While Orange County’s Little Saigon is the epicenter Vietnamese food in Southern California, Los Angeles can certainly hold its own when it comes to steaming bowls of pho, generously stuffed banh mi, and herb-filled spring rolls. From vegan Buddhist fare at Vinh Loi Tofu in Reseda to northern Vietnamese hits at Pho Ngoon in San Gabriel, here now are 19 fabulous Vietnamese restaurants to try in Los Angeles.Read More
19 Vibrant Vietnamese Restaurants to Try in Los Angeles
Banh mi, noodle soups, baked catfish, and more
Vinh Loi Tofu
Owner and chef Kevin Tran makes fresh tofu each day for his savory and sweet vegan fare. The Iron Man pho satisfies, while the warm and sweet ginger tofu “pudding” comes through for dessert. The second location in Cerritos is just as solid as the original.
Get a taste of Justin Duong’s Vietnamese creations at Morning Service Coffee in Frogtown, Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The pop-up operates from a bright green food truck and serves fun and delicious renditions of banh mi, tacos, and even tostadas.
Golden Deli Vietnamese Restaurant
Find southern-style Vietnamese food at this perpetually busy, efficiently run, and solid-as-can-be restaurant. Come for the blistered cha gio stuffed with ground pork and woodear mushrooms, and stay for a bowl of pho, a platter of broken rice, or cool vermicelli noodles.
Com Tam Thuan Kieu Restaurant
Broken rice served with a plethora of proteins is what it’s all about at this long-standing restaurant. Toppings include shredded pork dusted in roasted rice powder, pork meatloaf, grilled shrimp paste, grilled pork, and more. Make sure to order a fried egg to top it all off.
Tet-a-Tet pops up at Silver Lake’s All Day Baby from Wednesday through Saturday at dinnertime. The menu draws from chef Jonathan Whitener’s formative years raised in Westminster, California, along with owner Lien Ta’s Vietnamese heritage. The vibrant menu includes a spicy beef salad, banh xeo (crispy turmeric crepe), and Whitener’s personal favorite: an oxtail stew made with hominy, star anise, Mexican canela, and palm sugar.
Find Vietnamese comfort and street foods at Bé Ù in East Hollywood. Chef and owner Uyên Lê takes great pride in every dish on the menu, but is particularly fond of the banh mi. The sandwiches come stuffed with lemongrass chicken, pork, and beef; try the chef’s favorite vegan sandwich filled with tofu and a house-made pate.
The specialty here is northern Vietnam’s greatest hits. The bun cha, the region’s quintessential dish, comes with charbroiled pork patties and pork belly soaking in fish sauce. An order of the nem cua be, beautifully blistered crab and pork egg rolls, is an absolute must.
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Banh Cuon Tay Ho
The original Tay Ho restaurant opened in Orange County’s Little Saigon back in 1986 and served banh cuon — delicate rice flour crepes filled with ground pork and woodear mushrooms. Fast-forward to 2022, and the eldest granddaughter of Tay Ho’s founder has modernized the brand and brought it to LA. While the house-special banh cuon is rightfully famous, it’s the fish sauce wings that surprise and dazzle.
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Vietnamese meatballs (nem) are a curiously loud bunch that snap and squeak at first bite. Here, grilled pork meatballs and skewers are served on grand platters along with rice papers for wrapping and a forest of greens for garnishing.
LA’s historic Chinatown plays host to some of the city’s finest Vietnamese cooking. Phở 87’s winding menu includes dozens of iterations of Vietnam’s iconic beef noodle soup, but the one to order is the pho dac biet that includes a bit of every beefy cut like brisket, tendon, flank, and tripe.
Pho Ga District
It’s hard to find a bowl of chicken pho better than the ones made by Phan Tran at Pho Ga District. The bun mang vit, noodle soup with duck and bamboo shoots, is stellar as well.
Thien Tam Vegetarian Restaurant
The key to excellent Vietnamese vegetarian fare is a killer mock nuoc cham (fish sauce vinaigrette), and nobody makes it better than the folks at Thien Tam. Dig into platters of broken rice prettied with seasoned wheat gluten molded into various forms, as well as classic noodle soups that manage to satisfy without any animal proteins.
Linh Phuong Nguyen makes one of the city’s best bowls of southern-style pho at this worn-in restaurant straddling the border between Rosemead and South El Monte. While the filet mignon that comes standard with every bowl is a cut above the rest, it’s Nguyen’s unparalleled broth that distinguishes her product from the dozens of pho hawkers in town.
Kim Hoa Hue
Every meal at this temple of central Vietnamese fare should begin with the Hue combo, a sample platter of banh beo (steamed rice cakes topped with shrimp and cracklins), banh nam (rice cakes embedded with shrimp and steamed in banana leaves), and banh bot loc (shrimp and pork dumplings). Follow it up with the com hen — a bowl of steamed rice, baby clams, sesame seeds, and fresh herbs served with a light clam broth.
Banh Xeo Quan
Banh Xeo Quan, also known as Mr. Rice, specializes in Vietnamese crepes. Owner Phi Tran opened the restaurant to bring this southern Vietnamese specialty to the San Gabriel Valley. Banh xeo, which literally means “sizzling cake,” earned its name from the sound the batter makes when it hits the scorching pan. The result is a thin crepe that’s crisp and delicate throughout with lacy, caramelized edges. Stuffed inside are bean sprouts, mushrooms, shrimp, and pork. Go ahead and upgrade to the banh xeo dac biet for extra filling.
Sáu Can Tho Vietnamese Kitchen
The signature dish at Sáu Can Tho is baked catfish (ca dut lo hau giang). The fish’s prized crispy skin, charred in some spots and golden throughout, gives way to moist and tender flesh imbued with honey and turmeric. Served on the side are herbs and lettuce, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber spears, vermicelli rice noodles, rice papers, and best of all, a tangy-sweet tamarind dipping sauce. Call ahead to reserve the catfish to avoid a long wait.
Hue Thai Bakery & Deli
This no-frills deli makes a mean banh mi. The bread, impeccably fresh and made in-house at all hours of the day, provides an impressive canvas for the scratch-made pickles, pate, bologna, and head cheese.
Thien Huong Restaurant
Find Thien Huong Restaurant tucked into the ground floor of Far East Plaza in Chinatown. The extensive menu runs the gamut, but regulars can’t resist the pho ga (chicken noodle soup) and the bun bo Hue (Hue-style beef and lemongrass noodle soup).
Hidden away in the food court of Rosemead’s Square Supermarket lies Hien Khanh, a Little Saigon import that makes the very best Vietnamese desserts in town. Those unfamiliar with the genre may be a bit wary upon seeing legumes, seaweed, and root vegetables swimming in a sea of coconut milk, but there’s no need to hesitate because everything tastes stupendous.