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Dec 5, 2006 03:50 AM

Vietnamese for non beef eater

I'm craving some good Vietnamese food, but my acquaintance does not eat beef. Does this mean pho places are not a good idea?

I live on the west side and would prefer nothing further than downtown.

Any recs?

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  1. The default meat in most of Vietnamese cuisine is pork, not beef -- pho being an exception. Any pho shop should have pho ga, which is chicken pho -- no beef allowed.

    In addition, pretty much every pho shop I've ever seen has bun (which is rice vermicelli with herbs, lettuce, pickled carrots/daikon, and whatever topping you choose, plus nuoc cham, the sweet fish sauce that's ubiquitous in Viet cuisine) -- you can get bun with grilled pork (bun thit [heo] nuong), grilled shrim (bun tom nuong), "Imperial rolls" (bun cha gio, pronounced "boon cha yaw") and even shrimp-stuffed tofu (bun dau hu don tom chien) -- or any combination.

    Other things are mi (egg noodles), com tam ("broken" rice) with pork, or pork chop, or whatever, stir-fries, etc. etc.

    The best Viet on the Westside is probably Le Saigon, but it's because there's not a lot of Viet on the Westside. I'd venture to Van Nuys, to the corner of Victory and Sepulveda, where Pho So 1 and Pho 999 face each other. Both have extensive non-pho menus. There's also Viet places in Chinatown, which is right next to downtown.

    Koreatown has a lot of pho shops but it's Korean-style pho which isn't as good, in my (not so) humble opinion.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      thanks a bunch. i think we can make it out to the valley...

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        piggyback question: is there good banh mi in Van Nuys? I go to the 99 ranch there occassionally, but Pho So 1 next door says they don't sell sandwiches. TIA.

        1. re: Pei

          There's a place on Reseda and Sherman Way called Ba Le... it's changed names, so it may be something else. I've eaten there, it's no Banh Mi Che Cali, but it's not East-West Sandwich either.

          Hopefully someone has the new 411..

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            When I dine at Pho 999 on the NW corner of Victory and Sepulveda, I almost always get the Bun Cha Ha Noi, which comes with barbecue pork AND a very nicely seasoned grilled pork ball. I highly recommend it to the beef-adverse.

          2. Dearest emosbaugh,

            I encourage you to make a bee line to Michelia on 3rd near Robertson. It's a "fancy" Vietnamese restaurant (price range 8-20) but it's not as americanized as the location would suggest.

            Absolutely order:

            Saigon Rolls
            Seared Steak Salad

            Maybe order:
            Crab Cakes
            Sweet Chilli Chicken

            --And it's not too far from Olympic & Beverly Glenn.