Little Saigon is big and full of restaurants—not all of which are good. So here’s a partial glovebox list of the most chowhoundly joints in the area, most of which specialize in just one, super-delicious dish.
Trieu Chau is a legendary place selling mi tieu and hu tieu. They’re both pork-based soups with noodles and all kinds of goodies; mi tieu comes with egg noodles, and hu tieu comes with rice noodles. Get mi/hu tieu nam vang for a variety of meatballs, shrimp, chicken and duck. It’s also good with a chau quay, Chinese doughnut, on the side.
Van’s restaurant specializes in banh xeo, a crispy, eggy crepe stuffed with meat and plenty of bean sprouts. Also try banh beo chen, steamed rice ovalettes in tiny dishes topped with shrimp and fried pork rinds. For bun, cold noodle salad, their bun cha hanoi (with lemongrass-scented patties) is fab. It’s served the traditional way, with the noodles, meat and veggies separate—you mix it up as you eat.
For banh mi, Banh Mi Che Cali is tops, and their Brookhurst/McFadden location is the definitive one—they bake bread on-site, says Mr Taster.
Pho Kimmy serves one of the best bowls of pho around, the broth rich like no other, and if you order it with raw beef, you can get it on the side (it cooks fast in the broth). If the craving for pho strikes in the middle of the night, Pho Thanh is open 24 hours and is consistently good, says kingkong5.
The pho is just okay at Pho Tau Bay: Everyone goes for the banh cuon dac biet. They’re made with diced pork, not ground, and served with dried shredded pork on top. It’s amazing, says septocaine_queen.
And some non-pho recommendations. For classic Vietnamese diner cuisine, try the broken rice combination platters at Com Tam Thuan Kieu, says Sauce Supreme. The San Gabriel branch is better, but Brookhurst Ave. still turns out damn fine broken rice plates.
For nem nuong cuon—grilled pork rolls with a kickin’ sauce—the usual suspect remains Brodard.
And seven courses of beef, or bo 7 mon, is best at Anh Hong.
Banh Cuon Tay Ho [Little Saigon]
9242 Bolsa Ave., #F, Westminster
Trieu Chau [Little Saigon]
4401 W. 1st St., Santa Ana
Van’s Restaurant [Little Saigon]
14122 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove
Banh Mi & Che Cali [Little Saigon]
13838 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove
Pho Kimmy [Little Saigon]
14932 Bushard St., Westminster
Pho Thanh [Little Saigon]
9625 Bolsa Ave., Garden Grove
Pho Tau Bay L.T.T. [Little Saigon]
3610 W. 1st St., Santa Ana
Com Tam Thuan Kieu [Little Saigon]
14282 Brookhurst Ave., #2, Garden Grove
Com Tam Thuan Kieu [San Gabriel]
120 E. Valley Blvd. # I, San Gabriel
Brodard’s Restaurant [Little Saigon]
9892 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove
Anh Hong [Little Saigon]
10195 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove
Board Links: The Glovebox Guide to Little Saigon