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Best Vietnamese in Chinatown?

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I'm going to dinner for my birthday this weekend and am trying to keep the price down. I am new to LA (from NY) and would love some suggestions for really good, authentic Vietnamese restaurants in Chinatown. Suggested dishes would be great too. I do *not* want to go to Crustacean, or any trendy fusion place. (I'm a little frustrated with my search - I keep finding only upscale Franco-Vietnamese swanky types of places, but I'm sure good Vietnamese exists here...)

Also, I recently tried the delicious thin pancake that you wrap in a lettuce leaf...I'm afraid I forget the name. It's a little hard to find, so if you know of a place that has that, I'd love the name of the restaurant!

Does Pho 79 serve more than pho, or is that the only real reason to go there?

Thanks in advance. I'm not usually so cranky, I swear.

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    SexLoveRockSushi

    Pho 79 has the best pho I've ever had, and they do serve a lot more than just pho, such as bahn mi, those Vietnamese hoagies served in a crusty French baguette with slices of pork, beef, etc... and veggies. They also serve bun cha,bits of pork marinated in a sweet garlic fish sauce, with ground peanuts and vermicelli noodles that you wrap in lettuce leaves like a taco and dipped in that same garlic fish sauce. And of course they serve wonderful summer rolls wrapped in rice paper filled with shrimp, cured pork, herbs and vermicelli.
    Since you're already willing to drive to Chinatown, you might as well go to the San Gabriel Valley and try a change of pace from the usual Vietnamese pho places, and head over to Phuong. This Vietnamese restaurant specializes in 7 course meat dinners, and the price is right. Different preperation of beef with various herbs and veggies are brought to the table in succession which you roll in rice paper and dip into a pineapple anchovy sauce which is totally delicious. Some of the beef preperations are meatballs, sauteed beef salad, raw beef which you cook in a hot crock pot of vinegar similar to shabu shabu style. The dinner ends with a wonderful ginger and garlic beef soup that's simple yet exquisite. This is definitely a place to go with a several friends for an afforadble, satisfying and fun dining experience.