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Pho at Pho 45, Westminster
Pho at Pho 45, Westminster
Andrew K/Yelp

The Five Best Pho Restaurants in Orange County's Little Saigon

Good morning, Vietnam.

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Pho at Pho 45, Westminster
| Andrew K/Yelp

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As Vietnamese breakfast foods go, you'd be surprised to learn there's a good chance you've tried the most popular one already: Pho, or the beef noodle soup that spawned a thousand bad puns involving the F-bomb, is a breakfast staple in South Vietnam. Head down to Orange County's Little Saigon in Garden Grove and Westminster, though, and there are enough restaurants dishing out the beef soup to make your head spin. From late night pho places ladling out steamy beef broth into the wee hours, to places where spring rolls steal the show, there seems to be a bowl of the stuff for just about everyone.

For the uninitiated, a proper bowl of pho is made from simmering roasted beef bones with spices and caramelized onions for hours. A bed of vermicelli noodles and some meats (most commonly rare beef brisket, meatballs, or chicken) are added to a bowl of the broth prior to serving. Accoutrements include bean sprouts, Vietnamese basil and cilantro, the latter two which are torn and mixed into the broth. The bean sprouts add a crunchy texture and grassy taste that help to diffuse some of the richness from the broth. And finally, for those so inclined, there's the Sriracha hot sauce to spice up the proceedings.

Little Saigon in Orange County, a 40-minute drive from Downtown L.A., is home to the largest Vietnamese population outside Vietnam. Naturally, there are enough pho restaurants here to take at least a few months to try in earnest. We've done the work for you, so here are five bowls to try once you get there.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Phở 79

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9941 Hazard Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 531-2490
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Not to be confused with its SGV counterpart, Pho 79's Little Saigon location has the longevity and pedigree, plus it's still got the bowl of aromatic goods to back it up. Star anise-infused steam billows out from bowls of robust brown broth at this Little Saigon institution that's seemingly always packed. The fatty beef brisket adds another dimension of richness for a noodle soup that's truly one-of-a-kind in Westminster. For those inclined to the extra spice, this might be the best in Little Saigon.

2. Pho Kim Quy

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11035 Warner Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 775-1699

Disregard the salty Yelp reviews, where Pho Kim Quy holds a 3-star average. This family-run institution has been around for decades and has withstood the test of time by serving one of the best bowls in OC. Dig into your favorite beef cut and ask for xi quach on the side: Blanched beef rib bones that are used for making the pho broth, with meat on, for less than $5. Reunite the meat with the broth to add a little extra meaty heft to your noodle soup.

3. Phở Đakao

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15532 Ward St
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 531-2009

For chicken pho (or pho ga), it's always Pho Dakao. The inconspicuous chicken pho institution claims to use organic birds in their chicken stock and meat, and the resultant broth livens up the usual green onion-cilantro mixture. It also gives the usually beef-based soup a slightly saltier and altogether more refreshing flavor profile.

4. Phở 45

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9240 Garden Grove Blvd Ste 19
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 537-9000

Pho 45 isn't going to set the world on fire with its homegrown authenticity or its South Vietnamese bona fides, but there's an exceptional bowl of filet mignon pho here. The more tender meat is better suited for a counter balance with those crunchy bean sprouts and raw onions and is a great entry-level pho experience for the uninitiated.

5. Pho Nguyen Hue

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10487 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 839-8916

This spartan pho shop off Bolsa Ave has a little something for everyone, including an excellent chicken pho with options like adding gizzard and liver for those so inclined. If you're feeling extra bold, Pho Nguyen Hue has something for you: Pho Pin Xe Lua. The beef broth comes with all of the usual beef noodle soup trappings: noodles, flank, tripe, tendon, and a nicely seasoned savory broth that's plenty up to the task of adding flavor to the final ingredient: bull penis. As one would expect, bull's penis has varying textures, from tough and cartilage-like to meltingly soft. What it sort of doesn't have is a ton of flavor. Don't let the stunt-like name of the dish fool you, though — Pho Nguyen Hue puts out excellently seasoned, delicious bowls of pho on its own merits, carnivorous esoterica notwithstanding.

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1. Phở 79

9941 Hazard Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

Not to be confused with its SGV counterpart, Pho 79's Little Saigon location has the longevity and pedigree, plus it's still got the bowl of aromatic goods to back it up. Star anise-infused steam billows out from bowls of robust brown broth at this Little Saigon institution that's seemingly always packed. The fatty beef brisket adds another dimension of richness for a noodle soup that's truly one-of-a-kind in Westminster. For those inclined to the extra spice, this might be the best in Little Saigon.

9941 Hazard Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92844

2. Pho Kim Quy

11035 Warner Ave, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Disregard the salty Yelp reviews, where Pho Kim Quy holds a 3-star average. This family-run institution has been around for decades and has withstood the test of time by serving one of the best bowls in OC. Dig into your favorite beef cut and ask for xi quach on the side: Blanched beef rib bones that are used for making the pho broth, with meat on, for less than $5. Reunite the meat with the broth to add a little extra meaty heft to your noodle soup.

11035 Warner Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

3. Phở Đakao

15532 Ward St, Garden Grove, CA 92843

For chicken pho (or pho ga), it's always Pho Dakao. The inconspicuous chicken pho institution claims to use organic birds in their chicken stock and meat, and the resultant broth livens up the usual green onion-cilantro mixture. It also gives the usually beef-based soup a slightly saltier and altogether more refreshing flavor profile.

15532 Ward St
Garden Grove, CA 92843

4. Phở 45

9240 Garden Grove Blvd Ste 19, Garden Grove, CA 92844

Pho 45 isn't going to set the world on fire with its homegrown authenticity or its South Vietnamese bona fides, but there's an exceptional bowl of filet mignon pho here. The more tender meat is better suited for a counter balance with those crunchy bean sprouts and raw onions and is a great entry-level pho experience for the uninitiated.

9240 Garden Grove Blvd Ste 19
Garden Grove, CA 92844

5. Pho Nguyen Hue

10487 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

This spartan pho shop off Bolsa Ave has a little something for everyone, including an excellent chicken pho with options like adding gizzard and liver for those so inclined. If you're feeling extra bold, Pho Nguyen Hue has something for you: Pho Pin Xe Lua. The beef broth comes with all of the usual beef noodle soup trappings: noodles, flank, tripe, tendon, and a nicely seasoned savory broth that's plenty up to the task of adding flavor to the final ingredient: bull penis. As one would expect, bull's penis has varying textures, from tough and cartilage-like to meltingly soft. What it sort of doesn't have is a ton of flavor. Don't let the stunt-like name of the dish fool you, though — Pho Nguyen Hue puts out excellently seasoned, delicious bowls of pho on its own merits, carnivorous esoterica notwithstanding.

10487 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683

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