Little Saigon Adventures



Right now at the Garden Mall!

A true look into Vietnamese culture. Lots of different flower vendors, live music at night, families all about! Happy and energetic vibe. Kids throwing poppers on the floor. Vietnamese from all over the country come here.

In front of the live band, there is a young guy who is a dancing savant of some sort as I watched him move from pop-lockin’ to James Brown footwork to Richard Simmons aerobics to Mick Jagger like high knees to Matrix (yes moving backwards with arms waving) to Crip Walking to BBoy uprocking to belly dancing to pantomime, it was pretty awesome to watch. I mean the live band was great but this dude was absolutely tearing it up, either knowingly or not, moving from style to style.

The food!

It is east of the mall in front of Kim Ky.
And honestly it puts what I saw at the OC Night Market to shame. I will definitely come back.

What caught my eye and what most people were eating…

The stall in front of Kim Ky. “Saigon Street Food”. The grilled beef sticks. The bot chien (rice cakes and eggs). Funny how Kim Ky also does a good bot chien.

Grilled Squid. With some sort of green sauce.

Another place had lobster tails. The Oh Mia Mia Mia sugarcane juice truck was there. A charcoal grilled crepe or cracker of some sort with pork,shrimp,herbs, and egg.


Golden Flower Veggie

I actually wanted to try a Vietnamese vegan place across the street but they closed for New Years.

Was served by a very friendly Uncle. He gave me some good recs!

Seaweed wrapped tofu. This is was pretty tasty. I do like tofu but it’s not something I must have.

Golden Salad. Bright, crunchy, refreshing, little bit of lemongrass flavor in there.

Sate Egg Noodle. I could do a little more spice but this was nicely flavored. The egg noodles weren’t that good though.



I’m not sure what that restaurant is like, but if they have renditions of ca kho (braised catfish in a caramel sauce), do chay xao gung (shredded seitan sautéed with ginger and lemongrass), or do chay kho (shredded seitan braised in caramel sauce)…those are my favorite vegetarian dishes. I haven’t had them in years because I don’t live with my parents…and rarely order anything vegetarian and Vietnamese when I’m out with the family.
The nuns at the temples do a great job with these dishes, too.


I’m here for the Fish Cake Noodle Soup, a speciality of Nha Trang. Doing my own little research Nha Trang is quite the foodie area maybe not as big as Saigon, Hanoi, or Hue (the 3 main regions of Vietnamese Cuisine). The famous Little Saigon dish other than pho and banh mi is that one place that starts with a B with those famous grilled pork rolls, that is a Nha Trang speciality.

The noodles offered

Okay I never actually been to Nha Trang but I did watch some cooking videos. Saw a fish head go in for the stock with pork bones. So I was surprised that with the broth I was unable to pick up any fish bone flavor. It wasn’t bland it was very light tasting so to speak. I have no reference for this anyways. With the veggies, herbs, lime and some chile it was really enjoyable. Fish cakes were good.

Saw another special, Bun Moc, this I believe is a Hanoi dish. Why not?

There was one pork rib that was not tender at all. But the pork meatballs and loaf were nicely flavored. Added some black pepper to the broth because that’s what Hanoi people do. My own research has this dish cooked with pork bones and mushrooms. Did not pick up any mushroom notes but like the other noodle dish it was fine.

I think the best and most consistent noodle dishes in Little Saigon are Hu Tieu and Pho Ga.


Pho 86 in Garden Grove

Side order of tendons on the bone!

Hainan Chicken (deboned by me). That Ginger Fish Sauce was great and better than 99% of other places

Pho Dac Biet, average Saigon style pho.

The owner here is very friendly and is up in center taking orders, checking on tables, refilling waters, etc. The pho broth was just okay IMO sadly


Drum or Croaker fish marinated with lemongrass

Trung Duc Thit - kind of like a frittata probably with pork (probably minced) - can be steamed in a mold like with broken rice or fried in patties

“Thit Ba Roi Chung Mam” - Slices of pork belly marinated in fermented shrimp paste

Photos taken from


Good job on the translations. In the two dishes that say “hoac”, the word means “or”. So “squid or shrimp sauteed sweet and sour style”

“Ca Tim Xao Thit Heo Hoac Dau Hu” = Egg plant sauteed with pork or tofu


Thank you for the translations! Which reminds me I need to do the soup section of Mai’s Kitchen.

My next to do restaurants are:

Mai Phung


Favori - banh hoi w/ chao Tom + baked catfish all day.

Bang bang with banh cuon from pho tau bay next door.

Triple bang with the fried tofu from the thai joint next to Favori

Quadruple bang with 3for2 Vietnamese sandwiches at one of the OG banh mi che Cali on harbor.


Also: we’re waiting for the cafe di vang pictorial essay


Uh, me too.


specialty restaurant, Quan Vit Vit Vit ( duck, duck duck) featuring duck dishes (noodles, congee, rice)

The dish to order is the viet classic vermicelli noodle soup with bamboo and duck salad. generous portion of tender duck (offal organs optional). Dried bamboo is bit sparse but tender. Broth is excellent considering how much duck they must go through in day.

Crispy and braised duck and chicken variations as well. Duck Rice plate and congee for the noodle adversed.

Quan Vit Vit Vit
15579 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683


Anyone tried the food court at Asian Garden Mall (9200 Bolsa Ave, Westminster), the place prone to violent armed robberies?

Found some pics of gastropod offerings from few years ago.


I remember hitting that place a few years back. For food.


Popular for tourists and ok food, not a destination spot. (Though brodards started with stall there and look at them now) but if you’re interested in gastropods, go to Oc & Lau or garlic & chives


What do you recommend as “must haves” at OC & Lau and Garlic and Chives? Menus look terrific, they even have BALUT!!!


fried salmon belly


Oc and Lau and Garlic and Chives are probably the two most popular and successful (there have been plenty of failed competitors) class of restaurants in little saigon that specializes in drinking food of Vietnam–the gastropods being the main dishes here. But the menus are both varied enough that you’ll have a great meal without ordering them.

It’s hard to pick a must have dishes at either one…both are great places for the adventurous eater and have items that are not commonly seen in your typical pho/bun restaurant.

we love the ong choy salad at Oc and Lau and Pomelo salad at Garlic and Chives. As @porkbelly mentioned, the fried salmon belly either plain or in spring rolls at garlic and chives.

both have unique hotpots–oc and lau’s is more diverse, esp the funky fermented fish Lau Mam which you would find in the very southern fishing villages in the Mekong delta. Both have goat hot pots…


Have that place on my radar

How do you like the duck noodles vs Phat Ky Mi Ga?


two main duck noodles at Vit VIt Vit, chinese style and viet. The mi vit tim is the chinese style medicinal duck egg noodle soup which would be comparable to what Phat Ky Mi Ga has. there’s a crispy skin deep version and regular braised version. I didn’t order it but did have sip and thought it was ok…didn’t have great herbal notes and the crispy skin duck leg was indeed crispy but a tad dry.

The Viet style duck soup is with much cleaner duck and bamboo broth. It comes with goi and platter of duck meat that was used to make the broth. don’t see this at Phat Ky Mi Ga menu.

Given either option, hands down the Viet style bun mang vit.