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Jul 26 2009

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Exploring Little Saigon for the Best Vietnamese Food

Published by at 10:22 pm under Eating Out,Friends

As a Featured Publisher for Foodbuzz, we were eligible to submit a proposal of a unique meal that we will capture and post to share with the world. Foodbuzz then selects 24 entries and provide the winners with $250 to help make the proposal happen. All 24 dinner entries will be held on the same day, thus the term: 24 (meals), 24 (hours), 24 (posts).

We were delighted when we were chosen for this month’s Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event! Our proposal was to spend an entire day in Little Saigon and try all of the popular Vietnamese dishes at different restaurants. Little Saigon is the largest Vietnamese community in the world (other than Vietnam, of course) that is situated in bordering cities of Westminster and Garden Grove, in Southern California. We were able to invite a few non-Vietnamese friends on our journey so they can experience the different Vietnamese cuisines. We captured photos of all the meals we had, as well as provided the information of the restaurant so that our readers will know where to go if they want to experience something different.

We had a great time sharing Vietnamese food in Little Saigon, even though we were all stuffed beyond imagination. Thank you, Foodbuzz, for sponsoring our event!

Brodard Restaurant has become a favorite eatery in Little Saigon, serving a wide variety of mainstream Vietnamese food. Without a doubt, their specialty is the Pork Spring Rolls (Nem Nuong Cuon), which is grilled pork paste wrapped in rice paper with lettuce, cucumber, carrots, daikon, mint, and served with house special sauce. Also shown here is the Shrimp Spring Roll, which is the same except it's grilled shrimp paste. We would have to say this is definitely a crowd pleaser!

Brodard Restaurant has become a favorite eatery in Little Saigon, serving a wide variety of mainstream Vietnamese food. Without a doubt, their specialty is the Pork Spring Rolls (Nem Nuong Cuon), which is grilled pork paste wrapped in rice paper with lettuce, cucumber, carrots, daikon, mint, and served with house special sauce. Also shown here is the Shrimp Spring Roll, which is the same except it's grilled shrimp paste. We would have to say this is definitely a crowd pleaser!

Quan Hy is a Central Vietnamese Restaurant that caters to a younger, hipper crowd. The ambiance is modern with nice bamboo decor. We chose to go here because we love this appetizer: Banh Beo, which is steamed rice-cakes with shredded shrimp and fried carmelized onions. The middle of this presentation is the fish sauce which can be drizzled on top before eating. Our friends loved it, so we would definitely recommend trying this!

Quan Hy is a Central Vietnamese Restaurant that caters to a younger, hipper crowd. The ambiance is modern with nice bamboo decor. We chose to go here because we love this appetizer: Banh Beo, which is steamed rice-cakes with shredded shrimp and fried caramelized onions. The middle of this presentation is the fish sauce which can be drizzled on top before eating. Our friends loved it, so we would definitely recommend trying this!

This next dish is considered the national dish of Vietnam, which originated from North Vietnam. Pho, which is a beef noodle soup, is the most well-known Vietnamese dish because of it's overwhelming popularity in the western hemisphere. Pho restaurants are everywhere in Little Saigon, so it was actually hard to choose which restaurant to go to. Alas, we chose to dine at Pho 79, which is located inside the Asian Garden Mall (Phuoc Loc Tho). It is, hands-down, a favorite comfort food within our community.

This next dish is considered the national dish of Vietnam, which originated from North Vietnam. Pho, which is a beef noodle soup, is the most well-known Vietnamese dish because of it's overwhelming popularity in the western hemisphere. Pho restaurants are everywhere in Little Saigon, so it was actually hard to choose which restaurant to go to. Alas, we chose to dine at Pho 79, which is located inside the Asian Garden Mall (Phuoc Loc Tho). It is, hands-down, a favorite comfort food within our community.

Favori Restaurant is located on the outskirts of Little Saigon in Santa Ana. It specializes in French & Vietnamese cuisines. For those unaware, Vietnam was colonized by the French in the 19th Century, so a lot of what we eat today was influenced by the French. This dish shown here is known as Bo Luc Lac, which translates to Shaking Beef. It is wok-fried cubed filet mignon with rice. Favori does not specialize in this dish, but we wanted to get something that was French-inspired. You may want to try the Baked Catfish which is Favori's specialty.

