Traditional favorite of mine can be found at
Hoai Hue, San Diego CA
4660 El Cajon Boulevard, Suite 102, San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 563-5358 www.
One of my favorite Vietnamese dishes is the 'Spicy beef noodle soup' or what we call 'Bun Bo Hue'. It's made with spicy broth base, tender beef slices, served with vermicelli noodles, and topped with scallions and onions. I usually get it homemade from my mom and grandma. I only order it at restaurants when I crave for it. Hoai Hue is pretty famous in San Diego for their spicy beef noodle soup. They opened a new location just in the past year. The original place was a small food to go place and there wasn't enough seating. If you're craving something hot and comforting on a cold day, you should definitely stop by this place and get a bowl of the spicy beef noodle soup. You can actually taste the authentic spices and seasonings in it.
7530 Mesa College Dr, San Diego, CA 92111
So this place serves the 'Spicy beef noodle soup' or what we call 'Bun Bo Hue' as well. The only thing about this place is that it's very small compare to the place listed above; it's definitely one of those 'hole in the wall' places. But my brother prefers it. The meat is really tender and the broth is tasty in their bun bo hue. I also like the 'Banh bot loc' which is a tapioca dumpling stuffed with grilled shrimp and pork, and then topped with scallions. It was easy to bite into and wasn't chewy at all like many places. My brother also liked the 'bun rieu' here which is a tomato base soup with shrimp and vermicelli noodles. On a cold rainy day, it is ideal to find a table here and have some of their traditional Vietnamese noodle soups. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them here. And the prices on their menu are pretty cheap too so you won't break your wallet ;p
I come here just for the 'Banh Bot Loc' and 'Bun Hen'
Da Nang, San Diego CA
4745 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92115
I go here for their 'Banh bot loc' which is a tapioca dumpling stuffed with grilled shrimp and pork, and then topped with scallions. I love it! It's made from tapioca flour that turns clear and sticky when steamed. Usually the dumpling is covered in banana leaf and then steamed; this leaves a very nice aroma to the dumpling. I usually dip it in fish sauce and you can have it as an appetizer or as a full on meal. The tapioca is smooth, sticky, and a little chewy when bitten into which makes it fun to eat. But it all comes together when you bite into the shrimp and pork filling inside. It's a great combination! Another favorite order of mine is their 'Bun Hen'. This is basically a big bowl of vermicelli noodles topped with baby clams tossed in a spicy sauce. It's SOOOO GOOD! Don't tell me I didn't warn you it's spicy ;p
A brand for herbal tea makes good food as well
Luc Dinh Ky, Westminster CA
9600 Bolsa Ave # M, Westminster, CA 92683
"There's a line to this place but there's not a line to the restaurant next door...this place must be good." This is what I had said to my mom one night when we were trying to find a place to eat. We waited approximately 15 minutes prior to seating here. When you're in the Garden Grove area, you will find there are hundreds of Vietnamese restaurants (side to side to each other even). This place sets itself different from the other restaurants because of their menu items. They serve dishes infused with Chinese herbs that you don't find at other restaurants. I tasted their unique herb spice in my duck noodle soup that I had elsewhere before. My mom had ordered their noodles and she thought it was pretty good. They also offer black chicken stews that are usually not found in any Vietnamese restaurant that I've been in; the black chicken suppose to have substantial health benefits. I personally wouldn't order it because I don't think I can eat it. But that's one of their popular items that I've seen ordered here. Instead of water, they serve their own herbal tea drinks with every meal. They actually manufacture up their own tea bottle labels and are available for purchase in grocery stores (so you can get the tea without dining here). And just recently they had open another location a block away from the original location so I suggest going to that location because it seems less pack.
This place has been serving up some authentic dishes
Saigon Restaurant, San Diego CA
4455 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92115-4313
This place has been around since I was a little kid...and it's still standing. Just that alone to me is impressive since a lot of restaurants go out of business these days. I would have to say the food here is real Vietnamese food. The menu not only has your typical rice and pho dishes, it has authentic ones such as the Vietnamese crepe, beef salad (ceviche style), and sugar cane shrimp shown below. *Disclaimer: the salad and crepe pictures don't look pretty because we already started the process of demolishing the food. They also have dishes that I use to get when I was a little kid (that is hard to find now) such as char grilled beef wrapped in grape leaves; I have to order that next time. Although I can easily get some of these dishes at my mom's or my grandma's, the food here is pretty good in quality and price for when I'm not at home. My friend and I went here because we were looking for something to eat and we both enjoyed our dishes. I do have to say the only setback here is the service; the staff is just a little slow with things and that has always been an issue.
