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A diner digging into a bowl of steaming hot beef noodle soup at Pho 79 in Garden Grove.
Hot beef noodle soup at Pho 79
Andrea D’Agosto

21 Incredible Vietnamese Restaurants to Try in Orange County’s Little Saigon

Where to eat in the nation’s largest Vietnamese community

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Hot beef noodle soup at Pho 79
| Andrea D’Agosto

Orange County’s Little Saigon was originally a one-and-a-half mile stretch of Bolsa Avenue in the city of Westminster. As the Vietnamese population grew over the decades, the original business and cultural hub expanded into the neighboring communities of Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, and Santa Ana. Today, Little Saigon is the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam, with a population of almost 200,000, several Vietnamese-language newspapers, and hundreds of restaurants spread over three square miles.

From broken rice with all the fixings to noodle soups from every region, here now are the 21 essential Vietnamese restaurants in OC’s Little Saigon, ordered geographically from north to south.

Removed: 7$ Oc, Oc & Lau, Trieu Chau, Garlic & Chives

Added: Ba Le, Chao Ca Cho Cu, Pho Akaushi, Khoi Hung

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Hoa Sen

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Vegan Vietnamese fare is a treat for carnivores and herbivores alike. The flavors here are true to form, while the mock meats don’t disappoint. The expansive menu means that there’s something for everyone.

Ben Ngu

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Banh it ram is one of Vietnamese cuisine’s great pleasures — little rice dough dumplings stuffed with shrimp and pork sit on top of an airy, crunchy fried rice dough base. Ben Ngu’s rendition is one of Little Saigon’s most popular. Don’t sleep on the mi quảng (a Central Vietnamese noodle dish of wide, flat noodles and various toppings with fresh vegetables and herbs), either.

Pho Akaushi

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Pho Akaushi’s new sleek, modern digs are a departure from the original location inside the Saigon supermarket. It only takes one look at the extra-fine grease bubbles and a taste of that clean-yet-robust broth to know that Pho Akaushi hasn’t forgotten the attention to detail and labor-intensive hustle that got them here. While pricier than most competitors (owing to the use of the restaurant’s eponymous American wagyu), true fans of beef phở will find the experience more than worth the splurge. 

Mai Phung

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Mai Phung specializes in banh canh, a delightfully viscous noodle soup made with thick and rounded tapioca noodles in a pork and crab broth. Also good are the vermicelli rice noodles with grilled pork and egg rolls. Be sure to bring cash.

Khởi Hưng Restaurant

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This French-Vietnamese bistro is tucked into an already inconspicuous strip mall, but follow your nose — the scent of sizzling stone plates of garlic-butter filet mignon and lamb chops intensifies as one approaches this hidden gem. The true star of the show, though, is their bò lúc lắc. Khoi Hung’s rendition is a departure from the more black pepper-forward shaken beef dishes at institutions like Tan Cang Newport Seafood. Khoi Hung’s version comes draped in a buttery, rich gravy that cranks the umami up to 11, and is perfect with a bowl of rice. 

Thach Che Hien Khanh

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Those unfamiliar with Vietnamese desserts may be a bit wary upon seeing legumes, seaweed, and root vegetables swimming in a sea of coconut milk, but it’s a refreshing experience that’s particularly crave-worthy during hot months.

A glass case full of Vietnamese desserts called che
Thach Che Hien Khanh
Andrea D’Agosto

Canton Restaurant - Cháo Cá Chợ Cũ

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At peak hours, Chao Ca Cho Cu is home to the tantalizing scent of grilling onions, turmeric and fresh dill. Practically every table here has the cha ca thang long, a family-sized serving of the Hanoi dish of catfish marinated in turmeric. Less flashy is the must-order fish porridge, a ginger-inflected, brothy number that’s deeply satisfying on its own or with the optional quẩy, or savory fried breadsticks.

Brodard Chateau

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Brodard’s nem nướng cuon might just be the most famous dish in the neighborhood. Carefully tucked inside a rice paper wrapper is lettuce, a cucumber baton, fresh cilantro, pork sausage, and a tightly coiled deep-fried wonton. The warm tương chấm dipping sauce is vital to the experience.