Favori Restaurant is located on the outskirts of Little Saigon in Santa Ana. It specializes in French & Vietnamese cuisines. For those unaware, Vietnam was colonized by the French in the 19th Century, so a lot of what we eat today was influenced by the French. This dish shown here is known as Bo Luc Lac, which translates to Shaking Beef. It is wok-fried cubed filet mignon with rice. Favori does not specialize in this dish, but we wanted to get something that was French-inspired. You may want to try the Baked Catfish which is Favori's specialty.

The biggest staple in Vietnamese food has to be rice - and they surely know how to eat it in many many ways. Here, we present another classic dish: Banh Cuon which is best known at Banh Cuon Tay Ho Restaurant. It is a small hole-in-the-wall that sure knows how to please its customers. There are so many layers of goodness: Rice flour sheet roll with ground pork, shrimp tempura, bean sprouts, and sliced pork sausage. When you're sick of eating rice or vermicelli, try this one out!

The biggest staple in Vietnamese food has to be rice - and they surely know how to eat it in many many ways. Here, we present another classic dish: Banh Cuon which is best known at Banh Cuon Tay Ho Restaurant. It is a small hole-in-the-wall that sure knows how to please its customers. There are so many layers of goodness: Rice flour sheet roll with ground pork, shrimp tempura, bean sprouts, fresh herbs, and sliced pork sausage. When you're sick of eating rice or vermicelli, try this one out!

One of the most famous dishes that originated from Central Vietnam is this here: Bun Bo Hue. It's a soup dish that combines spicy beef and pork with vermicelli, herbs, and thinly sliced banana blossoms. The broth is completely different from Pho because of the large variety of different spices which includes lemon grass and chili. We shared this bowl at Huong Giang Restaurant which is known for their Central Vietnamese cuisines.

One of the most famous dishes that originated from Central Vietnam is the Bun Bo Hue. It's a soup dish that combines spicy beef and pork with vermicelli, herbs, and thinly sliced banana blossoms. The broth is completely different from Pho because of the large variety of different spices which includes lemon grass and chili. We shared this bowl at Huong Giang Restaurant which is known for their Central Vietnamese cuisines.

Perhaps com tam, also known as broken rice, is one of the more popular rice dishes in the Vietnamese community. In fact, in almost all of the Vietnamese restaurants, this broken rice dish will most likely be on the menu. It's just one of those classic dishes that many restaurants are able to offer. Shown here is the Com Tam Tau Hy Ky, Tom, Suon, Bi, Cha which translates to broken rice with shrimp cake, grilled shrimp, BBQ pork chops, shredded pork skin, and the steamed pork and egg custard. Yeah, it's a mouthful! My friend recommended the restaurant we went to which is Com Tam Tran Qui Cap, in the heart of Little Saigon. It's definitely a meal that will not leave you hungry!

Perhaps com tam, also known as broken rice, is one of the more popular rice dishes in the Vietnamese community. In fact, in almost all of the Vietnamese restaurants, this broken rice dish will most likely be on the menu. It's just one of those classic dishes that many restaurants are able to offer. Shown here is the Com Tam Tau Hu Ky, Tom, Suon, Bi, Cha which translates to broken rice with shrimp cake, grilled shrimp, BBQ pork chops, shredded pork skin, and steamed pork and egg custard. Yeah, it's a mouthful! My friend Sarah recommended the restaurant we went to which is Com Tam Tran Qui Cap, in the heart of Little Saigon. It's definitely a meal that will not leave you hungry!

Another popular Northern Vietnamese dish would have to be Bun Cha Ha Noi. This dish here is probably one of my favorites because the flavors of the barbecued pork patty is delicious, and not to mention a ton of fresh herbs and pickled vegetables to go along with it. We chose to eat this at Ha Noi Restaurant, which obviously specializes in this dish amongst other northern Vietnamese cuisines.

Another popular Northern Vietnamese dish would have to be Bun Cha Ha Noi. This dish here is probably one of my favorites because the flavors of the barbecued pork patty is delicious, which balances well with the vermicelli, fresh herbs, and pickled daikon. We chose to eat this at Ha Noi Restaurant, which obviously specializes in this dish among other northern Vietnamese cuisines.

