Most of the Vietnamese spots covered in this board are in little Saigon and rightly so. With a few exceptions (pho ga bac ninh, Golden deli) the SGV is just ok for Vietnamese food and regional Vietnamese specialists such as from Huế are almost non existent.
Yes you can get some Huế Dishes at a variety of spots (Nha Trang, nem nuong khanh hoa, summer rolls) but they are from south central Vietnam, not from Huế. The owners of this restaurant are indeed from Huế.
We Just discovered 5 Stars Huế that just opened at Garfield and valley in west sgv. Upon discovering them it turns out the have a second older location on El Monte and Duarte opened last year. We’ve only tried the new Alhambra location once and itching to try the rest of the Huế menu!
This is what we got:
The bánh bèo texture was perfect chew and softness! Perfect thickness and Slurpable good. The chicharrones was pretty generic so something that could be improved but texture wise these are fantastic.
This is nem lụi, something unique to Huế that we were lamenting on IG that no place we know sells this. Even the Hue places in little Saigon don’t have this. Glad we were wrong! On the surface it’s similar to nem nuong but there are differences—there’s small bits of pork skin and pork fat and pepper corns inside and the lemongrass is the major flavoring (instead of garlic for nem nuong) unfortunately the only critique would be not using lemongrass skewers (I talked to them about this and they said it’s too expensive—my suggestion was to charge more!) only $12.95 for this entire platter. It also comes with all the fixings and a no dip rice paper that I’ve never seen here in the states. They brought the rice paper over themselves because it’s more authentic to how it’s eatened there. The sauce is also spot on with a fermented soy funk. Sooo good!
@Chowseeker1999 would flip if we said this bún bò Huế was better than Ngu Binh. But it is for several reasons.
- The broth is fantastic. Could smell the lemongrass and shrimp paste before even tasting it. Most places falter because the lack of this.
- Not as oily—this may be personal thing but the red Annatto slick is bit too much as ngu binh. The sate we asked for on the side was perfect amount of heat for us.
- The chả huế is fantastic. Two home made garlic sausages with perfect bite! Ngu binh has it too, but this has slightly better bouncy texture and flavor, both great.
The owner asked if I ỏdered the Bánh ít ram, @ipsedixit favorite, but I said no as it was just the two of us. But she insisted it’s a must for next time.
There’s some more Huế specific díshes that I’ve yet to try here but based on these I’m excited. Finally delicious Huế Food in SGV that we’re excited about and can heartily recommend!! @attran99 @PorkyBelly @moonboy403 @JeetKuneBao @secretasianman
5 stars Hue
31 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801
The menu at the et Monte location is also has few other Hue specialties that hasn’t made it to Alhambra yet.