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The Dinkiest (and one of the best) restaurants in SGV

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I'm on a roll this weekend. 3 new places and 3 winners (Spice Table, Komodo and ....). Nha Trang restaurant in Monterey Park. I've added them to my shortlist of Vietnamese restaurants in SGV.

This place sits about 15 people and feels like you are eating in somebody's home with the Aunties making you a bowl of home cooked noodles. To fit their tiny restaurant, they have a tiny menu. My wife asked them why they only had about 10 dishes and they said they only want to make something if it could be the best. I like their thinking.

My wife had the Bun Bo Hue and I think it is one of the best versions in SGV and right up there compared to Little Saigon. I had the My Quang and it was fantastic. Since it was so cheap (our noodles were less than $6 per bowl) we split a fish cake banh mi, which I thought was pretty good. They also had a "Dac Biet" Iced Tea and a variety of smoothies.

No rice cakes, no egg rolls, spring rolls.... Just really fantastic noodles.

The ladies running the place were very sweet. Again, I felt like my wife's Aunties were cooking a home cooked meal. A little bit of a wait since the restaurant was so small, but the service was quick and attentive.

Nha Trang is at 331 E. Valley Blvd. Pretty much across the street from Saigon Flavor

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Saigon Flavor
2515 W Carson St Ste G, Torrance, CA 90503

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  1. Since I love Vietnamese food, and have never had the Bun Bo Hue before, I went to this place yesterday, and back today with 3 friends, one who is of Vietnamese origin.
    Yesterday I had the Bun Bo Hue - it was good, but on the whole, I did not get an overwhelming experience of the lemongrass flavor in the broth, or the spiciness. It did need the limejuice provided to wake up part of the flavor.
    Today I tried the #4 - which said broth with turmeric - and it was also a little below expectations. It had a more seafood flavor probably from the dried shrimp in it. There was not a deep turmeric flavor either.
    Two others had the same #4, while the fourth person had the chicken rice - it looked similar to Hainanese chicken rice.
    Since we were four, I also ordered the fish cake banh mi. It definitely was below expectations - it had fish cake strips and cilantro. No shredded carrots or pickles, no mayonnaise, no dipping sauce.
    Given that the parking in the mall is so difficult, and the place is so small, I think on the whole I will have to pass on this place in the future!

    8 Replies
    1. re: suvro

      Wow, you are a tough customer. I had the My Quang and really liked it. I've had here and Vietnam and thought their version held up. Same with the BBH. The menu is small so you pretty much had 30% of it.

      I've been to VN many times and this place reminded me of home cooked food

      1. re: bsquared2

        The Vietnamese friend (whose father originally is from Hue), and her husband also agreed that the food was not up to their expectations. But the place was full both days, so I guess it is up to individual tastes.

        1. re: suvro

          Of course it doesn't take much to fill this place up ;)

          Thought it was good food and we were out of there for less than $20. The owners were very sweet. I think everybody should give it a try mainly so they can experience some dishes besides Pho. That is why I've always been a big champion of Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa. Because they have some things you can't find often in LA. And to think, Nha Trang is pretty much the only place I HAVEN'T been in Vietnam.

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          Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
          1700 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

          Nha Trang
          311 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

          1. re: bsquared2

            While driving to Nha Trang, I saw another place nearby advertise Bun Bo Hue - was it Pho Ga in the next mall?

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            Pho Ga Restaurant
            741 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

            Nha Trang
            311 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

            1. re: suvro

              Many places offer Bun Bo Hue, but most of them seem to be southern restaurants. There aren't that many Vietnamese restaurants in the SGV that specialize in dishes from central Vietnam.

              1. re: raytamsgv

                Nha Trang is considered central Vietnam? It seems closer to the south, while Hue and Da Nang look more in the center. My knowledge of Vietnam is poor - but I have been watching Luke Nguyen's touring food show.

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                Nha Trang
                311 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                1. re: suvro

                  You'd probably have to ask someone who knows Vietnam better than I do. When I say "central", I am referring to both the North Central Coast and South Central Coast regions. Nha Trang is the capital of the Khánh Hòa province, which is located at the southern end of the South Central Coastal region. Ninh Hòa is also located in the same province (Nem Nuong Ninh Hòa also serves Bún bò Huế).

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_...

                  1. re: raytamsgv

                    Yes, I would consider Nha Trang in the "center" of Vietnam. Remember that Vietnam is a long country with a lot of coast. For the South, that would be Saigon, Mekong Delta, Phan Thiet, etc. Even Phu Quoc, though it is actually closer to Cambodia than Vietnam.

                    There are 3 distinct regions and the food is very different. In the South, Central Vietnamese cooking is highly respected. People love Hue food and dishes like Bun Bo Hue. The same with Nha Trang, especially since seafood is abundant and cheap there.

                    I've always wanted to go there (and Dalat), but something has always come up (this year it was major flooding).

                    Nem Nuong Khah Hoa is one of my favs in SGV. Their name pretty much says it. Grilled Pork from the Khanh Hoa province. That's what I love about Vietnamese restaurants,

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                    Phu Cafe
                    211 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                    Nha Trang
                    311 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776