After striking out a couple of times when ordering Banh Cuon from Nhat Vy, the Missus was, well, how to put it......a bit bitter, perhaps? So we decided to jump in the car and head to "the OC" for another one of the those "two stop" roadtrips. Recent trips to Banh Cuon Tay Ho have left us less than satisfied, so I thought a visit to Pho Tau Bay was in order.
Pho Tau Bay:
A very nondescript, one of a million, type shop in (of course) a strip mall. This one actually in Santa Ana and kind of on the outskirts of all that is Little Saigon, at least for me.
A look at the interior and you quickly realize that this could be but one of hundreds of restaurants in the area. The service is to the point, you sit, are dealt a menu, and you order.
There's really only two items to get here and really only two basic savory items on the menu; pho and banh cuon, which we love....."do what you do and (hopefully) do it well".
Of course we came here for the Banh Cuon...Dac Biet - Lon (large - $7.25).
If you're after a huge plate of thick banh cuon topped with all sorts of fried stuffs, you've come to the wrong place. The banh cuon here is wonderfully thin, tender, with a nice stretch, served at a nice warm temp. The two types of cha lua were fine, but I've had better. It's all served with blanched bean sprouts, very nice, "not from a bottle" fried shallots, and pork sung (pork floss). And even though, like Kirbie has said, that I'm perhaps "the one non-vegetarian she knows that doesn't care for pork sung"......it was not bad here...really Kirbie, really!
Pho Tau Bay L.T.T.
3610 W 1st St
Santa Ana, CA 92703
Isn't it nice when a dish takes you back to another time and place? No, it wasn't as good, but good enough to trigger some images.....
You know what? I thought this pork sung was ok too......
The Missus had also been craving the Banh Nam from Ngu Binh. So, of course this was our second "snack" of the roadtrip.
You can read all about that stuff in my previous post. All I have to say about it is, that the Missus loves the rather thin smear of rice flour dough and the flavor of the banana leaves.
As for me....well FOY (Friend of Yoso) "TFD" mentioned the Com Suon Tom Riem....all I knew was this had rice and shrimp, but I took a flier and chanced it. This was a combination of a wonderful high - the rice was perfect, fragrant, and hot. The spare ribs, aren't really "grilled" but braised to a nice tender, but not falling apart stage. The flavor is the wonderful salty-sweet that elevates pork.
The low was that the shrimp was very one note in flavor; spicy and that's it. No nuance, no balance. It was also fishy, overcooked, and tasted like it had been kept past its "due date", if you know what I mean. I'd love to have that pork again. But no on the shrimp.
Still the Missus got Her Banh Nam....and Her Banh Cuon. All was good in the world, at least for the next few hours!
Ngu Binh Restaurant
14072 Magnolia St
Westminster, CA 92683