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Vietnamese - Little Saigon recs needed?

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  • Lau Jun 23, 2008 08:53 AM
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So I'm coming home in a week or so and Vietnamese is among the other types of food I'm planning on getting. I've eaten in Little Saigon a decent amt in the past, but I'm dated on what's good and I'm not a viet food expert. My gf is fairly unfamiliar with viet food and I wanted to show her how good it can be as she hasn't liked it all that much, but alot of that is b/c viet food in NY is generally bad. Don't need Bahn Mi or Pho recs as I've got those down.

I always love specialists restaurants that make something really good, but anything will do, just want the best viet food.

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  1. Well, for a date place, how about Xanh on Brookhurst and Edinger? Or Quan Minh Ky, on Bolsa? Perhaps Vien Dong, on Brookhurst and 11th?

    10 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      doesnt need to be a date place, this is straight up eating session

      what do those places specialize in? i know ure very familiar with little saigon

      1. re: Lau

        Xanh is family-style meals and is expensive by LS standards (not that this means expensive by any means) but is nice and great food and friendly service. Quan Minh Ky has lots of grilled meats that are good. Vien Dong specialises in bun cha Ha Noi ("deconstructed" bun bowls) and cha ca Thanh Long (turmeric-and-dillweed catfish).

        Pagolac is a good place for bo bay mon (7 courses of beef); Com Tam Thuan Kieu is a good place for broken rice plates; Kang Lac Bakery for good pastry and chao (rice porridge); Mi La Cay for mi (egg noodle soup); Newport Seafood for house lobster (caution: they have HUGE lobsters -- $11 a pound sounds low but when the smallest lobster they have can be 3-4 lbs.... just be aware). Boiling Crab for Cajun-Viet seafood in a very, um, youthful environment.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          hmmm damn these all sound good....that cha ca thanh long sounds awesome, ive seen pics of it before and always wanted to try it and ive always wanted to try that lobster at newport seafood as i heard its good

          any specific dishes u like at xanh? which one of these would u choose if u only had one meal? im really trying to show my gf that viet food is awesome (she's korean and has super korean taste and im trying to expand that)

          1. re: Lau

            I would go for either Xanh or Vien Dong. At Xanh, there's a dish called ca kho to -- it's fish in "burnt caramel" sauce which is a lot better than it sounds. Also excellent is the pan-fried fish, the banana blossom salad (chef Nguyen does a fantastic job leaching out the bitterness), the chicken dishes, any of the desserts...

            At Vien Dong, get the cha ca Thanh Long, bun cha Ha Noi and cha gio (egg rolls).

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              awesome, thx for the recs...definitely going to hit one of those...let u know how it goes

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                so i hit up vien dong with my gf

                cha ca thanh long - thought it was very tasty, the fish was nice and tender, not fishy at all...onions, dill etc go well with it (although u really need to like dill b/c there is a ton of it) and those crackers go well with the shrimp sauce stuff (that stuff is strong though)
                cha gio - i absolutely loved these, i havent had really good cha gio in a very long time and i almost forgot what they should taste like. they were not greasy at all, the skins were so nice and crispy and the filling was delicious (they're pretty big too)
                bun cha - this was good, but not great, i was a little disappointed as I was looking for some great bun cha and ive had better than this, i though the meat was just okay

                overall i really liked this place, thx for the recs, didn't fully convince my gf yet b/c i didnt realize she doesnt really like dill and she didnt like the bun cha...ill convince her viet food is great one day haha.

                Btw, if you're over here you should really hit kayano farms just down the street...they have the best strawberries and corn ever...didnt realize this place was so close to there

                1. re: Lau

                  I like the Bun Cha Ha Noi at Quan Hop. They really get the right funkiness to the pork and the sauce. Vien Dong is decent and I even think Brodard is decent because they give you all the ingredients on a dish shaped like a boat (!).

                  But the best I've had in Little Saigon is Quan Hop. I also think their Banh Beo and Pho is the best in Little Saigon. A little pricier, but they use filet in their Pho.

                  -----
                  Vien Dong
                  14271 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA 92843

                  Brodard Restaurant
                  9892 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

                  Quan Hop Restaurant
                  15640 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

                  Ha Noi
                  9028 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

                  1. re: bsquared2

                    i've heard quan hop is good and i've driven past it a million times, so its definitely on my list

                    1. re: Lau

                      Some people get down on it since it is a little more "upscale". The prices are a couple of bucks more than others, but the quality of the ingredients is worth it.

                      We don't get down there as often as we used to, so Quan Hop is often our 'go-to' place since it is always good. They also have their sister restaurant Quan Hy that specializes in Central VN cooking. I like that place too because I LOVE central VN food and they are next door to the KING OF BEEF JERKY!. I also love food from the North, but don't tell my wife that (she's from Saigon).

                      -----
                      Quan Hop Restaurant
                      15640 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

                      Quan Hy Restaurant
                      9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

            2. re: Das Ubergeek

              so i finally went to Xanh, loved it...here's my post:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/712316

        2. I'd suggest Brodard for their spring rolls with crunchy bits of deep fried rice paper tucked inside.

          For mon(?), soupless rice noodles, there's a place by the Thanh Son tofu store on Bolsa that serves the best egg rolls outside of my mom's kitchen. Sorry I can't remember the name right now.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lemon seeds

            yeah i did think about brodard as i have liked that place in the past

          2. I'd say take her to a bo 7 mon place.

            1. I'm a big fan of Favori in Santa Ana for the whole baked catfish. It's the best version of that dish I'd had so far. I love that the skin is crackly like Peking Duck.

              Also, might be worth it to hit up Boiling Crab since the whole Viet/Cajun crawfish boil concept has been one of the new hot trends the last year or so in So Cal ethnic dining.

              1 Reply
              1. re: huaqiao

                You should try Thien An on Bolsa as well for baked catfish. I thought their version was better than Favori.

              2. I suggest Quan Hy for central Vietnamese food. Definitely different from the usual pho and quite unique.

                I love the banh beo here. These little rice crepes come in individual small plates and are topped with shrimp bits that you eat with the delicious nouc cham (fish based sauce).

                I also like the bun bo hue. Bun bo hue has a nice depth of flavor and I like the citrus woody flavor the lemongrass imparts. It is not that easy to get anything close to what is in Vietnam but this place comes pretty close to me.

                -----
                Quan Hy Restaurant
                9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683