Lau says that the menu at Canton Restaurant is emblematic of something that's become clear "over my time trying to discover everything that Little Saigon has to offer, which is that Chinese influence is fairly prevalent in Vietnamese cuisine." But Canton also serves two notable specialty dishes, one that's utterly Chinese and the other totally Vietnamese.
Cha ca thang long is the Vietnamese dish—white fish fillets in turmeric and cooked on a cast iron skillet with onions and dill. The fish comes out tender and not fishy at all, with an intense turmeric and herb flavor. The skillet lends a smokiness to the fish. Overall, it's a powerful version of this classic dish, Lau says.
Then there's Canton's rice porridge, or Chinese congee, which is thick and creamy with plenty of delicate white fish slices, ginger, scallions, and cilantro. "This tastes like classic excellent congee; this is comparable to what you find at a regular congee place in Hong Kong," Lau says.
Canton Restaurant [Little Saigon]
8550 Westminster Boulevard, Westminster