There are certain things that really offend me. One of them is unauthentic Vietnamese food. No joke. When I see egg rolls that are made with incorrect egg roll skin or crappyily ( yes it's a word) made Vietnamese food it's like a rage comes over me and someone directly insulted me to my face. Why? I'm not sure. Possibly because I know my Viet food. Pretty much my entire family was born in Vietnam. Strange though, because I can eat inauthentic Chinese, Japanese, or other types of Asian food and not get super angry about how it's not right or improper. In fact, I occasionally chow down on Panda Express myself. Anyways today's blog post is on Vietnamese food- a great way for me to end my time L.A. before jetting to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year's since like I mentioned before, all Vietnamese food in HK sucks. To me, Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa is the best Vietnamese place in the San Gabriel Valley. I would even go as far as to say it's almost equal to Brodad in Irvine. It's at 9016 Mission Drive. Rosemead, 91770 if you want to check it out. And you know it's good when they have Nem Nuong in their name! Nem Nuong is pork meat balls in Vietnamese. Yummy!
Left is a picture of their pork grilled meatball wraps. Think spring roll but WAY better! Right is their Charbroiled pork patties wrapped w/ banana leaves. Double yum!
The satay-like sticks of pork are the nem nuong. The small skinny egg rolls in the middle are not the typical Vietnamese egg rolls. Inside each little egg roll is a small individual shrimp. So good!
Left is Bahn beo- is basically a steamed rice cake and it's topped with mung bean paste, shrimp, scallions, and fried shallots. You dip it in fish sauce. The right is bahn hoi which is made of rice vermicelli. It's also dipped in fish sauce.
Here are the 2 sauces available. Left is the special sweet sauce used for the pork. Right is the typical fish sauce. My family doesn't like using the special sauce for their pork. I don't know why. I, on the other hand love that sauce. I'm just way more hardcore at eating Vietnamese food than them.
This is Bun bo Hue. It's a popular soup noodle dish that is made with beef, oxtail, pig's knuckles, or pork and also has cubes of pig blood inside. Like all asian things, it sounds gross but tastes delicious!
Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa is delicious. There's no denying that. My mom comes here to buy frozen pork (nem nuong) 3 times a year in bulk to bring back to my family in Hong Kong but... if you don't mind the driving or live closer to Irvine you should defintely check out Brodard in Garden Grove. You have to drive way farther for them though. There's a Brodard's in Alhambra but trust me if you want party in your mouth spring rolls you have to make the drive to Garden Grove for them. Here's their website if you want to check them out.
Now that I'm done reviewing restaurants, it's time for a review of legit bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches/baguettes) places. Let's start with the best of the best.
This is a bahn mi from Saigon Sandwich & Bakery at 718 East Valley Blvd. San Gabriel, 91776. It's freaking amazing. It's actually comparable to the sandwiches I've had in Vietnam. That's how good it is. They make the bread there fresh a few times a day. The trick is to order the smaller and fatter bread and not the longer, skinny one. The small one is much more tasty. In fact, you can just order the plain, fat baguettes 3 for $1! Once you get home, just throw it into the freezer. When you feel like eating them, just wrap it in foil and toast it. It will taste just like fresh if you follow those steps! I usually order 3 plain ones to go and 1 that is stuffed like the picture above. Be careful when ordering so that you get the right bread though. The bread here is so good that I can eat 1 all by myself plain. Or sometimes I make scrambled eggs and ketchup and dip it with the plain bread I buy. Whatever... seriously go buy this bread. Just go to smell the fresh bread. It's THAT good!
Left is a bahn mi from Mr. Baguette. There's a few all over the San Gabriel Valley. Right is a picture of Lee's Sandwiches which are located all over from Irvine to the SGV. I like how their bread is thin and crunchy. I also like how they have the option of adding sesame to their bread. I still would put Saigon Sandwiches above these two though. The bread is different at these two places and Saigon Sandwiches. Best thing to do is just try them all! =)
Happy Vietnamese Eatings!