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Must-Visit Places In Westminster’s Little Saigon

May 6, 2013 3:09 PM

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(credit: Brodard Restaurant)

(credit: Brodard Restaurant)

(credit: Asian Garden Mall)

(credit: Asian Garden Mall)

What’s the next best thing to actually getting on a plane and going to Vietnam? Exploring the awesomeness of Vietnamese food and culture in Little Saigon! Here are some of the must-try spots.

(credit: Pho Kimmy)

(credit: Pho Kimmy)

Best Pho

Pho Kimmy
14932 Bushard St
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 775-1699
More Info

We know there are a ton of contenders for the title of the “best pho ever,” but Pho Kimmy has fantastic broth, a simple menu that goes to the essence of pho (beef, oh so tender, served in its various permutations), the best noodles to meat proportion and is a great value. Beware — there is no Pho Kimmy parking, but park a street over and consider the exercise a good excuse to eat more pho.

(credit: Kent Wang)

(credit: Kent Wang)

Best Banh Xeo

Van’s Restaurant
14122 Brookhurst St
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 530-6858

Banh Xeo, crispy fried pancakes made of rice flour, and stuffed with slices of fatty pork, shrimp, diced green onion, and bean sprouts, which are then wrapped in leafy veggies and dipped in fish sauce, are probably Vietnamese cuisine’s best-kept secret — and it’s also Van’s specialty. If you’re a Vietnamese food noob, Van’s is the best place to explore dishes beyond pho and banh mi. There is also a fantastic dessert selection, all for about $2 or less.

(credit: Yelp user Momo K.)

(credit: Yelp user Momo K.)

Best Desserts

Thach Che Hien Khanh
9784 Westminster Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 537-5105

The variety of wondrous chè (which is actually a term for traditional Vietnamese sweet desserts — whether beverage, soup or pudding) that’s available at Thach Che Hien Khanh is pretty mind-blowing: with mung beans, with sticky rice, with tapioca, with jelly, with mango, durian or coconut — and everything tastes as fresh as if you were in Ho Chi Minh City. Even if you sampled three desserts at a time, the selections aren’t too sweet.

(credit: Top Baguette)

(credit: Top Baguette)

Best Banh Mi

Banh Mi Che Cali
13838 Brookhurst St
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 534-6987

Top Baguette
9016 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 379-7726

Banh mi is another one of those Vietnamese staples where everyone is passionately in disagreement over what’s the best, but we chose Top Baguette and Banh Mi Che Cali because they are cheap, fast, and delicious. Banh Mi Che Cali is the master of the baguette, and serves their sandwiches with homemade mayo. Top Baguette has excellent customer service — the owner works the counter, and fried egg can be added to any sandwich.

Related: Best Banh Mi In Orange County

(credit: Brodard Restaurant)

(credit: Brodard Restaurant)

Best Spring Rolls

Brodard Restaurant
9892 Westminster Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 530-1744
www.brodard.net

Nem Nuong Cuon — pork spring rolls — is $6 for four pieces at Brodard, which is probably the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy in Little Saigon. But yes, it is fantastic, and it’s the reason for Brodard’s success. Grilled pork paste wrapped in rice paper with lettuce, cucumber, carrots and mint, the dish is completed by the dipping sauce, which isn’t the typical sweet/hot condiment from a bottle. Made of garlic, chili, sugar, and some secret ingredient, it’s served hot and can’t be found anywhere else.

(credit: Asian Garden Mall)

(credit: Asian Garden Mall)

Best Introduction

Asian Garden Mall
9200 Bolsa Ave Ste 312
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 891-2122
www.asiangardenmall.com

Of course it’s touristy, but the shopping mall really is a little taste of Vietnam. (Asian Garden Mall actually reminds us of Ho Chi Minh City’s Ben Thanh market.) Shops here sell everything from knickknacks to clothes, baked goods, sugarcane juice, and jewelry — if you can only go to one place in Little Saigon, this is a pretty good introduction.

Lilledeshan Bose (@lillitot) lives in Fullerton, a city she’s heard described as “The Paris of Orange County.”

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