A Weekend in Little Saigon - Delectable Meatball and Cold Cut Banh Mi Sandwiches (Ba Le Westminster), Refreshing Cococane, Steaming Beef Noodle Soups, Crunchy & Silky Rice Cakes and Vietnamese Ice Coffee (Phin Smith) [Thoughts + Pics]

Hi @Ns1,

Thanks! Yah now that I think about it, they might’ve given me a Cafe Da Den by accident? :sweat_smile: Definitely powerful and potent! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the tip that the Cha Gio place is meant to buy the products frozen and fry it at home. :slight_smile:

Do you or @hppzz have any recommendations on frying technique / time / heat levels? Thanks!

I’m a peasant, I just fry at the usual temperature until the color is where I want it. treat it like fried chicken - you can either fully submerse or use less oil and flip halfway through. You don’t need to defrost.

Combine with some pre made fish sauce + lettuce + herbs = a great < 15 minute meal.


Hi @hppzz,

Thanks again for all your great recommendations! :slight_smile:

For Boulangerie, oh they have Pate there? I missed it. OK, we’ll get that next time. :slight_smile:

For Quan Hop, darn, we were so busy trying not to get too full, we missed the fact they had Banh Beo Chen. I love that dish! :slight_smile:

Hi @bulavinaka, @A5KOBE,

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Roast Duck/Pork! Aaaaah! That’s what we forgot when visiting. :cry: I knew I forgot something! I think it was @PorkyBelly or you or @Ns1 @A5KOBE that talked about some of these specialists before? I just remember drooling at the pics. :stuck_out_tongue:

Which ones should I go to? (I can’t seem to find any bookmarks about them, darn.) Thanks!

I dunno if you’re going to find the little Saigon roast meat experts all that exciting…after discovering “real” Peking duck I felt very lied to my entire childhoood.

Having said that, two of the longest running stores in little Saigon can be found next to each other - Lien Hoa Deli and Kang Lac Bakery. Refer to Yelp for pics. This is more of an “essential little Saigon” recommendation vs “best of little Saigon”.

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and next to them… new duong son


Interesting. I’ll have to check this out next time I’m back in little Saigon. Pick up a cafe sua da from BAMBU while I’m at it.


Oh this is the place below the old dragon Phoenix.

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Hi @JeetKuneBao,

Thanks again for all your invaluable reporting! :slight_smile:

Oh! I didn’t realize ordering Oxtail was the thing to do at Pho 79; I’ll make note of it for next time, thanks.

Hi @PorkyBelly,

Thank you. And Googling Banh Cuon…


That looks amazing! :grin: Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?! (j/k! LOL)

Are Banh Cuon usually only 1 type of filling? Or are there multiple flavors like the Dim Sum Steamed Rice Rolls (Cheong Fun)?

I’m so going to these places next time. Thanks @PorkyBelly @Ns1!

(Update: Oh, which Banh Cuon Tay Ho do you recommend? I see there are 4 of them!) Thanks.

The “pho Tau bay” branch. LOL.

You may as well go to the one next to Asian garden mall so you can bang^4 new duong son, lien hoa, and Kang lac.

Re: banh cuon there are several types but the two most common ones are the filled ones that porky belly mentioned and plain ones with Vietnamese meat loaf on top. It’s all drenched in fish sauce + bean sprout/herb mix.


@Chowseeker1999 You are a true OG.
I concur with @Ns1 with the cha gio. Rice paper wrap and bring it home to fry yourself. It’s great to have some saved up in your freezer for a rainy day…I brush off any ice crystals and vacu-seal to keep off excess frost/water…it helps reduce oil splatters. You should only order them from the store itself if they’re bringing you out a fresh batch…or if your visit occurs at the same time as a fresh batch is being released. Would you believe that I’ve only had the rice paper wrap a few times in my life…rice paper wrapper is a game changer.
Boulangerie makes some of the best baguettes in the OC. My cousin’s Dad used to own a bakery in France and prefers Boulangerie’s because he’s retired from the baking game now. @hppzz is right about the pâté. It’s quite good.
Can I make a weird suggestion? A DIY sandwich…bread and pâté from Boulangerie, mayo/aioli, Maggie, banh mi veg, and pork floss from Cha Gio Han Long…it’s a banh mi my Mom made for us when we were little for a snack or a lazy breakfast. It’s a little unorthodox, but it’s comforting to me. The pork floss also is great in chao (rice porridge) and com tam (broken rice).
I’ve never had Xiu Mai cold or lukewarm before…likely because I am a persnickety and only eat my Mom’s version…and that’s always served warm. I would think that other folks would serve it warm, too. Looks like I may be wrong in that perception.
My Mom gets her BBQ pork for her fried rice (she’s now too healthy to put in lep cheong) from New Duong Son. Our family has been ordering roast ducks and pigs for family parties there for quite some time now.
I usually get the plain Banh Cuon or the one with minced meat and wood ear mushroom mix. Add some lettuce, herbs, sliced cucumbers, slices of cha lua, nuoc mam, and some pickled vegetables and you have a complete meal.
Damn…now I want Vietnamese food, but I’m stuck home and quarantined with a cold. I need to get out next weekend.


Hi @Ns1,

Bookmarked Favori, thanks! :slight_smile: What do you recommend there?

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Thanks @Ns1.

So the roast meat experts in Little Saigon, is it a Vietnamese take on Hong Kong / Cantonese-style roast meats? Or is it a distinct Vietnamese style that’s different? (because it looks really similar to, say, Sam Woo.) Thanks!

Baked catfish is the quintessential dish. I pair with banh hoi w/ shrimp paste and sugarcane. Fried calamari there is also surprisingly good and done in the Vietnamese style.


IMO they are simply sam woo style delis. Differences may be with the sauces that they provide and other stuff that they sell, e.g. Roast pork with banh hoi is a very common pairing in little Saigon yet damn near impossible to find outside of little Saigon.


Hi @attran99,

Thanks for the Banh Mi DIY suggestion! I’ll try that next time (it sounds wonderful). :blush:

Sorry to hear you’re sick. Hope you feel better soon!

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The DIY Banh Mi’s are endless. I will be doing a Chinese-Viet BBQ from Lien Hoa/New Duong Son with Saigon Bakery Egg Banh Mi’s soon. Ba Le is also great for mayo and pickled veggies. These DIY Banh Mi’s are kind of a local thing too.

Since we are throwing our favorite Vietnamese dishes to CS

Banh Xeo/Banh Khot

Hu Tieu (Little Saigon has 3 diffferent distinct styles of Hu Tieu).

Com Phan (Vietnamese Family-style meals)

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I love the shade!!! :wink:

Epic post. Thank you again for being so gracious w/ your time (both in terms of the eating, driving, and how long it must take to write it all up). I do wonder if there are board lurkers who develop eating itineraries based on your posts.


Thanks @JeetKuneBao! :slight_smile:

Where do you recommend going for Banh Khot? And for Com Phan is that… Mai’s that you’ve been translating?

Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Thank you! :slight_smile: I have to thank you and everyone else who post here regularly. It’s a treasure trove of information thanks to you and everyone’s contributions.

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