1. Doing Vietnamese Food in San Jose

    Quan Hue San Jose

    Mi Quang (turmeric rice noodles with pork and shrimp cake)

    Thit Nuong Quan Hue

    Banh Uot Cuon Thit Nuong (grilled pork wrapped with rice noodles, the answer to the next level spring roll)

    Com Tam San Jose

    Com Tam GA (chicken)

    Lion Plaza San Jose

    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.

    Quan Hue on Urbanspoon

  2. Homeland food at Vung Tau (San Jose)

    Vung Tau

    Banh Khot aka mini Vietnamese Pancakes

    Vung Tau San Jose

    Banh Hoi with Nem noung (meat balls) and pork chops

    Vung Tau

    Com Tom with grilled onions wrapped in beef

    Vung Tau

    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.

    Vung Tau on Urbanspoon

  3. Baller Pho at Zine - Las Vegas

    Zine Las Vegas Pho

    Filet Mignon Pho

    Oxtail Pho

    Oxtail Pho

    Zine Las Vegas

    Kind of looks like Tao

    Zine Las Vegas

    Vitamin Water + G2 Gatorade + Pho = Hangover remedy

    Zine Las Vegas

    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.  

    Zine Noodles Dim Sum (Palazzo) on Urbanspoon

  4. bbq pork, bok choy, and shitake mushrooms

NY Steak and Banh Hoi

Bun Bo Hue with oxtail, brisket, and the pig hoof
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. For this special day I wanted to shoutout my moms joy for cooking Vietnamese food. Nothing beats moms cooking. My mom is so kind to put together dishes with my suggestions for components. 
Also, I did a mini mother’s day write-up on NW Asian Weekly on a memorable Mother’s Day experience. Love you moms!
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    bbq pork, bok choy, and shitake mushrooms

    NY Steak and Banh Hoi

    Bun Bo Hue with oxtail, brisket, and the pig hoof

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. For this special day I wanted to shoutout my moms joy for cooking Vietnamese food. Nothing beats moms cooking. My mom is so kind to put together dishes with my suggestions for components. 

    Also, I did a mini mother’s day write-up on NW Asian Weekly on a memorable Mother’s Day experience. Love you moms!

  5. Deep Fried Shrimp Stuffed Crab Legs (fave)

1st course, no introduction needed

Birds nest with Quail Eggs, Fish Cake, and Vegetables

Lobster over Chow Mein

Peking Duck

Fried Quail

Wedding Party and the Entertainment! Gotta love Vietnamese Music

My attempts at a toast, but the Henny got me. 

My Cousin Anna’s Wedding (at Jumbo Seafood)
I love my family and my trip last year to Vietnam has made me appreciate more and love the tradition, culture, history, and celebrations. Vietnamese weddings are a bash! A 10 course meal, celebrating with the family, dressing up, drinks, Vietnamese music, seeing kids grown up, catching up, and my poor attempts to speak Vietnamese.
I had the pleasure of attending my cousin Anna’s wedding as she married Nick (cousin in law). It was an awesome time and you could feel the happiness as you walked into the room. I totally love the 10 course meal as it started strong with the Jelly fish (not pictured) and Deep fried stuff shrimp but later tapered a little with the Peking duck. In all it was an awesome time and the value of family time is priceless.
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    Deep Fried Shrimp Stuffed Crab Legs (fave)

    1st course, no introduction needed

    Birds nest with Quail Eggs, Fish Cake, and Vegetables

    Lobster over Chow Mein

    Peking Duck

    Fried Quail

    Wedding Party and the Entertainment! Gotta love Vietnamese Music

    My attempts at a toast, but the Henny got me. 

    My Cousin Anna’s Wedding (at Jumbo Seafood)

    I love my family and my trip last year to Vietnam has made me appreciate more and love the tradition, culture, history, and celebrations. Vietnamese weddings are a bash! A 10 course meal, celebrating with the family, dressing up, drinks, Vietnamese music, seeing kids grown up, catching up, and my poor attempts to speak Vietnamese.

    I had the pleasure of attending my cousin Anna’s wedding as she married Nick (cousin in law). It was an awesome time and you could feel the happiness as you walked into the room. I totally love the 10 course meal as it started strong with the Jelly fish (not pictured) and Deep fried stuff shrimp but later tapered a little with the Peking duck. In all it was an awesome time and the value of family time is priceless.