Banh xeo is a Vietnamese-style crepe (or pancake) that is stuffed with pork, shrimp, and a ton of bean sprouts. The banh xeo from Southern Vietnam is normally the size of a large plate and yellow in color (as shown). It's eaten with a lot of fresh herbs and dipped into a sweet and sour fish sauce. My mom loves making these - I would even have to say it's her specialty! We actually ate this at Van Restaurant, which is known for making the banh xeo (next time, I'll just go to my mom's kitchen).

Banh xeo is a Vietnamese-style crepe (or pancake) that is stuffed with pork, shrimp, and a ton of bean sprouts. The banh xeo from Southern Vietnam is normally the size of a large plate and yellow in color (as shown). It's eaten with a lot of fresh herbs and dipped into a sweet and sour fish sauce. My mom loves making these - I would even have to say it's her specialty! We actually ate this at Van Restaurant, which is known for making the banh xeo.

I would'nt say that I'm a fan of Hu Tieu, which is the large noodle soup with shrimp, liver, chicken, duck, and meatballs. The broth is not as flavorful as Pho, as most of the flavor comes from the various meats in the soup. We got to try this at Trieu Chau Restaurant and let's just say the restaurant could be cleaner and better organized. Yet, people still cram here to eat this classic dish despite the chaotic mess of a restaurant that this is. I chose to feature this here only for the sake of the popularity of this cuisine.

I would'nt say that I'm a fan of Hu Tieu, which is the large noodle soup with shrimp, liver, chicken, duck, and meatballs. The broth is not as flavorful as Pho, as most of the flavor comes from the various meats in the soup. We got to try this at Trieu Chau and let's just say the restaurant could be cleaner and better organized. Yet, people still cram here to eat this classic dish despite the chaotic mess of a restaurant that this is. I chose to feature this here only for the sake of the popularity of this cuisine.

Another popular eatery is Song Long, which serves a variety of French and Vietnamese dishes. The menu has an entire section of French food - in French! We got the House special fried rice with roasted chicken, which is also known as Com Bat Buu Ga Quay. We enjoyed this along with the french bread and butter that comes out as an appetizer, and not to mention French music in the background. It's a cute restaurant filled with artsy decor.

Another popular eatery is Song Long, which serves a variety of French and Vietnamese dishes. The menu has an entire section of French food - in French! We got the Roasted Chicken with House Special Fried Rice topped with an egg, which is also known as Com Bat Buu Ga Quay. We enjoyed this along with the french bread and butter that came out as an appetizer, as well as the French music in the background. It's a cute restaurant filled with artsy decor.

This is another dry vermicelli dish that is topped with a ton of meat, including egg rolls! It's best known as Bun Cha Gio, but we got the "special" version that comes with everything. Our first picture featured the pork spring rolls from Brodard Restaurant, and this dish shown here was devoured at Brodard Chateau - which is the fancier 2-story restaurant that caters to a more mixed crowd. The dishes are fancied up and a bit more expensive, but the ambiance may be worth it! We shared the Brodard Chateau Vermicelli, which includes charbroiled shrimp, BBQ pork, chicken, sugarcane shrimp paste, and egg roll over vermicelli served with herbs and limed-fish sauce. Again, this is the fancier version of Bun Cha Gio, which can be ordered at any other Vietnamese restaurant for half the price. If you're looking for a nice place for a date, business dinner, or birthday party, this may be the best Vietnamese restaurant for it!

This is another dry vermicelli dish that is topped with a ton of meat, including egg rolls! It's best known as Bun Cha Gio, but we got the "special" version that comes with everything. Our first picture featured the pork spring rolls from Brodard Restaurant, and this dish shown here was devoured at Brodard Chateau - which is the fancier 2-story restaurant that caters to a more mixed crowd. The dishes are fancied up and a bit more expensive, but the ambiance may be worth it! We shared the Brodard Chateau Vermicelli, which includes charbroiled shrimp, BBQ pork, chicken, sugarcane shrimp paste, and egg roll over vermicelli served with herbs and limed-fish sauce. Again, this is the fancier version of Bun Cha Gio, which can be ordered at any other Vietnamese restaurant for half the price. If you're looking for a nice place for a date, business dinner, or birthday party, this may be the best Vietnamese restaurant for it!

