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Is there a great bowl of bánh canh tôm cua in the San Gabriel Valley?

Mr Taster Aug 12, 2012 09:50 AM

We're talking about thick white noodles in a crab meat and shrimp soup.

Absolutely loved the version at Quán Hy in Little Saigon, but was hoping to find a superlative bowl a little closer to home. I don't know of any Central VN restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley other than Kim Hoa Hue which was mentioned in the recent LA Times article. Has anyone been there?


Thanks 'hounds.

Mr Taster

  1. n
    ns1 Aug 13, 2012 11:55 AM

    Thanks for the link on KHH, I'll have to check this place out.


    Have you 'hounds found an adequate replacement for pho minh?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ns1
      TonyC Aug 14, 2012 11:13 AM

      The populace has ensconced themselves in Pho Filet or Pho Huynh. Pho Filet biz has steadily picked up over the last 2 years to the point where their lines are now longer than Huynh's.

      This thread still applies: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/826995

      1. re: TonyC
        ns1 Aug 14, 2012 11:24 AM


    2. TonyC Aug 13, 2012 11:41 AM

      Had quite a bit of the banh / nem / cha and other noodles @ KHH (it's back to being one of my favorite Vietnamese places in SGV now that Tay Do Quan Hy has flipped owners), but have not had the VN "udon" here. Haven't noticed anyone ordering that either. If it's of relevance, bun bo hue here is just fine, mi quang is also merely fine. The bun dishes fair much better.

      The last bowl of bctc I had in SGV was at Quan Mien Trung, and they've since closed. With the death of both Bun Rieu Quang & Quan Mien Trung, your VN noodle soup options other than pho/bun bo Hue is pretty limited.

      5 Replies
      1. re: TonyC
        suvro Jun 12, 2013 04:03 PM

        First trip to Kim Hoa Hue today (partly triggered by our daughter's recent trip to Vietnam, including a stay in Hoi An in central Vietnam).

        I arrived late, so my friend had already ordered the spring rolls, as well as Nem Nuong Cuon. I am not that familiar with Vietnamese names - so I searched for their online menu - and found this URL which has pictures of dishes, some of which we had today: http://www.foodgps.com/kim-hoa-hue-el... Both of these were good.

        Then we ordered the Hue Combo - a good description is in the URL above. I loved the "Banh Bot Loc la" - what the blogger describes as "chewy, glutinous “cakes” that capture shrimp and pork like amber" - which he did not like. The spam-wannabe "Banh Uot cha Lua" was also not great.

        The last dish we had was the udon noodle bowl with a really clean tasting consomme - with a squeeze of lime and the bean sprouts and herbs, it was heavenly. I don't remember the name of this dish, since it was ordered by my friend.

        We did talk about the jackfruit salad, but now that I think about it, we did not order it. Well next time - there will be many next times. It is a great little find, and I will surely take my daughter to this place after she returns home!

        1. re: suvro
          TonyC Jun 13, 2013 09:11 AM

          banh bot loc la is one of my favorite banh snacks, ditto to banh cha lua; they make their own pork loaf there, I like to compare it more to a French headcheese/pate than spam, as no one dies from brain diseases after making it. OTOH, i can't stand banh nam in general.

          for photos of some must-do dishes, check ex-Chower ErikM's photo set from '08: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22982768...

          Little has changed in the menu since then. Their nem chua Hue is some of the best (and most expensive at $1/pc) nem chua in all of SGV, and keeping it in the bamboo leaves, instead of being wrapped in saran wrap, imparts a fragrance not found in other nem chua sold at deli counters (Saigon Baguette, BMTT, BMCC, etc


          I liked the green papaya / jerky salad more so than the jackfruit salad, which seems a bit more mundane. They also have a bun with jackfruit and they bring out a side of stank shrimp paste with it. Also really enjoyed the com hen "rice salad", which is a bit evocative of Jitlada's Songkhla rice salad, and relatively difficult to find in SGV these days. OC's central Vietnamese food wave didn't survive in SGV.

          If forced to choose the current "b"est Vietnamese restaurant in West SGV, w/o a doubt this should everyone's number one over Golden Deli/Vietnam Restaurant//Nha Trang/Nem Nua Ninh Hoa, etc.

          1. re: TonyC
            ns1 Jun 13, 2013 10:33 AM

            bold words, i'm there.

            "If forced to choose the current "b"est Vietnamese restaurant in West SGV, w/o a doubt this should everyone's number one over Golden Deli/Vietnam Restaurant//Nha Trang/Nem Nua Ninh Hoa, etc."

            1. re: TonyC
              suvro Jul 23, 2013 02:22 PM

              Went back to Kim Hoa Hue for the second time, this time with my daughter who has recently returned from a trek through southeast Asia. She had some of her best meals in central Vietnam, so this was the incentive.
              We tried sour sausage with pig ear and sesame - Tre - http://www.flickr.com/photos/22982768...
              I liked the slightly sour flavor and the chewy texture. It reminded me of the sour sausage we had at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas, which was a lot more funkier in flavor.

              We had the jackfruit salad with shrimp - this was outstanding. In my native West Bengal cuisine (eastern India) we use raw jackfruit in several different ways in vegetarian dishes. One nickname for jackfruit is (translated) "tree goat" - meaning that it can taste almost like goat meat when cooked as if cooking goat meat. But this jackfruit salad was very unique in flavor and textural components.

              We had Bun Bo Hue (vermicelli soup with beef - but asked not to have the pig blood and feet at my daughter's request) - the soup tasted as clean as on my first visit. If it had not been so far from Caltech, this might have been my goto single person lunch!

              We also had the Hue Combo, but this time it did not impress as much as on my first visit. Perhaps it was due to the overload on taste buds from the other items. My daughter also felt it was not the best dish. I still loved chewy glutinous cakes. But the others seemed a little less impressive - and by this time, we were quite satiated - it was too much food for just two of us!

              It was a great value for $20, and I was glad to see the restaurant was almost full - on a Tuesday for lunch.

              1. re: suvro
                TonyC Jul 23, 2013 03:39 PM

                Awesome. This is one of the true "cheap eats" places that 'hounds keep forgeting. As much as I dig joints ilke Chengdu Taste and Shen Yang opening left and right, when my wanderlust gets the best of me, I hit kim hoa Hue and just over order everything.

                Their banh beo was listed as (3) "b"est banh beo in LA. That title is absolutely meaningless, but I'm glad it's being covered in LA Weekly's best-of list 2013: http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

                I forgot who was looking for banh uot? Ba Le Alhambra sells little ready to go packets for ~$4 and they looked half decent

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