Brodard Restaurant, Garden Grove CA
9892 Westminster Avenue # R, Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 530-1744 www.brodard.net
This place is ALWAYS pack! Whether you're waiting to be seated or to order your food to go, you'll find it busy 24/7. They have 2 locations and I prefer going to the original one on Westminster than the Brodard Chateau because it's more casual. They serve up more than just the regular shrimp spring rolls appetizer that you typically see on a Vietnamese restaurant menu, there menu consist of a lot of other traditional favorites from different parts of Vietnam such as their grilled pork paste roll 'Nem Cuon' , grilled shrimp paste roll 'Chao Tom Cuon', and Vietnamese crepe called 'Banh Xeo'. The Banh Xeo is actually made with rice flour, coconut milk, and tumeric powder. It's stuffed with ingredients such as bean sprouts, mung beans, pork, and shrimp. It's one of my faves and at home my mom always make me hungry when she sizzles these crepes up ;) My friend and her husband enjoys ordering the 'Bun Cha Ha Noi' ; originated from the Ha Noi region of Vietnam, this dish is served with Ha Noi style pork patties in a vermicelli noodle bowl with with a lime and chili broth. Aside from the dishes that I have described, I'm sure you'll find something to order to your taste from their HUGE menu ;)
I will drive 80 miles for the lobster at
Tan Cang AKA Newport Restaurant, Santa Ana CA
4411 W 1st St, Santa Ana, CA 92703
(714) 531-5146 www.
This place has been serving up great seafood dishes including lobster for as long as I can remember. My grandpa would just want to come up here and have a lobster lunch with the family and go back home to San Diego. So yes I've had lobster since I was little ;) This place definitely knows what they're doing and that's probably the reason why they've been in business for so long. They serve up fresh seafood including clams, shrimp, elephant clam, crab, and did I mention LOBSTER ;p With all their seafood, they offer a wide selection of cooking styles for you to choose from. My brother's favorite would be the clams in garlic and basil sauce. My personal favorite would be lobster sauteed with scallions and garlic (this is usually listed as the restaurants' special). The aroma and flavor beats the regular boiled lobster anyday. Lobsters are seasonal price; average to be anywhere from $9.99 to $12.99 per lb. You tell them how big of a lobster you want and they'll usually pick one close to the lb and bring it by your table before they cook it. Oh and don't judge me but I like lobster eggs; and usually I request they find a lobster in the tank that has lots of them ;p And just an FYI, entrees served in typical Chinese/Vietnamese restaurants are family style and made for sharing. My family usually orders a 5lb-6lb lobster and that's usually more than enough for 3 people (considering we order other seafood entrees as well). And let me also say they have poultry, meat, and vegetarian items as well. It's not all seafood. But to me, I only go for the seafood ;)
A pho restaurant that opens on Saturdays
Pho Vy, Lacey WA
909 Sleater Kinney Rd SE # 8, Lacey, WA 98503-1103
In the cold city of Lacey (outside of Seattle WA), my friends and I wanted some pho but the place we went to before this place was closed on a Saturday. This was the alternative choice. The bun bo hue was good here and more than half our table had ordered it. I like the fact that they don't put pig feet in it. The meat was very tender and the soup base was seasoned well. Everyone gets their own vegetable plate; no sharing required ;) I have to say this was a good restaurant for some bun bo hue.
Tasty and affordable food in San Jose
3005 Silver Creek Road #190, San Jose, CA 95121
My friends took me here on my last visit to San Jose and the food was pretty tasty. The menu consist of a variety of Vietnamese dishes that originated from the Hue region of Vietnam. I enjoyed my order of the Bun Hen which is baby clams with rice vermicelli noodles. My friend ordered the Com Hen, which is practically the same baby clams I had but just over rice. My other friend had ordered the Bun Rieu which is another one of my favs. This had crab and pork meat mixture, pieces of fried tofu, and vermicelli noodle all in a a tomato base broth soup. We all shared 2 orders of the Banh Beo; these are steamed rice cake/pancake with dry roasted shrimp meat, scallions, and crispy pork rinds on top in small little plates. I think the price on these were 5 for $3.75. Normally, I'm not into this dish but this place made it pretty good; I think it's because they made the rice cake thinner than the ones I've had. Last but not least, we had the order of the Banh Ram It (shown on the right). I never had this before but it was pretty tasty and different for my palate; it had this chewy sticky glutinous rice cake (stuffed with a little bit of seasoned pork) over a rice cake fried golden brown that was crunchy. There was so much going on with this dish!!! I think we ordered more than we were able to handle but I would say the food was reasonably price and pretty well prepared.