How to have a Tiny Saigon meals crawl full with pho, spring rolls and lots of Vietnamese coffee

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Southern California is household to the biggest population of Vietnamese individuals outdoors of Vietnam. And Westminster and Garden Grove, which have the highest concentration of Vietnamese Americans in the U.S., is exactly where you will discover the oldest Tiny Saigon, producing Bolsa Avenue and its surroundings a location for Vietnamese meals.

It can be daunting for the uninitiated to figure out how and exactly where to commence navigating the depths of the neighborhood’s trademark strip malls. We enlisted the knowledge of Hieu Ho, a Vietnamese American who grew up in Orange County in the course of the emergence of the Tiny Saigon we know now. We focused our meals crawl on acquiring the very best versions of classic Vietnamese favorites, which are detailed beneath:

Coffee (cà phê đá) — Lily’s Bakery

Cà phê đá (Vietnamese coffee) from Lily’s Bakery in Westminster.

Cà phê đá (Vietnamese coffee) from Lily’s Bakery in Westminster.

(Esther Tseng)

There are fewer caffeine fixes far more satisfying than the ritual of stirring and sipping a Vietnamese coffee, usually a drip pour of medium roast with thick condensed milk at the bottom. At Lily’s Bakery, you will discover an amped-up, particularly scrumptious version: It is an espresso pull with just one particular spoonful of whipped cream in addition to a property-created condensed milk. It is so addictive, you will be tempted to order two, prior to dealing with the inevitable and jittery consequences later.

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Tiny Saigon Village, 10161 Bolsa Ave. No. 109b, Westminster, (714) 839-1099

Rice cakes (bánh bèo) — Quán Hỷ

Bánh bèo (rice cakes) from Quán Hỷ in Westminster.

Bánh bèo (rice cakes) from Quán Hỷ in Westminster.

(Esther Tseng)

These soft, chewy steamed rice cakes, which translate to “water fern cake,” come in a series of tiny, person saucers. Even though they are a street meals in Vietnam, they can be identified in most appetizer sections on menus all more than Tiny Saigon. You will discover a wonderful version at Quán Hỷ, exactly where soft, gelatinous sheets are topped with fried garlic and fried ground shrimp. Add some nước mắm pha (the fish sauce-primarily based dipping sauce) on prime, and reduce the circular cake into halves with a spoon prior to popping one particular into your mouth. With myriad textures and flavors — sweet and sour, soft and crunchy — it is an particularly scrumptious way to start off off your meal.

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9727 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 775-7179

Pork sausage spring rolls (nem nướng̣) — Brodard

Nem nướng̣ (pork sausage rolls) from Brodard in Garden Grove.

Nem nướng̣ (pork sausage rolls) from Brodard in Garden Grove.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Occasions)

The spring roll, or gỏi cuốn, has grow to be the nicely-recognized accomplice to every single steaming bowl of pho. And there’s absolutely nothing rather like the ones at Brodard, exactly where the centerpiece of every is the savory, slightly sweet pork sausage recognized as nem nướng̣. Lengthwise cuts of the sausage are bound with chive stalks, cucumber spears, chopped Romaine and crushed, crunchy fried egg roll skin in translucent sheets of rice paper. Do not overlook the tangy dipping sauce, which you will most likely want on all 3 bites it requires to devour every roll.

Mall of Fortune, 9892 Westminster Ave. R, Garden Grove, (714) 530-1744

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Pho (phở) — Pho 79

Phở from Pho 79 in Garden Grove.

Phở from Pho 79 in Garden Grove.

(Esther Tseng)

This slow-simmered bowl of clear, flavorful broth, thin rice noodles, onion, beef cuts and its accompanying garnish plate of bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime and cilantro, is the most nicely-recognized Vietnamese dish in America. The stock owes its complexity to ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon and fish sauce, and you will discover one particular of the very best versions in Tiny Saigon at Pho 79. The Beef Unique is recognized as Phở Đặc Biệt, served with tendon and tripe as nicely as steak cuts in your soup. You also can order the Phở Tái (with uncommon cooked beef) or Phở Chín (with nicely-cooked beef).

9941 W. Hazard Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 531-2490

3 Colour Dessert (chè ba mầu) — Thach Chè Hiển Khánh

Chè ba mầu (Vietnamese dessert soup) from Thach Chè Hiển Khánh in Westminster.

Chè ba mầu (Vietnamese dessert soup) from Thach Chè Hiển Khánh in Westminster.

(Esther Tseng)

There’s absolutely nothing like sipping on chè, the Vietnamese sweet dessert soup, in the middle of the day. Chè ba mầu is the classic version of chè, a parfait-like layered dessert created with sweetened coconut milk, green jelly noodles, red azuki beans and yellow mung bean paste all stirred with each other for a chewy snack. The version at Thach Chè Hiển Khánh incorporates a base of fresh coconut milk and the addition of tapioca balls and water chestnuts.

9639 Bolsa Ave. Suite A, Westminster, (714) 839-8143