The Missus was in the mood and craving some springrolls and the natural answer to that would be Brodard, which I've been to but never posted on. But just the thought of visiting on a Saturday....well, we wanted something else, so I did a bit of research and after reading Elmo's post, decided to head on over to Westminster and....
This tiny shop on McFadden is supposed to be "The" challenger to Brodard for supposed springroll supremacy in Little Saigon, how could we not try it. The guy running the place is really nice, friendly, and seems to sincerely want you to enjoy your meal...he's quite chatty and will talk about anything from the parking situation (really bad) to what he eats on his day off (anything but Vietnamese). As you can tell it's obvious what this place is all about from that lovely photo on the menu, and in fact, if anything the springrolls we got on our plate actually looked better.
It's also wonderful that they have a combination of 2 Nem Nuong Cuon (pork sausage) and 2 Chao Tom Cuon (shrimp sausage/paste) on the menu for $6.99. These looked so wonderfully bright and fresh, I couldn't wait to take a bite.....which kinda ended my total admiration for these. First, the great....absolutely loved the fried egg roll wrappers in the middle, it just brought the texture up a level adding a wonderful crunch to everything. The good, loved the way these were wrapped, not too tight, and the wrappers weren't too thick. The mediocre, man that nem nuong and chao tom were bland...we actually pulled out pieces to have a taste. There didn't seem to have enough mint or herbs in these to give it that nice "pop' of flavor. The tuong - dipping sauce was really sweet and had an eggy flavor that the Missus wasn't too fond of.
Luckily, we also ordered the combination broken rice with BBQ pork chop $8.89:
Other than the shrimp, which was rubbery and very plain tasting, and perhaps the pork chop which the Missus thought was too sweet, but I enjoyed, this was a unanimous thumbs up......it's really hard to get the perfect broken rice plate and this was darn close. The rice was awesome, right amount of moisture for our taste and more importantly, fragrant. The Missus, who has declared Herself a non-pork eater loved the Bi, which had the right ration of skin to meat to rice powder and was also just moist enough. The cha, steamed egg and pork cake was also tasty and fresh....and not to belabor the point, moist. Ditto the shrimp in beancurd wrapper.
The nuoc mam cham was also excellent, if also a bit on the sweet side. Overall, I'd gladly return for the com tam, it was the best I've had in a while.
The Missus on the other hand was looking forward to some good Goi Cuon and was a bit perturbed....
10032 McFadden Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683
The Missus wanted something dependable and flavorful.....and She had one place in mind:
Vientiane Thai Laos Restaurant:
The raw shrimp salad looked even better today:
And it was....in addition way more spicy as well. They never ask us how spicy we want our food here...so we just take it as it comes. This was delicious, but man it was hot. The Missus had mild burns around Her lips....no biggie though. I just couldn't stop eating that sauce....
The Nam Khao had good flavor, but wasn't as crunchy as on previous visits. Still, I just love this, it's one of my "desert island dishes".
We decided to order one more item and chose the garlic shrimp....which the Missus loved. She ate most of it, I had one piece but really couldn't taste anything because my tastebuds had been killed by that shrimp. When I recovered a bit, the shrimp was gone, but I had a taste of the caramelized garlic, which was done right....it tasted like "garlic candy".
So the Missus has another dish to order when we return.
Vientiane Thai Laos Restaurant
10262 Westminster Ave
We hit up Marukai in Costa Mesa on the way back and got some great looking black cod, so the Missus ended up getting misoyaki black cod for a couple of days......so in the end, it was a happy roadtrip for Her.