Thank you for reading our adventure and journey through Little Saigon! We had a blast eating all of this food together and we’re so happy we were able to share this experience with Foodbuzz. To finish this 24, 24, 24 event post, here is a re-cap of all of the restaurants we went to and their addresses. We hope you find the opportunity to partake in some good Vietnamese dining in the near future!

Brodard Restaurant – 9892 Westminster Ave., Suite R, Garden Grove, CA. 92844
Quan Hy – 9727 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, Ca. 92683
Pho 79 – 9200 Bolsa Ave., Suite 117, Westminster, CA. 92683
Favori Restaurant - 3502 W. First St., Santa Ana, CA. 92703
Banh Cuon Tay Ho Restaurant – 9629 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, CA. 92683
Huong Giang – 14564 Brookhurst St., Westminster, CA. 92683
Com Tam Tran Qui Cap – 9607 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, CA. 92683
Ha Noi Restaurant – 9082 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, CA. 92683
Van Restaurant – 14122 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, CA. 92843
Trieu Chau – 4401 W. 1st St., Santa Ana, CA. 92703
Song Long Restaurant – 9631 Bolsa Ave. Suite 108, Westminster, CA. 92683
Brodard Chateau – 9100 Trask Ave., Garden Grove, CA. 92844

46 responses so far

46 Responses to “Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Exploring Little Saigon for the Best Vietnamese Food”

  1. Chef Eon 27 Jul 2009 at 8:48 am

    This sounds like a great experience! The food look wonderful, no actually its fantastic, and I want some of that shrimp and BBQ pork patty!

  2. samon 27 Jul 2009 at 9:38 am

    i die. this is amazing…. thank u foodaddict!!!! this is what i’ve been looking for ..finally! some great asian viet food. omg..this is my forever**forever FAV entry. more i say!

  3. Dianaon 27 Jul 2009 at 9:52 am

    My office loves Trieu Chau and ordered out at least once a week. Yea, the place is disorganized and could be a little cleaner but their food is really good. Too bad they close at 5 pm everyday =P

    We’ve been to the original Brodard and Chateau Brodard and yea, their Nem Nuong cuon is good but the sauce is what makes it extraordinarily delicious =) Good post!

  4. Lanon 27 Jul 2009 at 11:56 am

    oh…you’re making me hungry! i love the reviews…You did a great job! Man, they make me want to drive down there and have them all for lunch!

  5. Andyon 27 Jul 2009 at 3:53 pm

    A full day of going around eating Vietnamese food… that’s awesome! The dishes look delicious and this’ll definitely help me pick out a place to eat next time I am there!

  6. Huyenon 27 Jul 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Wow! That’s awesome! You guys must have been so full that day!

  7. Cynthiaon 27 Jul 2009 at 10:08 pm

    OMG, I am seriously drooling here! What a feast!

  8. cessy831on 27 Jul 2009 at 10:31 pm

    thanks foodaddicts for allowing me to be part of this post! you have definitely opened my eyes to more than my usual food inclinations at vietnamese restaurants, and i was more than happy to taste all the different flavors of this cuisine…my favorite are still the brodard spring rolls (with that special sauce)! mmmm… my mouth is watering. as always, great pictures!

  9. Altaon 28 Jul 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Wow, I love Vietnamese cuisine, and this looks like a feast! What an exciting food adventure, adn thank you for sharing!

  10. cookingpracticeon 28 Jul 2009 at 10:52 pm

    wow! so much mouth watering!!!

  11. bambooon 29 Jul 2009 at 3:15 am

    i was ever been there too, the food are low price, but very delicious! even the hawker can cook the good rice noodle there!

  12. The Duo Disheson 29 Jul 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Amazing 24 post. How did you manage to eat all of that? Sounds like a great time with friends too!

  13. Jessica@FoodMayhemon 30 Jul 2009 at 7:16 am

    I love Vietnamese food and your pics have my stomach grumbling. I hope to visit Little Saigon one day.

  14. thefoodaddictson 30 Jul 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Thank you for the comments on this post! I hope everyone gets to try Vietnamese food at least once in their lives!

