Good morning, Vietnam.
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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