I've mentioned our good friend Beach, a few times. He's a force of nature, with the energy and personality to match. It's really hard to describe him, OC Food Blogger extraordinaire Chubbypanda called him "brash, generous, bold, gregarious, earthy, charismatic, and charming." And he's well known as The Don of Little Saigon to those OC Food Bloggers. Beach has always been amazingly generous to the Missus and I, in fact, we owe much of our Vietnam trip to Beach, who helped us plan it every step of the way. Needless to say, I don't think we'd have had such a great trip without his help. So recently, I met up with Beach, I've covered one short leg of it earlier, in the post on Be Thui. That was but one short part of a whirlwind 2 hour tour of some of Little Saigon's little shops and eateries. And being Beach, he focused on some of the items we had in Vietnam.
So hang on....here goes!
1 - Thach Che Hien Khanh:
This busy little dessert shop with a line going out the door, specializes in Che, a coconut milk - tapioca ball dessert...I'm simplifying the definition of Che...there are so many variations!
But we weren't here for the Che...Beach had his mind on a few snacks that I could take home to the Missus. The selection is immense, and the colors vibrant:
From Black sticky rice to the Green rice:
So what did
I Beach suggest for the Missus?
The Green Rice had a very mild sweetness and coconut flavor.
But the Missus really enjoyed the Durian Rice!
Though when Sammy caught a whiff of this, he left the Country! I think She'll gladly have this again.
Thach Che Hien Khanh
9639 Bolsa Ave., #A
Westminster, CA 92683
2 - Huong Huong Food to Go:
Beach also recalled how much the Missus loved the Banh Gio in Hanoi, so our next stop was Huong Huong Food to Go.
For us it was 2 Banh Gio to go. The restaurant has a ton of steam table type dishes...the smells are really tempting. You can read about Huong Huong's offerings, albiet the Westminster location in Elmo's post.
But I was saving myself. When I arrived home the Missus eagerly went for the Banh Gio, heating it up in the microwave.
So how was it? These were much more substantial than what we had in Hanoi. It was much heavier, and the rice flour "wrapper" had a more solid texture. The filling, was well.....very filling, and featured a Quail Egg as the "cherry on the top".
But it was close enough to bring back memories of having breakfast, sitting on kiddie stools, on a street corner of Hanoi.
9892 Westminster Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92844
3 - Cho Ben Thanh Market:
Stop number 3 was Be Thui, you can read that post here.
4 - Thai Binh:
Beach recalled the Pork and Green Rice Patties we had in Bac Ha, and our next stop was Thai Binh. One of those little shops on Brookhurst. From the name, you could tell they specialized in various sausages.
So what did I get here?
According to Beach, it's called Cha Com. This was the defatted lean pork sausage, studded with green rice, which gave it a mild, sweet, nuttiness. It wasn't quite what we had in Bac Ha, which was more crunchy, not as lean, and had a stronger pork flavor. This was a sausage, what we had previously were more like fried fritters. That's not to say this wasn't good....it was quite tasty, if a bit on the oily side, and made some pretty good sandwiches. In other words, if you're selling this...sign me up.
14186 Brookhurst St
Garden Grove, CA 92843
And would you believe we still had 2 more stops! Let me tell you, Beach has more energy than a mallrat with a brand new credit card! I know Beach will call me a tease, but I'll be stopping here for the night, and let you tell me about some of your favorite places in Little Saigon......
Part 2 to come!