OC for a few days

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From Ngu Binh

Well the “best” Bun Bo Hue of what I have access to here in NorCal is muddled and riddled with MSG (so you will pay the price after the meal), as well as half to quarter assed renditions (some just take their pho broth and remix it a little, and voila, BBH).

So the “norm” in Westminster will easily cream the BS.

Ngu Binh, and other versions similar, is probably as legit as it can get.

Bun Bo Hue So 1, it will suffice if you are looking for a more subdued, subtle version, and perhaps a more home cooking style. I just didn’t want something super heavy after my super tasty banh canh tom cua at Mai Phung.

If you want to kick spices up a notch, you can do so. I did order the Dac Biet which had adequate materials, but certainly not as fulfilling looking at Ngu Binh’s bowl. As far as condiments that come with the bowl, Ngu Binh wins in that category. As far as BBH So 1, that recommendation came from a local Vietnamese friend, and I believe the cashier at Pho Nguyen Hue (who also dug Ngu Binh, but also recommend Gia Hoi Food To Go which I did not try).

It’s like one of those waffle things. I like em! But I wouldn’t say they’re similar.


(Costa Mesa/Newport border)

Had the omakase. The first 7 pieces, we’re just okay. Compared to Ohshima in Orange, the fish presentation and taste was better at Ohshima. I have not tried Kasen and Noguichi, the other legit OC omakase spots.

After the inital 8 though, it got good. The last piece of the 8, was a Blue Crab Handroll, which I enjoyed more than Kazunori.

The Santa Barbara Prawn, Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, and the Hokkaido Scallops were the best of the night. I apperciated that the Chef came back with the fried shrimp heads, very tasty.

The Yellowtail Collar was good with a little of the ponzu, with the best parts near the cartilage/bone.

Saw that they had monk fish liver, and asked to prepare this as sushi. Not as sweet-fatty, but still tasty.

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Going back to the OC next month, looking for a few suggestions for dinner ( too bad I’m not going to LA or Torrance, probably too far to drive to Rowland Heights so won’t consider that either).

May revisit one or two places, and there are tons of great ideas in the Little Saigon Adventures thread for one Vietnamese place (I’ll pick something from there or just stick with Pho 79 if the craving hits).

Any recommendations within 20 to 25 mins from Anaheim for:

good izakaya and/or yakitori (how is Kappo Sui in Costa Mesa?) or any casual Japanese / sushi (not going to consider Hanare Sushi this trip)? I should consider Cafe Hiro, bookmarked it for years but never went.

Korean (up for anything, galbi tang would be great to have on the menu…did Shik Do Rak , Surah, Mo Ran Gak, and Han Yang in the past, likely will go back to Jong Ro Shul Lung Tang for breakfast before I leave town)

boba milk tea shop(s) that tastes as close to Taiwanese style as possible and has that brown sugar milk (or milk tea) drink with splendid boba, and ideally offers solid high mountain oolong tea, or just a good quality brewed cold tea plain (and doesn’t F it up). I see too many millennial Instagram friendly places that just look like a hot mess with a straw.

any good American BBQ places? Smoking Ribs good?

dessert place that’s not too heavy duty, e.g. Japanese style patisserie like Chantilly, decent gelato or ice cream

Thanks so much!

Habuya for Okinawan dishes:


Cream Pan for pastries and some patisserie:
Review credit: @Chowseeker1999


+1 for Cafe Hiro. Their uni pasta is my go-to there, but I think the entire menu is solid. I’ve read that their Christmas Eve pre-fixe is fun, but I’m always committed to family that night.


My favorite izakaya is Shin Sen Gumi in Fountain Valley - might be right at the 20-25 minute mark. There will likely also be a wait but then you can go across the parking lot to Paderia Bakehouse for malasadas.

ST Patisserie

We enjoyed Ember BBQ inside of Native Son Alehouse. Next to 4th St Market in DTSA. Well smoked meats and good sides. Lots of beer on tap as well if you like beers.

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Hi @beefnoguy,

Ooh, welcome back. :slight_smile: Wait, if you’re in Anaheim, while it’s not “close” it’s not too bad to head into L.A. proper for some good food! :wink:

Is it just too tight of a schedule to make that extra drive? (which is unfortunate.)

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Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I’ve been to some of them already, and could consider returning!

Driving an hour+ to dinner in LA in traffic would not work this time round and I’ll save that for another trip.
Westminster / Buena Park / Irvine / Costa Mesa maybe Fullerton and nearby Anaheim would be the limits.

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I am going to try my best here for Dai Lo @beefnoguy , he has droppped so much knowledge on Chinese and Japanese food for a long time on the IntErWeBz so hopefully I do this right…

-Yes to Cafe Hiro for that Japanese-Italian fusion!!!

-Gyutan Tsukasa at Mitsuwa Costa Mesa Food Court probably the best thing to get imo. Of course Santouka is always solid. Great casual meal and the beef tongue had always been good.

-Yea to Cream Pan!!! Probably one of the best Japanese bakeries in So Cal area. Get the cream pans and strawberry croissants, everything else is a bonus.
(Kean Coffee is nearby too, I always grab a pour over then head to Cream Pan)

-Meiji Seimen in Costa Mesa…tiny little Japanese casual spot with udon, soba, and tons of specials/seasonal dishes that is beyond me.

-Anjin in Costa Mesa will cost you some coin to play.

-Habuya I never been but I am very curious about this place. Okinawan is indeed hard to find.


