Pick a protein

Caramelized pork belly is one of the top specials offered at Jonty’s Vietnamese Eatery in Morgan Hill. Photo: Debra Eskinazi

South Valley residents might think they’d be hard-pressed to find any good Vietnamese food outside of San Jose, but folks on the hunt for a quick bite can find it at Jonty’s Vietnamese Eatery in Morgan Hill. From their one-room building beside the train tracks at 17300 Depot St, Jonty’s provides alfresco dining and a convenient, healthy alternative to fast food.

“From a sandwich perspective it’s just as good as anything in San Jose,” says Morgan Hill resident Carrie Tran.

On a recent weeknight our party decided to try Jonty’s. Their philosophy is simple: pick a protein and method of consumption—sandwich, rice plate, salad or noodle bowl.

Not being big sandwich fans these days—although, there is nothing like a proper banh mi—our meal began with a fried spring roll appetizer.

After our bellies were warmed up and got a jump on sufficient caffeination with Vietnamese coffee, we tasted a chicken curry noodle bowl. The flavorful dish was served to go and prepared with black mustard and fennel seeds, seasoned with ginger and onions and topped with cilantro.

Next, we ordered the first of two specials: Shaking Beef, with sauteed shallots and tamarind sauce. Our party enjoyed the beef over salad, complete with red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber and a side of honey-lemon vinaigrette. The cool salad was a nice balance for the savory beef.

Finally, our party ordered caramelized pork belly over rice served with maggi sauce and a side salad. All the dishes we tried were tasty, but among our party, the caramelized pork belly was the easy winner.
Annette Jones of Morgan Hill agrees and says, “It’s just perfect, good meat, it’s fresh. It’s right on.”