Ngu Binh

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Here at this central Vietnamese restaurant, chef and owner Mai Tran prepares family recipes that she learned in her hometown of Thua Thien. The bún bò Huế  is fantastic dish, as are the bánh ít kẹp bánh ram  — two-story cakes comprised of shrimp-stuffed glutinous rice dumplings perched atop fried glutinous rice cakes. 

Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie

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Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie is home to Little Saigon’s finest French-Vietnamese pastries, including airy baguettes and a pitch-perfect pâté chaud — a savory pastry filled with ground pork or chicken.

For the past three-and-a-half decades, crowds have descended upon this shop for tremendous bowls of pho dac biet brimming with brisket, tripe, and beef meatballs. Fixings can be added and subtracted based on individual tastes, but the broth — rich from long-simmered oxtails and fragrant from charred onions and star anise — is universally slurpable.

A diner digging into a bowl of steaming hot beef noodle soup at Pho 79 in Garden Grove.
Pho 79
Andrea D’Agosto

Tan Cang Newport Seafood

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Often imitated but never duplicated, the original Tan Cang Newport Seafood in this Santa Ana strip mall makes the best stir-fried lobster around. The signature lobster arrives piping hot, hacked into manageable bits, and ready for the taking. Order the tender bò lúc lắc (Vietnamese shaking beef) for the complete surf and turf experience.

An overhead view of the house-special lobster and side dishes at Newport Seafood
House-special lobster at Tan Cang Newport Seafood.
Andrea D’Agosto

Hien Thanh

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Gather a group and head to Hien Thanh for terrific com phan gia dinh, a traditional family-style meal served with plenty of white rice. It’s hard to go wrong with the cá kho (caramelized fish in a claypot) and the canh chua (sour soup), two tried and true Vietnamese staples.   

Pho Nguyen Hue

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The free range birds at this Little Saigon institution are available steamed on their own, but make sure to get it as part of their phở gà — the extra-fine grease bubbles in the broth are evident of a thorough skimming of schmaltz, resulting in a refreshing, clean broth that’s good to the last drop.

Quán Mii

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There’s something special about the bánh xèo at Quan Mii. The turmeric-laced batter crisps up like no other while the plentiful fillings are balanced just so. The fish sauce accompaniment takes the whole parcel to the next level. 

Thiên Ân Bò 7 Món

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When it comes to bò bảy món, diners are served seven different beef preparations including spiced ground beef wrapped in betel leaves and beef porridge. Served alongside are a host of fresh vegetables, herbs, and rice papers for wrapping. Also of note is the whole baked catfish.

Thành Mỹ

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Thành Mỹ’s noodle dishes are undeniable, but the bun stand out. Industriously prepared toppings like a great chả giò (Vietnamese-style egg rolls) and large grilled shrimp are just a few of the things that dress the restaurant’s chewy, thicker rice noodles. Bring it all together with a healthy pour of their sweet and savory nước chấm.

Song Long Restaurant

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Song Long’s cha ca Thang Long takes turmeric and ginger marinated catfish fillets and serves them on sizzling plates that emit a fragrant steam of dill and onion. Served with an extra funky mam nem, or fermented anchovy sauce, along with herbs and vermicelli noodles, the dish balances earthy, savory, sweet and tangy flavors. Other standouts include the escargot and Vietnamese steak frites served with herb butter.

Tan Hong Mai

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Tan Hong Mai specializes in banh cuon made the traditional way, steamed over mesh in fine sheets. The slightly opaque rice sheets come filled with minced pork and wood ear mushrooms, and served with fish sauce, beansprouts, and different proteins.

Ba Lẹ Sandwiches

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This humble storefront (that also sells lottery tickets — don’t ask) might have Korean dramas with Vietnamese subtitles blaring from the TV and a surly looking Vietnamese lady taking your order. It’s part of the charm of Ba Le, but the magic in their banh mi is in the bread — warm, crunchy with an ethereal airy crumb, it’s hands down one of the best values in food. Make sure to eat the sandwich quickly — that crumb doesn’t travel well, and you might spot a certain Eater writer eating one in his car in the parking lot.

