During their colonization of Vietnam, the French exploited plenty of Vietnamese peasants in their Michelin rubber plantations, but they also left behind their cooking techniques. That's why coffee, French bread, yogurt, flan, and pastries are a regular part of Vietnamese cuisine.
Little Saigon has plenty of French-Vietnamese restaurants, or French-influenced Vietnamese bakeries. Though Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie is owned by Vietnamese-Americans, the pastry chef is actually French. So you're getting the real deal.
How French is it? Well, if none of the Vietnamese Americans are at the counter, you'll have to rely on your French to order from the French dudes. Or do what I do when in Paris - say "Bonjour," point to what you want, hold up the number of fingers you'd like to eat, and say "Merci." My French skills are so talented, aren't they? :)
The bakery's French specialties include Mille Feuille, Chantecler, MarbreChoco, Delice-Marquise, Opera, Charlotte, Castel, Alcazar, Fraisier, Choco-Choc, and MontBlanc pastries. If you know French and know exactly what that all means, then great. Or again, you can adopt my technique to score some pretty pastries.
Really pretty pastries.
I only had $6 in my pocket so my options were a little limited. This little custard fruit tart was $1.50. I bought two.
Small coffee and chocolate eclairs were $1 each. In attempting to get the perfect picture, I balanced the two eclairs on the lid of the box. Chubbypanda accidentally knocked one down, hurriedly apologized, and ran off to buy me another in a size large. What a gentleman!
As for the small chocolate eclair that fell on the ground, Chubbypanda ate it! He gave me permission to share this little tidbit because he said it will only help to build his food cred. He also mentioned something about China's 3,000 years of history, culinary traditions, and famine, but I'm too scatterbrained to recall the exact words now. But as Chubbypanda says, "A panda doesn't get chubby by wasting food."
Sorry, no picture of the size large. I was too busy eating it. :P
May 6, 2011 update:
In February 2010, I was in the neighborhood and decided to try one of their sandwiches for comparison. A long baguette.
The usual Vietnamese fillings.
Overall, just OK. And at $3 each, pretty pricey. I'll stick to my 3 for $5 banh mi from Banh Mi & Che CALI Bakery - Westminster (Little Saigon).
And of course, from my recent Exploration of Vietnamese Regional Cuisine, North, Central, and South in Little Saigon, we stopped off for some coconut macaroons, eclairs, and a chocolate almond croissant. Chocolate and almond inside the croissant! I was in heaven.
But after the incident on Day 285, Boulangerie Pierre is now off my list.
Happy Bakery - San Gabriel
Kee Wah Bakery - Monterey Park
Kiki Bakery - Alhambra
Kiki Bakery - Monterey Park
MoMo Bakery - Alhambra
Vanille de Patisserie - San Marino
Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie
14352 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843