  15. ravenouscoupleon 31 Jul 2009 at 8:11 am

    A great compilation of must try’s for those unintiated to Vietnamese cuisine. Great job.

  16. freysearchon 01 Aug 2009 at 8:38 am

    FABULOUS! My sister and I love to go to Little Saigon. This post is like a treasure map of vietnamese food. Thanks!

  17. Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food.on 01 Aug 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Congrats on the Foodbuzz 24! (I’m in too this month).
    Everything looks faboulous.

  18. thefoodaddictson 03 Aug 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Congrats to you too! What a cool event to be a part of!

  19. Zashkaseron 05 Aug 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Good to see you’re doing some research!

  20. daneon 06 Aug 2009 at 8:43 am

    OMG…totally!

  21. Debi (Table Talk)on 06 Aug 2009 at 6:08 pm

    ——–If only we had Little Saigon here in VA…
    Everything looks fantastic!

  22. Vivalkakiraon 07 Aug 2009 at 3:42 am

    Thanks for the review! I want to say – thank you for this!

  23. Bradon 15 Aug 2009 at 6:27 am

    If you had only one meal in Little Saigon where would you eat?

  24. chefboyrDon 15 Aug 2009 at 8:48 pm

    If you had only one meal in Little Saigon we would recommend Brodard. That was what our friends liked the most.

  25. zakon 17 Aug 2009 at 7:52 am

    Thanks for post!

  26. alhadasson 20 Aug 2009 at 6:52 am

    AWSOMENESS!!!!!
    thank for helping a brotha out dude!

  27. fareraseon 20 Aug 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Hey! Muchas gracias!

  28. usnirooon 21 Aug 2009 at 4:28 am

    Thx.

  29. Jesseon 21 Aug 2009 at 9:12 pm

    I want to say – thank you for this

  30. coopon 22 Aug 2009 at 5:32 am

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  31. temsrlon 28 Aug 2009 at 3:40 am

    Thank you very much :D

  32. Jacksonon 31 Aug 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Thank youuuuu!!! =)

  33. frankon 04 Sep 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Ive been looking for some of these forever. thanks!

  34. metalfinon 05 Sep 2009 at 3:58 am

    Work unbeatable. It makes us become your admirer.
    Thank you!

  35. nfazeon 08 Sep 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks!!

  36. FRESH LOCAL AND BESTon 16 Sep 2009 at 10:37 pm

    The photos are amazing!

  37. chubbyon 20 Sep 2009 at 12:00 am

    making me so hungry… awesome pics and great reviews!

  38. Tina Marieon 27 Sep 2009 at 3:08 pm

    I would love to have been at this dinner. It all looks so great!

  39. Hungry Huyon 22 Oct 2009 at 3:54 pm

    great photos! I love the Nem Nuong at Brodard!

  40. chefyojion 17 Dec 2009 at 12:30 am

    that’s awesome. really really hungry now. I wanna try making spring roll using rice paper.

  41. dokuzuncubuluton 27 Dec 2009 at 9:08 am

    Very savory. Wonderful!!!

  42. Diana (girlfeedsboy)on 15 Jan 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Great suggestions! I kinda want to fly to Little Saigon now!

  43. Donon 27 Jan 2010 at 10:32 am

    Can’t someone sent those foods to Maryland PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. Magdalenaon 27 May 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Great, great, great ! I would like to try all of those dishes ! And great experience. Have a nice day.
    .-= Magdalena´s last blog ..“S” Like Sandwich and Sandwich Spread =-.

  45. Lauren @ Delicateflavorson 07 Jun 2010 at 9:39 am

    Wow! You guys really hit all the best spots in Little Saigon and and best dishes there. The only 2 dishes that I would add are the Bouillabaise at Song Long and the Crab Spring Roll at Ha Noi Pho. Everything looks so yummy!
    .-= Lauren @ Delicateflavors´s last blog ..Fresh Fruits Skewers and Platter =-.

  46. Jessicaon 24 Sep 2011 at 8:08 pm

    This sounds like a great day to me. All of the food looks great, but the Com Tam Tau Hu Ky, Tom, Suon, Bi, Cha looks especially delicious.

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