Mai's Kitchen - Anyone been?

Has anyone been to Mai’s for the family-style dinners highlighted in this article? They seem incredibly interesting, but also in need of a translation a la Jitlada.

Pic of the family style menu off Yelp:

family style meals are my favs

Anyone been? Or anyone capable of helping crack the code of the best order?

Family section is 58/59 at the top of the menu.
58 = 1 soup / 1 main / 1 stir fry + 2 rice
59 = 1 large soup / 2 main / 2 stir fry + 4 rice

Bottom of menu is split into 3 sections

Main

Stir fry

Soup

Pics certainly look legit. Reminds me of the long-gone Dong Khanh on Bolsa/Ward

Don’t suppose you can translate any of the dishes? haha Any of the dishes seem like a particularly good combination of the three things (soup/main/stir fry) to get?

Based on the pictures

Ca kho (braised catfish , p may or may not be in clay pot)
Canh Chua (sweet/sour tamarind soup)
Suon rim (looks like braised pork spare rib tips)
Thit rim (braised diced or sliced pork belly looks like)

Their com tam/spring rolls looks weak. Go to a specialist for that.

Oh and this looks mighty fine and comforting from here. Spoon all that sauce over rice.

The catfish n soup you can find at a number of places. The pork belly n egg… Everyone makes at home because it’s simple n easy, just ate it the other night. The only thing I don’t see often is the pork rib, and it looks like the same, or similar prep as the pork belly.

Locally in sgv, you can try nha hang tai siu on san Gabriel between hellman n emerson, they serve a number of similar family dishes. Their yelp is separated into 2 pages for some reason.

there’s no code or correct combo per se but you would order one from each part of the menu. if you grew up in a vietnamese home and were lucky to have a parent that routinely cooks dinner then the typical every day meal would consist of a meat or salty (mon man) dish (such a braised dish such as caramelized pork/shrimp or catfish or chicken) along with a vegetable stir fry (mon xao) and a soup dish (mon canh), usually vegetable based soup. If you want to splurge or have a large group, can you get extras of mon man or mon xao.

All these dishes are very very traditional Vietnamese (it’s just not commonly served at restaurants of little saigon because these dishes are actually labeled as plain or commoner food “binh dan”) But as more and more little saigon restaurants become specialized and as the younger vietnamese generation cook less and less, these types of restaurants and dishes will be more valued.

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nailed it. I mean I cook these days but I don’t cook the stuff my mom made…I cook everything she wasn’t willing to make.

Song Phat in Canoga Park fills the same void.

Best and cheapest home style Viet dish I learned…

Canned Sardines in Tomato Sauce.

Add in some garlic, shallots, and green onion if you wanna get fancy. Serve over white rice.

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Well, also for people who aren’t Vietnamese and thus didn’t have any Vietnamese parents, it might be an interesting chance to try dishes that are just now making their way into restaurants?

Or are you saying it’s most likely just hype and not really food anyone other than disenfranchised Vietnamese youngsters might enjoy?

In the sgv, phong dinh, my hanh, and tai siu have them as sets. Pho ga bac ninh and pho hoang have similar items as individual entrees…

So by “interesting chance” and “just now” , you mean easily over decade or further back in various restaurants over the years?

[quote=“Aesthete, post:9, topic:5322”]
Or are you saying it’s most likely just hype [/quote]

Writers, like the one in the article that took 3 trips to the same place to discover something that was already on the menu, tend to over hype simple things. Esp the “whole other level of awesome” line, yikes.

I don’t wanna say that it’s good or bad, because I haven’t tried that restaurant in particular. But it is what it is, family style food…

It’s absolutely the perfect way to experience traditional home style Vietnamese dishes beyond the specialized restaurants serving pho, bun, broken rice, central style, northern style cuisines that dominate little saigon. I didn’t mean to imply these dishes are less worthy of trying despite it being labled “common” food by Vietnamese.

In fact, I think this type of home style of Vietnamese food is underrepresented and SHOULD be more well known, especially among non Vietnamese who are looking to delve beyond the popularized dishes Vietnamese food is known for. I would totally recommend the Canh Chua (Sour soup with fish) and the Ca Kho To (caramelized catfish) and Thit Kho Chung (braised pork belly and eggs) as a start. If Pho is the national dish of Vietnam, some might argue these dishes are the heart and soul of Vietnamese cuisine. I personally have not been to Mai’s but if my grandma or mother were to cook for me these would be the three dishes I would request and judge this restaurant on.

Just as there are homestyle korean restaurants amongst the sea of kbbq in Ktown I hope more of these home style Vietnamese spots pop up in the future in Little Saigon. As many have stated, there are scattered home style vietnamese in the SGV and little saigon for years now but it’s an overlooked segment (by Viet and Non-Viet alike) of Vietnamese cuisine

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