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Feb 9, 2013 05:10 PM

Vietnamese recs in SGV?

I'm looking for an alternative to Golden Deli, which I've enjoyed, but I'd like to try someplace different. Not looking for any items in particular, just a solid place with a broad menu like GD.

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      I thought that Newport Seafood was more of a Chinese seafood restaurant with perhaps some influence from southeast Asia. Do they have a Vietnamese menu?

      For great Vietnamese food, it's tough to beat Little Saigon.

      1. re: josephnl

        They are Chinese-Vietnamese, like many places in socal. Their ancestry is Chinese but they passed through vietnam, cambodia, etc, carrying along Chinese culture, language, and cooking techniques, while picking up things from other cultures on their journey here. They are still very chinese in thought though.

        Also, many vietnamese places in oc are run by chinese vietnamese.

        1. re: josephnl

          like blimpbinge said, chinese-vietnamese roots. the menu is in like 4 languages, 1 of which is vietnamese. there's also things like bo luc lac.

          personally, i was at newport the other week and it was just so awful to my family. we can't stomach them anymore. of course, we weren't eating crab or lobster so you can make your own judgement call. place still smells great from the outside though (yummy garlic)

          1. re: catbert

            if you want something similar but low key with no frills service and cheaper overall, i'd recommend kim tar on garvey

            bo luc lac, and house special pork chops or frog legs are pretty good

          2. re: josephnl

            The owners of Newport Seafood SGV are Cambodian Chinese (Chinese descent from Cambodia). There are some SE Asian dishes sprinkled through the menu. There was this lime inflected spicy soup I'd never had there before. Amazing. So nice to find something new at a restaurant you've been eating at consistently.

            Unlike an above poster, our meals in SGV have been nothing short of terrific.

        2. Ron, are you looking for something specific?

          Places like golden deli are nice, but they're jack of all trades, king of none. Generally, vietnamese places are good making either rice dishes, or noodle/soupy dishes. It's difficult to find one that gets high marks for both because there's always another place that can put their rice/noodles to shame just a few blocks away.

          4 Replies
          1. re: blimpbinge

            Thanks for calling out GD for what it is, a cheapened Newport Seafood without the seafood.

            Thien An specializes in bo bay mon and baked catfish and is mostly forgotten by Westside print, but the huge restaurant is typically packed.

            I also really like M Delivery, which does a really peasanty/low-end "com trua" style set lunches. It's home style cooking, and offers what Vietnamese workers would typically eat during lunch off the streets. Again, totally off the radar and a great alternative to the shit pho so commonly served along Valley Blvd.

            1. re: TonyC

              had lunch at M delivery earlier today. apparently there was a new guy cooking, as we were the only patrons there; others came in, discovered that whoever they were expecting to be there wasn't there, and left.

              the prices have been raised to $18 for the 3 dish specials, and i got charged $7 for my bun bo hue (which was IMO indifferent) even though it was listed on the board at $5. rice is also an extra $2.

            2. re: blimpbinge

              Golden Deli has the best chả giò I have ever had. I am curious if either of you have a better recommendation for that.

            3. Vietnam House in San Gabriel for their Seven Course Beef and their whole fried/broiled cat fish, they're part of the same family that owns Golden Deli so their egg rolls and shrimp paste rolls are the same and arguably the best. Their menu is virtually,the same.

              Newport Seafood is a fusion of Vietnamese and Cantonese food. Go for the lobster and my favorite iteration of Kung pao chicken. Highly recommend getting some friends and ordering the lunch special, one of the best values in San Gabriel. Their beef loc lac (filet mignon cubes in a sweet spicy soy glaze) is also delicious.

              In Rosemead, Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa has some great eats, very different than your more standard vietnamese offerings. Stand outs include Banh beo which is like a steamed rice cake you eat with crispy savory condiments.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Xan7hos

                If you have a general knowledge of Vietnamese food, why not try for some specializations?

                Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa in Rosemead is a great choice, but it's a bit different from GD. They specialize in Central Vietnamese food. They don't serve pho or banh mi. I hear their bun bo hue is really good (Hue is a city in Central Vietnam). Of course, order some dishes with nem nuong ( similar to pork sausage without a casing).

                Thien Tam is a small vegetarian restaurant in South El Monte. Unlike many places, the food there is Vietnamese, not Chinese-Vietnamese.

                1. re: raytamsgv

                  I love NNNH. It is nice to have completely different options from the Pho side of things (even though I LOVE Pho)!

              2. Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa has some great items. My favorites are #7 banh beo chen tom chay (you get 9 small bowls of steamed rice cakes topped with dried shrimp), #8 nem nuong cuon voi cha ram tom (fresh spring roll with charbroiled pork, crispy shrimp roll and veggies) and their iced coffee (you are given a glass with the condensed milk at the bottom and the coffee dispenser on top, a glass with ice and a small thermos of water in case you need to dilute it -- this does take a while to drip but it's worth it). Service is great as well.

                Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa (CASH ONLY)
                1700 W Valley Blvd, Ste C
                Alhambra, CA 91803
                (626) 943-7645

                3 Replies
                1. re: condementia

                  What do you all think of New Nuong Ninh Hoa vs. Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa? Are the menus similar?

                    1. re: ronsilverado

                      Haven't tried Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa but the pictures on Yelp are making me want to try them out.

                  1. I think Nha Trang has the best Vietnamese noodles in the SGV. At this point they have 3 locations. The Bun Rieu is the best version I've had in SoCal (including Little Saigon). Bun Bo Hue is very good and the Pho is decent. They have a very small menu. Only a few different items.

                    We've been going since the first one opened on Valley Blvd.

                    For Pho, we often go to Pho Filet. I like the fact that they use proper noodles like you would find in VN. But Golden Deli/Saigon Flavor/Vietnam restaurant always has an advantage since they have the best Egg Rolls. Even better than most places in VN.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: bsquared2

                      i like their stuff as well, but the downside is that they close relatively early.

                      1. re: barryc

                        I think the one on San Gabriel stays open later.

                      2. re: bsquared2

                        They have a decent bbh, that's it.

                        far more interesting VN noodle: bun nuoc leo bac lieu at Phuong An
                        a little more interesting VN noodle soup: bun thang at Pho Ngoon
                        bun cha Ha noi: Pho Ngoon
                        fine pho ga: Pho Hai Phong

                        Nha Trang is "basic" and once a year joint at best.

                        1. re: TonyC

                          at least twice a year as i also like their bun rieu.

                          1. re: TonyC

                            I will have to disagree with you about Nha Trang. It is hard to find good Bun Rieu, which is one of my favorites. If you like Vietnamese food, I think it is one of the better places in the SGV.

                            Haven't been to Pho Ngoon but it looks interesting. I will give it a try.

                            Not familiar with Phuong An, but my wife really likes Bun Nuoc Leo. I googled it, but it didn't come up. What is the address?

                            1. re: bsquared2

                              i wasn't so crazy about pho ngoon, but i admit i'm not all that well versed to catch all the subtleties in northern vietnamese cuisine.

                                1. re: bsquared2

                                  sorry bout that.

                                  per nom's post, I did a typo booboo, it's Phuong Anh, S.El Monte, across from Pho Filet.

                                  just like Pho Ngoon, it has a terse menu, so "you get what you get and you don't get upset".

                                2. re: TonyC

                                  I tried the Bun Thang at Pho Ngoon today. Thought it was good, but not mind-blowing. I'm sure I will be back there to try the Bun Cha Ha Noi since that is one of my favs. Good Egg Rolls. The "Pho Rolls" were pretty blah.

                                  Thanks for the reco. I still think that the Bun Rieu at Nha Trang is one of the best VN noodle dishes in the SGV. But I always like having different options.

                                  1. re: bsquared2

                                    i had the bun rieu today at the MP location. 1/2 hour wait at 1:15pm and they closed early at 3pm

                                    1. re: bsquared2

                                      I tried the Bun Thang at Pho Ngoon today. Thought it was good, but not mind-blowing
                                      That's kinda the expected damning faint praise, as most Southerners will straight dismiss those noodles as "completely bland". We'll take it!

                                      The pho rolls are indeed completely BLAH, as is the bun dau mam tom. Still, the point of the Eater write-up is Ngoon has the chutzpah to represent its unloved regional faves without giving a fuck, and I respect that. Hopefully it won't go the way of the Minh.

                                      My bias against Nha Trang stems from that one time I parked behind the restaurant when they were "apparently" cleaning their grease trap after lunch service. I thought I was going to die.

                                      1. re: bsquared2

                                        Yea the bun thang was just ok.

                                        But like tony said, we'll take it!

                                        There aren't too many places that actually make bun thang unless I wanna call my aunts up to make it haha

                                        1. re: blimpbinge

                                          what do your aunts think of Pho Ngoon? Do they enjoy the pouncing EDM soundtrack? I'm really friggin curious.

                                          1. re: TonyC

                                            I didn't bring my aunts, but brought my Chinese viet Co workers (who are more on the viet side), and they thought the food was a bit bland.

                                            I thought the same on two different visits. It wasn't bad though.

                                            On another note, they have tons of 1 review users rating up their yelp.

                                            1. re: blimpbinge

                                              my understanding is that the northern regional cuisine is supposed to be more subtle & nuanced compared to southern vietnam while central vietnamese is different from both due to the mountainous terrain influencing the available ingredients & spices.

                                              it's such a fine line between subtle, subdued, and bland.