It was cold and rainy so it was finally time to try out this Vietnamese restaurant with the neon soup bowl in the window. The restaurant is in the Albertsons shopping plaza on San Pablo Dam Road.
Had a salted plum soda while waiting which is good if you like salted plums, there were nice pieces of it in the bottom of the drink.
Had the rice noodle soup with prawn, krab, calamari, fish ball, bbq pork, fish ball, chicken and ground pork.
Also had the bun with imperial rolls.
The problem is that my take-out order was missing stuff or I do not understand how to eat things correctly.
The soup was missing the fish ball. Also there was a bag with lemon, mainly sprouts, a little cilantro, jalepeno and two types of a thickish red hot sauce. I assumed this was for the soup so I put it in there.
Then I got to the bun and all that was in the Styrofoam container was lots of vermicelli noodles topped with three fried imperial rolls, sprinkled with peanuts. There was a side of nuoc mam in a little cup. Not that Im savvy about what this was, but thats what the menu says.
Anyway, the menu also said I was supposed to have lettuce, bean sprouts, mint leaves, cilantro and shredded cucumber too. I am hoping the bean sprout bag wasnt what this was for. There was definitely no lettuce, mint or cucumber.
The soup was fine and filling. I wouldnt order it again, but Im no judge of broth complexity and all that other stuff. ($6.25). Actually for me, this makes three meals, although it could be one filling meal for someone. Theres hu tieu dac biet in the fridge for a few days.
I didnt like the imperial roll at all. They were crispy and not greasy, but there was a bitterness to them. I didnt like the oil they were fried in. Any hints on what to do with LOTS of vermicelli? I know, home cooking board.
No sandwiches here. Eight variations of beef pho and one chicken pho. For some reason if you want rare beef on the side it is $1 extra.
There are also rice or egg noodle soups, stir-fried noodles, bun, rice plates, a few entrees and clay pots.
Standard appetizers, although they also include rotisserie quail, fried fish cake and fried salted squid.
A few of the soups have snapper. As far as rice plates, the fried egg with shredded pork or pork chop over rice seemed the most interesting to me. Kind of wish I ordered the hot and sour soup that had catfish in pineapple broth.
There was a white board with a few specials.
The Old Saigon has been in San Pablo for 10 years. An ancient review said they moved to the location to serve Asian gamblers at the casino. When I was talking to the owner, she said that they had a restaurant in Oakland with another name for eleven years before moving to San Pablo.
The restaurant is standard mid-scale Vietnamese restaurant décor. It is very green jade green walls, green carpet, green chairs, green plants, and green chopsticks. Actually the utensil set-up in the restaurant was rather cool. There is a utensil dispenser on each table where you can choose green plastic chopsticks, fork, spoon, Chinese soup spoon and rest. Choose the utensil that makes the most sense.
The owner had a heavy accent but was nice and friendly. I learned how to say bun correctly. She didnt correct me, just told me which bag had the soup and hesitated with the other bag and I jumped in and said bun. She said yes, bun but she said it correctly.
Old Saigon Restaurant
504 San Pablo Towne Ctr
San Pablo, CA 94806
Wednesday Monday: 10 am - 9 pm