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Vietnamese food in SanDiego

TT2 Jul 20, 2009 01:54 PM

I'll be at Comic Con this week and was hoping there would be a good Vietnamese restaurant in the area near the convention center or at least an easy commute from there. Any suggestions?

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  1. Josh RE: TT2 Jul 20, 2009 04:31 PM

    You're pretty much SOL, sorry. If you have a car, there are places you could drive that are about 20 minutes out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Josh
      RB Hound RE: Josh Jul 20, 2009 11:35 PM

      Depending on what TT is used to, that commute from downtown to Kearny Mesa might be well within the bounds of what they are willing to do.

    2. s
      stevewag23 RE: TT2 Jul 20, 2009 07:40 PM

      Unfortunately, Josh is right.

      Want a quesedilla con guac?

      1. Josh RE: TT2 Jul 21, 2009 09:54 AM

        I just realized there is one option not too far from downtown. If you're willing to drive up into Hillcrest, Saigon on 5th is pretty good. They're more expensive than most, they're aiming for a somewhat upscale Vietnamese experience, but the flavors are good.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Josh
          KirkK RE: Josh Jul 21, 2009 10:30 PM

          Like RB Hound, I think it depends on what the initial poster is used to, and what they are looking for. Is it Americanized-watered down and safe Vietnamese? Or stuff like Cha Ca Thang Long, Bun Mam, Bun Mang Vit, Bun Bo Hue.........

          1. re: KirkK
            Josh RE: KirkK Jul 22, 2009 08:49 AM

            Unfortunately, I don't know how to answer that. The menu seems to be emphasizing fancier dishes that I haven't always seen in restaurants. It seems to be aiming at a more upscale diner. The pho I had there didn't taste Americanized, but then maybe they select only dishes from the Viet repertoire that they know will appeal to Westerners. It wouldn't surprise me.

            I only mention it because the OP may not want to go that far from downtown. I am pretty sure even pedicabs will take people up from Downtown into Hillcrest.

          2. re: Josh
            Alice Q RE: Josh Jul 21, 2009 11:18 PM

            Dao Son and Saigon also aren't TOO far from there - Dao Son is on El Cajon Blvd, just East of Park Blvd - and Saigon is in City Heights - about a 15 minute drive from downtown. Dao Son has kind of a hybrid menu, but really good vietnamese summer rolls and spring rolls - and some good noodle dishes. No Pho or anything like that though. Saigon has it all - a little cheaper than the one on 5th, but maybe not enough to make up for the drive.

          3. t
            TT2 RE: TT2 Jul 22, 2009 09:50 AM

            Hi Guys,

            Thanks for the replies. I do not want the watered down Americanized stuff. Need authentic. I'm used to the real thing here in Philly. So if you have any more suggestions. Has anyone been to Pho Lucky. I've read it's good, but seems a bit far. Not sure if my companions are willing to trek it.

            6 Replies
            1. re: TT2
              Cathy RE: TT2 Jul 22, 2009 09:55 AM

              I think the pho at Lucky is the best. It is a drive that will take longer going North during rush hour.

              It is "far" from downtown, but kind of in the 'center' of San Diego. Where are you staying-and will you have a car?

              1. re: TT2
                Josh RE: TT2 Jul 22, 2009 11:55 AM

                Lucky's pho is my favorite, but that's a serious drive. Wrong time of day and you'll be seeing 40 minutes. And honestly, if you have great Vietnamese in Philly, I don't think you'll find anything at Lucky Pho that will blow your mind.

                You may want to instead check out this real hole-in-the-wall near Mesa College called Mien Trung. It's central Vietnamese food from Hue, and they have items I haven't seen at other places in San Diego.

                I went w/ local food blogger Kirk K, (google "mmm-yoso") and he turned me on to some amazing stuff there. Their Bun Bo Hue was the best I've tasted in San Diego, and they also had these amazing glutinous rice flour pouches stuffed with pork, shrimp, and peppercorns, then wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. They were akin to miniature tamales, and really delicious.

                1. re: Josh
                  pickypicky RE: Josh Jul 22, 2009 12:17 PM

                  Grateful for this reco, Josh! I don't know much about Vietnamese food but love what I'd had in my life. (particularly cold noodles and I don't know what they're called.) Look forward to trying Mien Trung. . .

                  1. re: pickypicky
                    Cathy RE: pickypicky Jul 22, 2009 02:42 PM

                    It is small- 8 tables, no a/c. You can park in the K Sandwich parking lot and walk over.

                    The menu is small- 26 or 28 items.

                    The cold noodles are called Bun (pronounced: boon) with various toppings. I like the grilled pork and cha ngo(fried spring rolls).

                  2. re: Josh
                    DougOLis RE: Josh Jul 22, 2009 02:54 PM

                    Didn't know about Mien Trung and I'm going to have to check it out. When ever I try to order Bun Bo Hue I seem to get the white boy treatment and it winds up being slightly disappointing.

                    1. re: DougOLis
                      Josh RE: DougOLis Jul 22, 2009 02:56 PM

                      I've always found it to be a disappointing dish, until this one. The shredded banana blossom was a delicious addition.

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