Thanh Restaurant

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Broken rice with all the fixings is what it’s all about at Com Tam Thanh. Choose from grilled pork, shredded pork with pork skin, or meat-stuffed tofu wrappers, and most importantly, don’t forget the fried egg to top it all off.

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Hoa Sen

Vegan Vietnamese fare is a treat for carnivores and herbivores alike. The flavors here are true to form, while the mock meats don’t disappoint. The expansive menu means that there’s something for everyone.

Ben Ngu

Banh it ram is one of Vietnamese cuisine’s great pleasures — little rice dough dumplings stuffed with shrimp and pork sit on top of an airy, crunchy fried rice dough base. Ben Ngu’s rendition is one of Little Saigon’s most popular. Don’t sleep on the mi quảng (a Central Vietnamese noodle dish of wide, flat noodles and various toppings with fresh vegetables and herbs), either.

Pho Akaushi

Pho Akaushi’s new sleek, modern digs are a departure from the original location inside the Saigon supermarket. It only takes one look at the extra-fine grease bubbles and a taste of that clean-yet-robust broth to know that Pho Akaushi hasn’t forgotten the attention to detail and labor-intensive hustle that got them here. While pricier than most competitors (owing to the use of the restaurant’s eponymous American wagyu), true fans of beef phở will find the experience more than worth the splurge. 

Mai Phung

Mai Phung specializes in banh canh, a delightfully viscous noodle soup made with thick and rounded tapioca noodles in a pork and crab broth. Also good are the vermicelli rice noodles with grilled pork and egg rolls. Be sure to bring cash.

Khởi Hưng Restaurant

This French-Vietnamese bistro is tucked into an already inconspicuous strip mall, but follow your nose — the scent of sizzling stone plates of garlic-butter filet mignon and lamb chops intensifies as one approaches this hidden gem. The true star of the show, though, is their bò lúc lắc. Khoi Hung’s rendition is a departure from the more black pepper-forward shaken beef dishes at institutions like Tan Cang Newport Seafood. Khoi Hung’s version comes draped in a buttery, rich gravy that cranks the umami up to 11, and is perfect with a bowl of rice. 

Thach Che Hien Khanh

A glass case full of Vietnamese desserts called che
Thach Che Hien Khanh
Andrea D’Agosto

Those unfamiliar with Vietnamese desserts may be a bit wary upon seeing legumes, seaweed, and root vegetables swimming in a sea of coconut milk, but it’s a refreshing experience that’s particularly crave-worthy during hot months.

A glass case full of Vietnamese desserts called che
Thach Che Hien Khanh
Andrea D’Agosto

Canton Restaurant - Cháo Cá Chợ Cũ

At peak hours, Chao Ca Cho Cu is home to the tantalizing scent of grilling onions, turmeric and fresh dill. Practically every table here has the cha ca thang long, a family-sized serving of the Hanoi dish of catfish marinated in turmeric. Less flashy is the must-order fish porridge, a ginger-inflected, brothy number that’s deeply satisfying on its own or with the optional quẩy, or savory fried breadsticks.

Brodard Chateau

Brodard’s nem nướng cuon might just be the most famous dish in the neighborhood. Carefully tucked inside a rice paper wrapper is lettuce, a cucumber baton, fresh cilantro, pork sausage, and a tightly coiled deep-fried wonton. The warm tương chấm dipping sauce is vital to the experience.

Ngu Binh

Here at this central Vietnamese restaurant, chef and owner Mai Tran prepares family recipes that she learned in her hometown of Thua Thien. The bún bò Huế  is fantastic dish, as are the bánh ít kẹp bánh ram  — two-story cakes comprised of shrimp-stuffed glutinous rice dumplings perched atop fried glutinous rice cakes. 

Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie

Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie is home to Little Saigon’s finest French-Vietnamese pastries, including airy baguettes and a pitch-perfect pâté chaud — a savory pastry filled with ground pork or chicken.

