A food tour of Little Saigon for first-time visitors

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English

Brodard's famous BBQ spring rolls and secret dipping sauce. (Photo: Ngoc Lan)

The rising food scene in Little Saigon in Orange County, Calif., has attracted the attention of connoisseurs and curiosity of foodies around the world. Even folks who travel to the area from Vietnam ask where to have the best bowl of pho or how to order staples that are not on menus.

Though Vietnamese street food such as pho, banh-mi and goi-cuon has entered the mainstream, the high culture of Vietnamese cuisine is still being kept in secret. Think royal family and how food was prepared for them.

That said, here are a few suggestion for outsiders and food enthusiasts who travel to Little Saigon for the first time.

Brodard Restaurant

With a menu of more than 100 traditional dishes, this place is known for its BBQ spring roll’s secret sauce. Many have tried to replicate the sauce’s recipe, but none have come close to the sauce’s flavorful texture. Don’t order and eat too much at this restaurant, though. Save some room for the tour.

Brodard’s BBQ secret dipping sauce in the making. (Photo: Ngoc Lan)

Pho Kim Quy/Pho Hoa Soan/Pho Tuan Canh

When it comes to pho, everybody has an opinion about it. The truth is, Vietnam has three distinctive regions: North, Central and South. Though pho originated in the North, each region has its own pho flavor and taste. And many of them.

But having a huge choice of pho restaurants might not be a good thing. You just don’t know which to choose. So here are a few that the locals recommend. Kim Quy for the beef pho, Tuan Canh for chicken pho and Hoa Soan for both.

Pho Ga (Chicken Pho) at Pho Tuan Canh. (Photo: Ngoc Lan)

In terms of how to eat pho, forget it. It’s street food; eat it the way you enjoy it the most. But don’t get burned. Taste it first and add whatever condiments you prefer. One way to judge a bowl of pho is by the broth. It must be clear, aromatic, flavorful and rich, and the meat must be tender and crunchy at the same time.

Central Vietnam Cuisine: Quan Hy, Huong Giang, Hue Oi

Vietnamese food with the most detailed attention goes to Central Vietnam. Known for its bun bo hue (spicy beef noodle soup), Hue is one of many cities that represents Central Vietnam. There’s mi quang, banh beo, banh nam, tre, nem, along with a plethora of street food and a variety of savory rice cakes.

Bun Bo Hue. (Photo: Dang Giao)

Dessert and drinks: Che Hien Khanh, Sweet Cup, 7 Leaves, The Loops

Last but not least, Little Saigon gathers the desserts and sweets from all three regions of Vietnam — and beyond. In addition to the traditional Vietnamese desserts such as che or banh ngot, the second generation of Vietnamese Americans have adapted their American sweet teeth to suit Vietnamese flavors. They took ice-cream and put it in a taco shell like the offerings at Sweet Cup, or elevated churros to the next level like those at The Loops. As for drinks, 7 Leaves gives new meaning to boba teas and sweet drinks.

Churros at The Loop. (Photo: Nhat Anh)

 

This is not an extensive list of all the favorite food in Little Saigon.  The food scene is changing continuously with adaptive tastes from the home land of Vietnam and other countries around the world.  So don’t be afraid to explore and be adventurous next time you come to this food haven for Vietnamese diaspora called Little Saigon in Central Orange County, Calif.”

 

Brodard Restaurant
9892 Westminster Ave. #R, Garden Grove, Calif.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Tuesday
Phone: (714) 530-1744
Online: broadard.net

Pho Kim Quy
11035 Warner Ave, Fountain Valley, Calif.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Wednesday
Phone: (714) 775-1699
Online: www.facebook.com/phokimquy/

Pho Hoa Soan
12111 Brookhurst St., Suite D, Garden Grove, Calif.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Wednesday
Phone: (714) 638-4886
Online: http://bit.ly/2vqMidb

Pho Tuan Canh
9735 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, Calif.
Hours: Monday-Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: (714) 622-8922.
Online: http://bit.ly/2istKrF

Quan Hy
9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, Calif.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Phone: (714) 775-7179
Online: https://www.facebook.com/quanhyrestaurant/

