Mi Quang (turmeric rice noodles with pork and shrimp cake)
Banh Uot Cuon Thit Nuong (grilled pork wrapped with rice noodles, the answer to the next level spring roll)
Com Tam GA (chicken)
Lots of love for the good ol’ 408! I have been visiting here and hanging out with my grandparents and uncle since I was a toddler. San Jose has one of the highest Vietnamese populations in the US, so you know the food has to be good.
When in San Jose, I’m always in exploration mode, looking for tasty Vietnamese food. In this past trip I took it back to the old school. I was looking for one of my favorite dishes, Mi Quang (turmeric rice noodles with pork and shrimp), and the search led me to Quan Hue in the Lion Plaza food court. I used to go to this food court with my family when I was a kid, so it was interesting dining now with an adult pallet. And don’t be fooled – Vietnamese food courts in their many strip malls can serve just as good food as in a fancy restaurant at half the price.
I was very impressed with Quan Hue with its vast selection of the Hue region’s best creations. Of course I ordered the Mi Quang, which was pretty spot on with flavor, spices, acidity and with the pork and shrimp cake. I felt like I was in Vietnam again. We also ordered the Banh Uot Cuon Thit Nuong (grilled pork wrapped with rice noodles, the answer to the next level spring roll). Both of these dishes are hard to come by in Seattle and a treasure when found.
My uncle ordered the Com Tam (broken rice) with grilled chicken and egg served with fish sauce. Com Tam is always a hit because the broken rice absorbs so much flavor of the fish sauce. The Lion Plaza food court is a “nguyen nguyen” situation for authentic Vietnamese food. There’s plenty to choose from, everything’s reasonably priced, no gimmicks, and easy seating. I can see myself eating here on the weekly if I lived in San Jose. Guess in the meantime this is my go-to spot.
Banh Khot aka mini Vietnamese Pancakes
Banh Hoi with Nem noung (meat balls) and pork chops
Com Tom with grilled onions wrapped in beef
You can’t visit the South Bay without having Vietnamese food. San Jose is the second largest Vietnamese population in the US, so you know it has to be good. Per recommendation of miss Instagram Thaoism and Yelpers, we went to Vung Tau for our only Vietnamese meal. Vung Tau is one of San Jose’s longest standing Vietnamese restaurants in rhw community.
The popular dish in Vung Tau, Vietnam, is Banh Khot (mini Vietnamese pancakes with shrimp shavings) and coincidently it is the most popular dish here. The mini cakes are to be wrapped in lettuce and dipped in fish sauce. All I can say is that it’s hella bomb and just like the homeland. The lunch concept at Vung Tau is pretty cool where you get to mix and match your meats (pork chops, grilled pork, grilled beef, pork meatballs, etc) to a rice base carb such com tam, banh hoi, etc. Pretty awesome concept and a way to load up on your protein. Overall the food was good, but for dinner I can see the bill racking up.
Filet Mignon Pho
Kind of looks like Tao
Vitamin Water + G2 Gatorade + Pho = Hangover remedy
Pho real though……and on top of that the choices are either Filet Mignon or Oxtail! After a day of drinking at the pool, hanging out at Thomas Keller’s kitchen, and doing bottle service…. How would I survive the morning and shake this hangover? I have to go find some pho.
So the options are Zine downstairs with the fine filet mignon but with a filet mignon price tag, or cab it to Chinatown which could essentially be the same price of baller pho. In Vegas, pool time is money so less time traveling the congested streets means more time drinking domestic beer and YOLOing at the pool.
The pho at Zine is pretty legit. The broth is balanced and flavorful, the meat is sufficient, and the ingredients are of high quality. The meal definitely hit the spot and suppressed hungover effect. However my qualms were the $18 price tag and well done filet mignon. In all, do go to Zine if you want convenient good pho.