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Where in SF would you bring a visitor from South Vietnam?

We were delighted to host Vinh, from Ho Chi Minh City, for thanksgiving- he's in college in the US but far from any good source of native Vietnamese food. Any recommendations for a touch of home for him?

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  1. Can you bring/send him to San Jose?

    There are several Vietnamese shopping centers in SJ with family run restaurants.

    From 101, Both East and West on Story

    From 101, East on Tully.

    From both Story East and Tully East is White Road, lots of choices down past Capitol.

    From 101, west on Tully (a couple of miles) is Senter, South on Center are 2-3 Vietnamese shopping centers.

    The area reminds me of reality/PBS/travel TV

    Lion on Tully was a pioneer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alan408

      Thanks! We'll see if we can make it down to SJ

    2. Are you sure they wouldn't just prefer burgers and pizza?

      My Vietnamese friends seem pretty easily satisfied with the standard options (Turtle Tower, Tu Lan, Saigon Sandwich). Seeing "Little Saigon" might have some entertainment value. I'm told the food is so much fresher in Vietnam, and the Pho is especially hard to replicate.... but for the most part, we're talking about street foods, and Vietnam has a little more to offer than that.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sugartoof

        Much appreciated- I know just enough to know there's substantial differences in regional cuisine- will try to ferret out which are more northern vs. southern at least

        1. re: SFoodlover

          Turtle Tower is northern. Vietnam House is probably the best authentic southern representation in Little Saigon. My favorite Southern Vietnamese Pho place in SF is Pho Phu Quoc (AKA PPQ) on Irving.

        1. maybe ask him what he would like to see and eat?

          1. If I were to visit South Vietnam, I wouldn't want to eat American food there.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

              Malcolm, if you were 18 and out of your home country for a few months, you might just appreciate a little proustian moment, I'd think...

              1. re: SFoodlover

                You're right. I missed the point about him being here for college so he has all (and more) of the American food he wants.

                1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                  Your point is very well taken, though! When my younger son was on a brief exchange program in Xi'an, China, San Francisco foodie that he is he was very excited about trying the varied foods of the Silk Road that meet China. His host family instead, with the best of intentions, kept feeding him American food- having a relative who cooks at the local Hyatt. Polite person that he is, he didn't show his disappointment- but he would have much preferred the cumin-perfumed lamb skewers of Uighur street food to the lamb chops they made for him (no doubt at considerable expense for them- and again, intent much appreciated).