Most of the Vietnamese spots covered in this board are in little Saigon and rightly so. With a few exceptions (pho ga bac ninh, Golden deli) the SGV is just ok for Vietnamese food and regional Vietnamese specialists such as from Huế are almost non existent.
Yes you can get some Huế Dishes at a variety of spots (Nha Trang, nem nuong khanh hoa, summer rolls) but they are from south central Vietnam, not from Huế. The owners of this restaurant are indeed from Huế.
We Just discovered 5 Stars Huế that just opened at Garfield and valley in west sgv. Upon discovering them it turns out the have a second older location on El Monte and Duarte opened last year. We’ve only tried the new Alhambra location once and itching to try the rest of the Huế menu!
This is what we got:
The bánh bèo texture was perfect chew and softness! Perfect thickness and Slurpable good. The chicharrones was pretty generic so something that could be improved but texture wise these are fantastic.
This is nem lụi, something unique to Huế that we were lamenting on IG that no place we know sells this. Even the Hue places in little Saigon don’t have this. Glad we were wrong! On the surface it’s similar to nem nuong but there are differences—there’s small bits of pork skin and pork fat and pepper corns inside and the lemongrass is the major flavoring (instead of garlic for nem nuong) unfortunately the only critique would be not using lemongrass skewers (I talked to them about this and they said it’s too expensive—my suggestion was to charge more!) only $12.95 for this entire platter. It also comes with all the fixings and a no dip rice paper that I’ve never seen here in the states. They brought the rice paper over themselves because it’s more authentic to how it’s eatened there. The sauce is also spot on with a fermented soy funk. Sooo good!
@Chowseeker1999 would flip if we said this bún bò Huế was better than Ngu Binh. But it is for several reasons.
- The broth is fantastic. Could smell the lemongrass and shrimp paste before even tasting it. Most places falter because the lack of this.
- Not as oily—this may be personal thing but the red Annatto slick is bit too much as ngu binh. The sate we asked for on the side was perfect amount of heat for us.
- The chả huế is fantastic. Two home made garlic sausages with perfect bite! Ngu binh has it too, but this has slightly better bouncy texture and flavor, both great.
The owner asked if I ỏdered the Bánh ít ram, @ipsedixit favorite, but I said no as it was just the two of us. But she insisted it’s a must for next time.
There’s some more Huế specific díshes that I’ve yet to try here but based on these I’m excited. Finally delicious Huế Food in SGV that we’re excited about and can heartily recommend!! @attran99 @PorkyBelly @moonboy403 @JeetKuneBao @secretasianman
5 stars Hue
31 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801
The menu at the et Monte location is also has few other Hue specialties that hasn’t made it to Alhambra yet.
how many tables are there outside? i ask because i went to killer noodle last weekend only to discover only 3 tables. fortunately everyone ahead of me was no mood to wait so i got seated in about a half hour. i’m looking forward to trying their bun bo hue.
The Alhambra location has a shaded patio with about 6 tables. Don’t know about the others
i think i can find at least 2-3 people willing to try lunch tomorrow and then head over to the new tianjian place on fifth to try the meat pie & bao.
That’s great—in addition to the above, the banh it ram, Banh bot loc, Banh nam (they also have a sampler of their Banh).
Some Hue specific apps: mit xuc or hen xuc
Hue specific mains: bun mit, bun hen, bun mam nem.
For future reference, what should I order for a party of 2?
I would a get a appetizer sampler of all the “banh”, those nem lui, and 2 bowls of bun bo hue
Pretty much! Though forgot to mention we did get their Banh Canh cua- we didn’t take photo, but the rice noodles are made in house—didn’t confirm but pretty sure it’s the knife cut style and don’t know of many places that do this. @moonboy403
Noticed they have a fair amount of vegetarian @hanhgry
But would call to confirm as the Alhambra location doesn’t have all the same items yet, but they use the same menu at all the locations.
Do you know if related to the Diamond Bar location?
Edit: yes! Somehow missed that on the menu.
They only list duarte, el monte and Alhambra on their menu.
I’m surprised you hadnt heard about the other locations sooner, I’ve been going to the El Monte location for about a year now, I’m not that experienced with bun bo hue that I could declare it one of the best iterations in SoCal but I do agree its pretty damn good, as well as the rest of the menu. I thought at the time I discovered it that it was maybe OC level Vietnamese?
Definitely glad to see they have a location with outdoor seating at the El Monte location doesn’t seem to have embraced it yet last I checked.
Def our bad. Everything west of San Gabriel valley blvd sorta like the west side to us—we just don’t head out there that often! Lol.
Their bbh just screams (tastes like) homemade. There’s no cutting back on shrimp paste and lemongrass. And that home made cha Hue is better than what we can do.
Kim hoa Hue In Garvey would be another place to check out.
thanks for the tag! I’m very excited to try this place. Bánh bèo was one of my favorite dishes as a kid. Something about the tiny dishes it was served in was so appealing to me, lol. When I became vegetarian I could rarely find any place that made a veg version. The only place I’ve found so far that makes it vegetarian is Bo De Tinh Tam Chay in Westminster (and it’s pretty good!) but that is definitely a hike to get over there from me. I’m also intrigued by the banh bot loc la and the banh nam la!
Update: declaring this is our favorite Vietnamese in the SGV
Two iconic huế dishes, they both hit it out of the park. The banh bột lộc was delicious perfect texture and well seasoned—which is how it should be and doesn’t need the nuoc cham.
Bánh ÍT ram is mochi lovers dream. Mochi stuffed with pork and shrimp on top of fried mochi.
Look at the hollow crispy mochi! Again lots of huế places have this, but this was so expertly fried the center is hollow—no wonder why the owner insisted I order it on my return. Just to be sure we check all 4 and they were all indeed hollow. It’s like a chicharone if i didn’t know better. A must order! @ipsedixit @PorkyBelly @moonboy403 @Hungrydrunk @JeetKuneBao @J_L
By comparison this is from ngu binh taken from yelp:
You can see the blob of glutinous rice in the bottom portion.
We also got the mì quang which was solid, delicious.
glad to see them get some love, I was wondering when people were gonna start noticing it hopefully their business can sustain itself thru COVID.
I Don’t feel so bad now feeling how this slipped under our radar (quarantine and all) — Apparently they opened all 4 locations within the last year based on yelp reviews and the Alhambra and diamond bar locations both opened last month at same time!
Will have to talk to owners for details, but wow!
I wonder if this place will blow up like Golden Deli
The food looks great! Even if you are coming from OC this is worth a drive imo based on the pictures and from trusted members
Luckily they have 4 locations and are not shy about expansion. Some friends visited the diamond bar location yesterday and had a variety of dishes (including pho) and they already claimed it’s their new favorite. If the consistency across all chains are true, then indeed it would be a huge win for all in LA.
Again, just looking at that hollow banh it ram compared with ngu binh just blows me away. The imported no soak rice paper just like how nem lui is served in huế (can’t find this dish outside of vietnam). The hand cut banh Canh noodles (not confirmed) …this place really puts in the attention to detail.