Pho 79

A diner digging into a bowl of steaming hot beef noodle soup at Pho 79 in Garden Grove.
Pho 79
Andrea D’Agosto

For the past three-and-a-half decades, crowds have descended upon this shop for tremendous bowls of pho dac biet brimming with brisket, tripe, and beef meatballs. Fixings can be added and subtracted based on individual tastes, but the broth — rich from long-simmered oxtails and fragrant from charred onions and star anise — is universally slurpable.

A diner digging into a bowl of steaming hot beef noodle soup at Pho 79 in Garden Grove.
Pho 79
Andrea D’Agosto

Tan Cang Newport Seafood

An overhead view of the house-special lobster and side dishes at Newport Seafood
House-special lobster at Tan Cang Newport Seafood.
Andrea D’Agosto

Often imitated but never duplicated, the original Tan Cang Newport Seafood in this Santa Ana strip mall makes the best stir-fried lobster around. The signature lobster arrives piping hot, hacked into manageable bits, and ready for the taking. Order the tender bò lúc lắc (Vietnamese shaking beef) for the complete surf and turf experience.

An overhead view of the house-special lobster and side dishes at Newport Seafood
House-special lobster at Tan Cang Newport Seafood.
Andrea D’Agosto

Hien Thanh

Gather a group and head to Hien Thanh for terrific com phan gia dinh, a traditional family-style meal served with plenty of white rice. It’s hard to go wrong with the cá kho (caramelized fish in a claypot) and the canh chua (sour soup), two tried and true Vietnamese staples.   

Pho Nguyen Hue

The free range birds at this Little Saigon institution are available steamed on their own, but make sure to get it as part of their phở gà — the extra-fine grease bubbles in the broth are evident of a thorough skimming of schmaltz, resulting in a refreshing, clean broth that’s good to the last drop.

Quán Mii

There’s something special about the bánh xèo at Quan Mii. The turmeric-laced batter crisps up like no other while the plentiful fillings are balanced just so. The fish sauce accompaniment takes the whole parcel to the next level. 

Related Maps

Thiên Ân Bò 7 Món

When it comes to bò bảy món, diners are served seven different beef preparations including spiced ground beef wrapped in betel leaves and beef porridge. Served alongside are a host of fresh vegetables, herbs, and rice papers for wrapping. Also of note is the whole baked catfish.

Thành Mỹ

Thành Mỹ’s noodle dishes are undeniable, but the bun stand out. Industriously prepared toppings like a great chả giò (Vietnamese-style egg rolls) and large grilled shrimp are just a few of the things that dress the restaurant’s chewy, thicker rice noodles. Bring it all together with a healthy pour of their sweet and savory nước chấm.

Song Long Restaurant

Song Long’s cha ca Thang Long takes turmeric and ginger marinated catfish fillets and serves them on sizzling plates that emit a fragrant steam of dill and onion. Served with an extra funky mam nem, or fermented anchovy sauce, along with herbs and vermicelli noodles, the dish balances earthy, savory, sweet and tangy flavors. Other standouts include the escargot and Vietnamese steak frites served with herb butter.

Tan Hong Mai

Tan Hong Mai specializes in banh cuon made the traditional way, steamed over mesh in fine sheets. The slightly opaque rice sheets come filled with minced pork and wood ear mushrooms, and served with fish sauce, beansprouts, and different proteins.

Ba Lẹ Sandwiches

This humble storefront (that also sells lottery tickets — don’t ask) might have Korean dramas with Vietnamese subtitles blaring from the TV and a surly looking Vietnamese lady taking your order. It’s part of the charm of Ba Le, but the magic in their banh mi is in the bread — warm, crunchy with an ethereal airy crumb, it’s hands down one of the best values in food. Make sure to eat the sandwich quickly — that crumb doesn’t travel well, and you might spot a certain Eater writer eating one in his car in the parking lot.

Thanh Restaurant

Broken rice with all the fixings is what it’s all about at Com Tam Thanh. Choose from grilled pork, shredded pork with pork skin, or meat-stuffed tofu wrappers, and most importantly, don’t forget the fried egg to top it all off.

Related Maps