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Best Banh Cuon?

Pei Apr 9, 2007 11:23 AM

I'm looking for bahn cuon (banh?), a Vietnamese dish that is a little more exotic than the usual pho, sandwiches, and rice plates.

It's a thin transluscent rice flower cake filled with pork, mushrooms, a few other things, and dipped in fish sauce.

A photo of a homemade version is here: http://www.chezpei.com/uploaded_image...

I would be most interested in staying in SGV, but I'll get down to Westminster if I must to satisfy this craving!

  1. kingkong5 Apr 9, 2007 11:36 AM

    There are two different ways to get banh cuon in Westminster. You can go to a restaurant that specializes in serving it as a dish (such as Banh Cuon Tay Ho, one of the better places to get it). But if you're going to travel with it, bring it home, or buy in bulk for a party, you want to go to a place that can serve it to you in bulk.

    For parties and such, I've had great experience with the Thanh Son Tofu shop located on Westminster Ave between Brookhurst and Bushard. They make it fresh and sell it for $2/pound, and pack it into styrofoam boxes for you to take to go. It also comes with the nuoc mam cham sauce in containers.

    You can also buy freshly made pork sausage rolls (yummy steamed pork sausage, wrapped in banana leaves) at the counter, and they sell fresh fried tofu in varoius flavors (plain, extra puffy, green onion/mushroom, lemongrass/chili pepper). If you like the fried shallots that go with the banh cuon, you can buy extra fried shallots in little containers there too.

    Makes for a great, filling meal for parties, or when you want to eat it at home. We like to take a box of the banh cuon, break out a pair of scissors, cut it up into bite sized pieces. Slice the pork sausage. Steam some bean sprouts, and cut up various herbs and mints/produce - like thai basil, mint, cilantro, lettuce, add cut up fried tofu, extra fried shallots, and pour the sauce on top.

    THANH SON TOFU
    Phone: 714-534-2100
    9688 Westminster Ave.
    Garden Grove, CA 92844

    9 Replies
    1. re: kingkong5
      Pei Apr 9, 2007 11:48 AM

      Thank you! Both options sound divine.

      1. re: kingkong5
        t
        Tkn Apr 9, 2007 01:13 PM

        kingkong5, you must be my doppleganger! We're the same age, left the country at the same time, and we like all the same Viet restaurants in Little Saigon!

        Pei, I have a sister-in-law who can't stop raving about a place called Banh Cuon Hong Mai. I've been only once years ago, but it might be worth trying. Also, there is a branch of Banh Cuon Tay Ho in your neck of the woods on Valley Blvd., East of San Gabriel if you don't want to make the trek down to OC. Be advised though, the house special banh cuon comes with more items than what is in your linked picture.

        1. re: Tkn
          Pei Apr 9, 2007 02:10 PM

          I sure hope it does! That photo was my best effort, which falls way short of greatness!

          Thanks for the Valley branch--will go Saturday!

          1. re: Pei
            eatdrinknbmerry Apr 9, 2007 04:17 PM

            Pei, don't mean to be a spoiler. I have tried Tay Ho...it's good but I heard Bolsa is better of course. Can't wait to see your report.

            1. re: Pei
              t
              Tkn Apr 10, 2007 09:34 AM

              Be careful with the sauce. It comes in a big pitcher but is very potent and will stink up anything it touches. This is one restaurant (any restaurant that specializes in this dish) that you should NOT put your elbows on the table.

              1. re: Tkn
                eatdrinknbmerry Apr 10, 2007 11:01 AM

                TKN, i know the 40 oz of Nuoc Cham. http://bp0.blogger.com/_JyI4qhRxqKs/R...

            2. re: Tkn
              r
              revets2 Apr 10, 2007 03:11 AM

              we love BANH CUON in the shopping mall. we've been going for over 10 years! you can't see it from the street. it's also next door to LU DIN GEE, so we'll also get a fix of peking duck and unagi with amazing sticky rice.

              it's always busy. i think it's 1039 e valley between san gabriel and walnut grove in the shopping mall across from 888.

            3. re: kingkong5
              eatdrinknbmerry Apr 9, 2007 04:15 PM

              Is it Thai Son or Thanh Son? i've been to one that's $3 for 2 lb. great stuff.

              1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
                groover808 Apr 10, 2007 06:48 AM

                I've had the plain (they also make the filled with meat variety) banh cuon sheets at Thai Son. They are in the ABC shopping center on Magnolia and Bolsa with a yellow storefront. I'll have to check out kingkong5's suggestion of Thanh Son on Westminster.

                Thai Son
                8922 Bolsa Ave
                Westminster, CA 92683

                For the filled rolls at a specialty restaurant, I concur that Banh Cuon Tay Ho is the place to go. Get the combo with the shrimp and sweet potato tempura....yummmm!

            4. b
              bulavinaka Apr 10, 2007 12:22 AM

              We enjoyed a megaplate of these at Hong Mai in Santa Ana after cruising the Tet Festival a couple of monthes ago. A new experience to us as well, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it, and how much food they pile on their plates. They also have tons of beverages that are unique to Viet Nam/SE Asia cuisine. Nothing fancy, but the food is what this place is all about - aside from some side dishes, banh cuon is all they do...

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/371587

              Hong Mai Banh Cuon
              5425 W. First St., #D
              Santa Ana, CA 92703
              714-554-9190
              open 8-8, closed Thursdays, cash only, and hardly a lick of English

              1. a
                alexenderaa Apr 10, 2007 12:26 AM

                It seems like Bona in Stadium Village serves pho to the specifications you quoted. Their "A" contains the "light-cooked" thin-sliced beef, brisket, tripe, and tendon. It is served with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime, sliced Jalapeno peppers, and the two sauces (sriracha, hoisin). Their broth is sometimes good, sometimes not as good. I don't have much basis for comparison. In any case, I eat there pretty often.
                For more on the delicious story you shall visit me at: http://www.webdesigningcompany.net. I don't think fish sauce is intended to be always added at the table; it is already in the broth. Like soy sauce, salt, and pepper, though, it is just available for whatever reason should you want it. I don't think lettuce is necessarily typical with pho.

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