plate, request a fried egg on your rice and add sriracha hot chili sauce. It’s money.
At “Cha’s,” though, it’s all about the soup.
Pho (pronounced “fa”), for my money, is the ultimate college student meal. It’s like top ramen on steroids. A huge bowl of broth, meat, noodles and veggies. In one bowl, there is enough nutrition and deliciousness to last you all day.
My ritual right before a big test is usually to get the biggest bowl of pho possible. Each bowl raises my grade one full letter, or so I’d like to think. It’s a PEF, performance-enhancing food.
My latest visit, I brought along a friend and (much to my chagrin) I was buying.
For a bowl of soup, a sandwich and two cokes plus a tip, it all totaled out to about $20. Not bad at all.
Forget the modest appearance of “Cha’s,” sometimes the best meals are to be had in the most ordinary looking places.
If the Food Network were to visit Livermore I’d bet that “Cha’s” would be a shoe-in for a spot on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Me and Cha’s Flavor of
1458 N. Vasco Rd.
Livermore, CA 94551
Mon-Fri: 11 a.m – 9 p.m
Sat-Sun: 12-9 p.m