-Yes to Han Yang for a repeat visit! FYI that dank ass mustard green kimchi can be bought. I think they quoted me $8 or $9 for a jar(don’t know the size). That mustard green kimchi is one of my damn favorites kimchi’s that includes OC and Koreatown.

-Try Mother N Law/Jang Mo Jip they open early for breakfast. You can get their soups and stews for breakfast alongside that kimchi!! Great way to start the day (Disneyland trip?)

-Mhat could hit the spot on a cold day with that dak galbi!!

-Myung Dong Kyoja has a Anaheim location that is just as good as Koreatown location. The kalguksu is good and comforting.

Koreatown OC outposts also includes Ham Ji Park(pork ribs and pork neck stew). Mountain (abalone porridge and soups). Eight Korean BBQ (Pork Belly! 8 different ones! Lol)

Don’t know any good American BBQ joints. Does Hawaiian plate lunches with Flintstone size ribs and short cross cut beef ribs count?

Then hit up Matiki Island BBQ in Anaheim!!

Also has the best damn Mac Salad in So Cal. I don’t fuks with all those Hawaiian chains anymore.

Salt N Straw has a downtown Disney location. Double fist it with a corndog in the other hand.

I will try and think of more.


@JeetKuneBao had a lot of good suggestions. I’ll just add a few

Soon Tofu - Kaju Soft is good and closer to you. But I prefer Yong Dong in Diamond Bar. Both are great on a cold winter day.

Ye Dang on Beach Blvd but for 2 specific dishes only. The first 2 items off their specials menu. The bossam and the meukunji galbi jjim. The bossam is a nice sized portion and comes with all of the nice fixins. The meukunji galbi jjim is very old kim chee made into a jiage with pork ribs on the bone. It’s a huge portion but delicious. My only gripe is they only put in like 8-10 pieces of dduk. I wish they’d put in like 50. Ye Dang also has very good ban chan. If you get lucky they send out spicy raw crab.

If you’re going for Korean BBQ go to Eight but don’t get the 8 flavor pork belly. Get one of the combos. We like the meat here better than Kangho Dong. Both the pork and red meat.


@JeetKuneBao bro, thank you so much!!!

Yes Hiro is on the short list for sure, it’s just a matter of whether I sacrifice an izakaya, ramen (Kitakata) or casual sushi place for this.

I LOVE Gyutan Tsukasa, been there once or twice and I might even go out of my way for that if time permits. I was fairly close to trying the location in Saitama prefecture, apparently a local Japanese chef’s friend’s buddy owns that location over there, and the atmosphere looks damn festive! My favorite at GT Costa Mesa Mitsuwa is the misoyaki version and when you eat it with takana (pickled greens, kind of like Taiwanese beef noodle soup pickled mustard greens but different) it’s so wickedly good you wish you had a nama draft to chase it down with! Santouka I unfortunately never really liked…the one in NorCal I believe they use bags of broth trucked in from somewhere and it’s salty as F…I actually prefer gasp…Ippudo lol.

Cream Pan I had once. I enjoyed it but I’m not sure if that’s what I want after dinner (and depending on what I eat)…I may have walked into ST once if it is in the OC Mix. Isn’t Cream Pan in a complex where a soba restaurant is located? I think at this rate gelato, ice cream, a boba drink, or some fruit based Asian dessert.

Oh yeah I ate at Meiji Seimen before too. I’ll have to take a look and see what other goodies they have. I’m told they may open one in the South Bay (Northern California).

I have been to Eight before, totally good stuff but you really need quite a few people to try everything. One or two plates of the belly and I’m so done for!

Thanks for the other Korean recs! I think I enjoyed the variety at Jong Ro Shul Lung Tang more, and Han Yang’s had fewer choices.

Thanks for all your contributions in the Little Saigon thread! Will seriously have to re-read and comb through them to decide. I loved the Banh Canh Tom Cua at Pho Mai and wouldn’t mind going back there again…but I should try some new things since I rarely make it down there.

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agree with your Japanese suggestions, i might take Tsuruhashi over Anjin though


Thanks for the Habuya rec! Those nimono items look awesome, and having umi budou and mozuku together would be divine to start! Haven’t had a good stewed pig feet in a while (last time probably was in Taipei) and I’m reminded of a visit to an Okinawan izakaya in Hong Kong where i had fantastic oden where one of the items was pig feet where the meat fell off the bone with ease.


Way out of your range. You know all those mountains northeast of LA? Somewhere in there in the city of Altadena at a plaza in the corner is an obsessed perfectionist Italian who makes the best gelato this side of the Boot, perhaps even better than most places. A spoonful of his Pistachio Gelato, mind you not just any pistachios but it has to be a particular Sicilian Pistachio will send your tastebuds to areas it never knew it existed. And his thick spaghetti with twice cooked tomato sauce might be the best pasta I ever had.

His name is Leo Bulgarini.


pho mai unfortunately closed. there’s a few banh canh specialists like banh canh que em & que anh if you’re into the thick rice tapioca style noodles. what viet dishes haven’t you tried yet?

I would make the drive for dinner & gelato @ Leo’s.


Pho Mai is now Mai Phung I believe

For Izakaya perhaps Izakaya Hachi? I don’t know if its what you’re looking for but if it works there’s a location down in Costa Mesa.

Since people are mentioning Cream Pan, I remember seeing a place called Okayama Kobo in Anaheim here on FTC and it looked good. While I haven’t been, it sounds closer to you than Cream Pan if you still want something in that category.