Huong Giang
14564 Brookhurst St., Westminster, Calif.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Phone: (714) 531-4930
Online: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Huong-Giang-Restaurant/111615705543957

Hue Oi
16537 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, Calif.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Tuesday
Phone: (714) 531-1305
Online: http://www.hueoivietnamesecuisine.com/

Che Hien Khanh
9784 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, Calif.
Open: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., weekdays; 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturdas and Sunday
Phone: (714) 537-5105
Online: http://chehienkhanh.com/

Sweet Cup
9930 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, Calif.
Open: 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Phone: (714) 300-4607
Online: https://www.facebook.com/sweetcupOC/
$

7 Leaves Cafe
9786 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, Calif.
Open: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
Phone: (714) 590-2790
Online: http://7leavescafe.com/
$

The Loops
9729 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, Calif.
Open: Noon to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; noon to midnight, Friday and Saturday
Phone: (714) 713-8570
Online: http://theloopchurros.com/
$

Key:
$: All menu items less than $10


Báo Người Việt hoan nghênh quý vị độc giả đóng góp và trao đổi ý kiến. Chúng tôi xin quý vị theo một số quy tắc sau đây:

Tôn trọng sự thật.
Tôn trọng các quan điểm bất đồng.
Dùng ngôn ngữ lễ độ, tương kính.
Không cổ võ độc tài phản dân chủ.
Không cổ động bạo lực và óc kỳ thị.
Không vi phạm đời tư, không mạ lỵ cá nhân cũng như tập thể.

Tòa soạn sẽ từ chối đăng tải các ý kiến không theo những quy tắc trên.

Xin quý vị dùng chữ Việt có đánh dấu đầy đủ. Những thư viết không dấu có thể bị từ chối vì dễ gây hiểu lầm cho người đọc. Tòa soạn có thể hiệu đính lời văn nhưng không thay đổi ý kiến của độc giả, và sẽ không đăng các bức thư chỉ lập lại ý kiến đã nhiều người viết. Việc đăng tải các bức thư không có nghĩa báo Người Việt đồng ý với tác giả.

Viet Stories exhibit to close

Titi Mary Tran YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Viet Stories, an exhibit that highlights the accomplishments, hardships and experiences of Vietnamese Americans, will end May 28 and faces an uncertain future. The exhibit, which began Feb. 17, is at the Richard Nixon...

The Quiet Vietnamese Mothers: an untold story

Mothers rarely receive the recognition they deserve. The same for my mother, who grew up with and survived the war in Vietnam.

The path to the perfect wedding dress is filled with sparkles, ‘con artists’ and A-Lines

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English The time for the wedding dress has come. After the reception and ceremony, the wedding dress probably is one of the most difficult items to find and one of the most expensive wedding costs the...

Wedding planning journal first page: Budget and Location

Wedding planning can be very stressful and overwhelming. A journal to planning a wedding in Orange County, California.

Traditional meals for Tet

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English Tet, the Vietnamese celebration of the Lunar New Year, is this weekend - Friday through Sunday.  Relatives from overseas and out of states are arriving to visit loved ones and gather around their "anchored"...

Little Saigon prepares flower market for Tet 2018

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English WESTMINSTER, Calif. (NV) - When the sun sets on Thursday, owners of flower shops and Tet's games and trucks start pouring in Asian Garden Mall, preparing for the opening of Tet's flower market Friday,...

When going to the market is not a chore, but a joy

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English ANTONY, France (NV) - If going to the grocery market is a daily chore, a number of reasons would spring to mind: not enough time, two many options, ingredients are tasteless, generic modified food,...

Dual-language program hailed by parents, community

Don Luong’s son won’t enter kindergarten until the fall of 2019, but he’s already starting to think about his educati

Stephane Gauger, noted Vietnamese American director, die

Stephane Gauger, a Vietnamese American director known for his work in films including “Owls and Sparrows” and “Saigon Electric,” died Wednesday of heart failure. He was 48.

Contest updates:

The drawing and writing contest announcement has been sent to 5 school districts around Little Saigon.