Editorial: Hai Ky, a High Key Good Restaurant


Vermicelli with grilled pork and egg roll. Served with fish sauce. Hai Ky offers a variety of Vietnamese cuisine. Photo by JC Ramirez Delgadillo.

Juan (JC) Ramirez Delgadillo, Web Editor-in-Chief

Hai Ky has been a place I have always seen when passing by Oltorf and Burleson road, but I have not paid much attention to it until recently. Located on East Oltorf street, Hai Ky is next to the laundromat with an upside down laundry sign and a Domino’s pizza. I finally visited the restaurant after my parent’s favorite Vietnamese restaurant shut down permanently, and they were in search of a new one. I got in the car, excited to finally see what Hai Ky was.

When we first arrived I was surprised by how small the restaurant was. There were a lot of seats, but the space between some of the tables was very limited. The tables were mostly organized for smaller groups of two or four people, but being a family of five, we got to sit in one of the large middle tables. The atmosphere was very laid back, reminding me of home with the paintings on the walls and the warm lights giving the restaurant a welcoming vibe. The music selection was interesting because, despite the main cuisine being Vietnamese food, ranchera and mariachi music echoed throughout the restaurant. It was an unexpected surprise but a welcome one nonetheless and kept me in a better mood while waiting for my food.  

When we sat down we were greeted by one of the waiters and were given our menus. All of the food looked amazing and thanks to the photos of the plates on the menu, I felt more confident in what to order. I ordered a plate of vermicelli noodles with grilled pork and egg rolls. While waiting for my food I noticed, as I was looking around the restaurant,  that everyone was enjoying themselves and sounded as if they were having a great time conversing and eating. I was only able to think about food as the aroma of grilled meat and steaming vegetables filled the dining area as other customers received their orders.

When my plate finally arrived I was stunned, the presentation was immaculate and the portions were substantial. Starting with the slices of carrots and cucumber, the vegetables were lively in color and provided a good balance with the pork and noodles. The carrots were crisp and left a hint of sweet flavor in your mouth. As I got to the layer of juicy and tender pork, I decided to stir the plate up in order for all the flavors to be combined. I picked up a forkful of noodles and pork with bits of peanuts in it. The taste of the noodles allowed for the other flavors to blend well  with each other. There was a great balance of the herbal and leafy flavors from the lettuce and cilantro which worked in synergy with the flavors of the pork and peanuts. Even with the incredible dish I was served, I felt it was missing something to make it taste stronger. The plate also came with a cup of fish sauce. Dripping a few hints of fish sauce was what made the plate stand out even more than it already had. Adding fish sauce gave the noodles and vegetables a more savory taste which paired well with the pork and egg rolls.

Leaving Hai Ky proved to be hard, mostly because I was full, but also because I didn’t know if I would get to taste more of their food in the future. However, the worry was not long lasting after I overheard my mom telling my dad that we should come back the next week. I couldn’t agree more. Hai Ky may be a small restaurant, but the food is unforgettable.