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May 13, 2008 10:28 AM

Canh Chua Tom?

Back east this hot and sour soup with shrimp (or catfish) and pineapple was something I ate weekly if not more often. While I've found a number of great places to enjoy pho and bun I haven't seen this anywhere lately (5 or 6 years ago there was a vietnamese restaurant in Studio City that had it but the restaurant closed within a year of me finding it. When I used to go out to the West Valley, I also found it in Canoga Park/Winnetka but don't go out that way often anymore.) Any place in SGV, Chinatown, Koreatown have this on the menu?Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. Any Vietnamese restaurant that serves com phan (family style dinner) should have that on the menu. In the SGV, I'm guessing Newport Seafood in San Gabriel and Phong Dinh in Rosemead would.

    Newport Seafood House
    835 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

    1. Most places do it with catfish vs shrimp.

      I can rec you a good place in little saigon, but that's a bit far for you.

      Dong Khan
      First/Newhope I believe in Santa Ana

      1. Newport Seafood Restaurant has it on their menu. Phong Dinh does not have it listed as an a la carte item, but it is listed in their fixed-price dinners. I'm sure you can order it individually. Newport Seafood is a mix of Vietnamese and Cantonese, and they accept only cash.

        Here's some more information about both restaurants as well as some personal reviews of them:

        Phong Dinh
        2643 N. San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead

        Newport Seafood Tan Cang Restaurant
        835 W. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel

        3 Replies
          1. re: raytamsgv

            I've not tried it yet, but I noticed Gingergrass in Silverlake has it on the menu - might be a reason for me to finally check the place out. Can anybody tell me if it's any good there? And I'm grateful for these links - but are there any other places? There are so many great pho joints - I can't believe there are only two places - As soon as I try these, I'll let you know my fave!

            1. re: foodhypnosis

              "When in Rome, do as the Romans do"

              If you're looking for authentic Vietnamese, I'd pass on Gingergrass. Silverlake hipsters are more of their clientele. Vietnamese children would be disowned by their parents if they were to take them there.

          2. I love Canh Chua! Typically they use Catfish for this soup. I'm sure you can ask the restaurant to substitute. There are not very many restaurants that make this soup right. I've been to tons of Vietnamese restaurants in SGV and Little Saigon. The absolute best place is in San Gabriel called Tai Sui. This restaurant used to be a hole in the wall on San Gabriel for the longest time. They recently moved into a bigger location 1 block down. The make the best Canh Cua. Another dish great with CAnh Cua is kho ca toh. Catfish carmelized by sweet soy in a clay pot. I always get the two together along with this jumbo marinated prawns. This is easily m y most satisfying meal. Their noodle soups are also fantastic. This restaurant to me is really under rated.

            Tai Sui Restaurant
            3313 San Gabriel Blvd
            Rosemead, CA 91770
            (626) 307-0203

            This was their old address. They just moved down the block around the same location. Let me know if you like it!~

            2 Replies
            1. re: karynx78

              Drove out to Rosemead today to try it and definitely delish! I was alone, and only got the canh chua (small size hot pot MORE than enough - would have been in deep trouble had I ordered more items!) But the menu looks amazing and will be going back soon with others so I can try more than one thing at a time!

              I'd never actually tried Canh Chua Ca (catfish) before, always ordering the canh chua tom. Went for the catfish. When ordering was asked if I wanted vietnamese or thai style and went with vietnamese as I had always been in vietnamese restaurants and figured that was what I had been getting. It was slightly different than what I have had in the past but still very good. Five nice catfish steaks, plenty of pineapple, tomatoes, good sour flavor. The versions I had in the past didn't have okra - which I was happy to find in this - a were spicier, but I enjoyed it a great deal nd will deinitely be back.

              (When I was paying, the waiter asked how it was and if I had ever had it before, and I told him it was great, and I'd had it before with shrimp but it was a little spicier - found out then that I'd probably had thai style before as vietnamese style is mild - thai style spicy. So next time I'll try the Thai style.)

              Now questions for any who might have answers - in NY when I'd order this, it would come with rice noodles not rice, and rather than in a hot pot it just came in one of the big bowls like pho...are these just regional differences? The difference between "thai style" and "vietnamese" style?
              In a similar vein - have always wondered about the slice of pork that is included in summer rolls here in LA - ate summer roll in many restaurants in NY and Boston and they all had the shrimp and noodles and basil and mint...but until I moved to LA never had any with pork. Can't say the pork adds anything to the dish for me.

              Anyway, Tai Sui's new address is 3219 San Gabriel Blvd, for anyone else who decides to try it out. The phone number is the same as above.

              1. re: foodhypnosis

                Traditionally, Canh Cua is always eaten with rice. I think the restaurant you had Canh Cua Tom with noodles was maybe trying to go with a different approach. I notice that Thais usually like to put rice noodles in their soups. So maybe the restaurant was more of a Thai/Vietnamese fusion. Like Thai boat noodles, Tom yum koong with noodles, Yen Foh with noodles, etc. Either way is fine with me. =)

                Another great dish I recommend to try at Tai Sui is the Giant Marinated prawns.. goes great with the Canh Cua. Also their soup noodles are great!

            2. There is also another place in SGV that has a lobster Canh Cua. What my family and I usually do is order a lobster and tell them to use half of it for the Soup and use the other half in their house style stir fry.. it is to die for! I can't decide if I like the soup more or the stir fry... a must try..!