    Grand Jumbo Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

  6. Oxtail Pho

Pork Belly Banh Xeo

Hai Gow
Monsoon Seattle (Brunch)
The Monsoon Seattle brunch is quite a luxurious Vietnamese dining experience. The ingredients are high quality and cooking techniques carefully executed. I love when places look want to advance Vietnamese cuisine. The Oxtail pho was pretty good, fresh, and soothing for cold days. The pork belly banh xeo was cooked to perfection and the pork belly was very succulent, though I wish they had the greenleaf lettuce for wrapping. Monsoon has a higher price tag than other Vietnamese restaurants, but in exchange you get an esquisite dining experience with nicely curated Vietnamese food.
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    Oxtail Pho

    Pork Belly Banh Xeo

    Hai Gow

    Monsoon Seattle (Brunch)

    The Monsoon Seattle brunch is quite a luxurious Vietnamese dining experience. The ingredients are high quality and cooking techniques carefully executed. I love when places look want to advance Vietnamese cuisine. The Oxtail pho was pretty good, fresh, and soothing for cold days. The pork belly banh xeo was cooked to perfection and the pork belly was very succulent, though I wish they had the greenleaf lettuce for wrapping. Monsoon has a higher price tag than other Vietnamese restaurants, but in exchange you get an esquisite dining experience with nicely curated Vietnamese food.

    Monsoon on Urbanspoon

  7. Saigon Deli (Seattle)
This is my go-to spot for Vietnamese sandwiches and the champion is the Banh Mi Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork). It is sweet harmony with the grilled pork, pickled vegetables, cilantro and the savory bread. Fresh, authentic, and packed with flavors.  One of the best sandwich deals in town for $3. Newbies, please watch out for the jalapeno because it will creep up on you.
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    Saigon Deli (Seattle)

    This is my go-to spot for Vietnamese sandwiches and the champion is the Banh Mi Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork). It is sweet harmony with the grilled pork, pickled vegetables, cilantro and the savory bread. Fresh, authentic, and packed with flavors.  One of the best sandwich deals in town for $3. Newbies, please watch out for the jalapeno because it will creep up on you.

    Saigon Deli on Urbanspoon

  8. 

Ink Sack
Being a Top Chef addict, I put it on top of my list to go to Ink, Michael Voltaggio’s spot. However they couldn’t increase my reservations so my homies and I had to roll to Ink Sack. This place is definitely the next level sandwich shop. Since it was dinner time, I got two sandwiches to be full. I must say, the pork butt chicharones banh mi was the real deal. I also had the albacore tuna with butter lettuce and jalapenos which was a great combination, balancing the tuna with spice. Also, the mexican chocolate cookie is one of the best cookies ever. So good I had to take one back to Seattle for my girlfriend.
There’s a chalkboard inside for tagging!
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    Ink Sack

    Being a Top Chef addict, I put it on top of my list to go to Ink, Michael Voltaggio’s spot. However they couldn’t increase my reservations so my homies and I had to roll to Ink Sack. This place is definitely the next level sandwich shop. Since it was dinner time, I got two sandwiches to be full. I must say, the pork butt chicharones banh mi was the real deal. I also had the albacore tuna with butter lettuce and jalapenos which was a great combination, balancing the tuna with spice. Also, the mexican chocolate cookie is one of the best cookies ever. So good I had to take one back to Seattle for my girlfriend.

    There’s a chalkboard inside for tagging!

    ink.sack on Urbanspoon

  9. Pok Pok
One of life’s best creations, the fish sauce fried chicken wings. A hint of spice and hit of flavor. Definitely one of the hippest dishes in Portlandia.

    Pok Pok

    One of life’s best creations, the fish sauce fried chicken wings. A hint of spice and hit of flavor. Definitely one of the hippest dishes in Portlandia.

    Pok Pok on Urbanspoon

  10. Bun Bo Hue
Banh Coun Thit Noung (Grilled Pork)
Banh Xeo

Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant
Green Leaf does a great job bringing the joys of Vietnamese cuisine food to Seattle.. The flavors and preparations are traditional, however the quality of ingredients surpasses many of its Seattle counterparts.  Green Leaf is my go to spot, and hopefully you’ll go to it too :)
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    imageBun Bo Hue

    imageBanh Coun Thit Noung (Grilled Pork)

    imageBanh Xeo

    image

    Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant

    Green Leaf does a great job bringing the joys of Vietnamese cuisine food to Seattle.. The flavors and preparations are traditional, however the quality of ingredients surpasses many of its Seattle counterparts.  Green Leaf is my go to spot, and hopefully you’ll go to it too :)