Archive for the ‘eats’ Category

big bites in little saigon part II

  • Filed under: eats
Oct 4, 2010

As promised, the second half of my assignment for Riviera Magazine, and below, another excerpt from Miles:

Vien Dong

“Northern Vietnam has produced a number of the country’s most iconic dishes, including pho, which is nearing total assimilation into the American appetite. Vien Dong is no less canonical. The restaurant has for decades been a Little Saigon staple, gleaming and spacious with musical instruments fastened to the walls and a fish tank casting a cool blue glow toward the door.

Start with cha gio, egg rolls fried until their rice-paper skins blister with beautiful little bubbles. Then go to work on the bun cha ha noi, a deconstructed noodle bowl assembled at the table. Wriggle free a few noodles, prune the herbs—cilantro, perilla and the like—and top it all with charred pork submerged in sweetened fish sauce. Bun rieu is a noodle soup of the sea, a mildly sour tomato-based broth swimming with crab, shrimp and, optionally, periwinkle snails.”

Find the rest here.

bún chả ha noi (rice vermicelli noodles with grilled pork patties)

bún riêu oc (tomato noodle soup with crab and periwinkle snails)

chả giò (egg rolls with minced pork)

Vien Dong
14271 Brookhurst Street
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 531-8253

Quan Hy

bánh bèo (steamed rice cakes with chopped shrimp, fried shallots, and scallion)

goi bap chuoi hen (manila clam salad with shredded banana blossom)

perks of restaurant food photography, sampling the dishes.

Quan Hy
9727 Bolsa Avenue
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 775-7179


bánh khọt (coconut pancake cups with shrimp and mung bean)

nem nướng cuốn (rice paper rolls with grilled pork patties)

9892 Westminster Avenue, Suite R
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 530-1744

big bites in little saigon

  • Filed under: eats
Sep 30, 2010

Recently I had the pleasure of working with my friend Miles Clements on a piece for Riviera Magazine: a roundup of Little Saigon restaurants representing regional fare from Northern, Central, and Southern Vietnam. If you know me, I have an ongoing love affair with Vietnamese food, so this assignment was right up my alley. Lucky me.

Miles wanted to cover a couple of restaurants from each of the three regions; half of them were very familiar to me, the others were places I had yet to try. I had to schedule and shoot six restaurants in under a week, and though it was a bit hectic, I had an awesome time meeting the all the wonderful people behind the food. Unfortunately the article was only two pages long, so I’m going to share some of the photos that ended up on the cutting room floor. These are from the first three I shot, the remaining will come in another post.

from Miles:

“Vietnam’s regional cuisines are universes in themselves, each born of a unique culinary cosmology and each requiring separate exploration. The south celebrates seafood harvested from the Mekong River’s muddy tributaries as well as its abundance of tropical fruits — alien things armored in dull spikes and fleshy tendrils. Up the central coast, soups are slicked with chile oil, and rice flour is transformed into supple dumplings and diaphanous crepes. Noodles are ubiquitous in the north, pan-fried into beef-soaked sheets and steeped in heady chicken and crab broths.

Within Orange County’s Little Saigon (with its three story strip malls and mom-and-pop kitchens) are those very dishes. Restaurants here often specialize in regional cooking, like embassies of southern, central and northern Vietnamese flavors.”

Read the rest of Miles’ story here.

Xanh Bistro

chef/owner Haley Nguyen; canh chua (sour soup); the lovely interior adorned with vintage b&w photos from Vietnam; my favorite, ca kho to (braised fish in a black pepper caramel sauce)

canh ca thi la (fish soup with tomatoes and dill)

Xanh Bistro
16161 Brookhurst Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 531-2030

Hà Nội Restaurant


in the kitchen; house special cha ca thang long (grilled turmeric catfish with dill and onion)

banh tom (fried sweet potato with shrimp)

Hà Nội Restaurant
9082 Bolsa Avenue
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 901-8108

Ngu Binh

banh it kep banh ram (glutinous rice cakes); bun bo hue (beef noodle soup); combo #13 - banh beo, bah bot loc, banh nam

mi quang (dry egg noodles with pork, shrimp, and fishcake)

Ngu Binh
14072 Magnolia Street #107
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 903-6000