A few weeks ago, one of my third-cousins got married. What's a third-cousin? Her maternal grandfather was first-cousins with my ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother). So her mom and my dad are second-cousins. Hence, she and I are third-cousins.
The wedding reception was held at Regent West Restaurant in Santa Ana. It's located on First Street, right after it changes from Bolsa Avenue as you cross the border from Westminster. So still in the heart of Little Saigon.
I was subbing for my parents so I was seated at a table with my youngest and second-youngest uncles and their wives. The other half of the table were people from our hometown. There were 31 tables altogether.
I really liked the autumnal effect and simplicity of this centerpiece. It was located a little bit inside the entrance. As you enter, to the left of the entrance was the picture-taking area with columns and huge floral bouquets.
Yes, the flowers were real. :)
The centerpieces. The bride made all the centerpiece arrangements herself.
Of course, no Vietnamese wedding reception is complete without cognac. I've eaten at Regent once before, long ago, so memory escapes me of what the food was like. The walls were all draped in white, which created a bit of a tent-effect.
Since Vietnamese are notoriously late to receptions, I've noticed a trend to serve appetizers and cocktails. Also, this was the night the most recent wildfires had broken out so several freeways were closed. My youngest aunt and oldest uncle set out at the same time I did but took another route and ended up arriving 45 minutes later.
Anyway, so while I was waiting for the reception to start, I moseyed on back to get a look at the punch fountain.
Fruit, Vietnamese coffee gelatin, and cassava cake.
There were mini pa te so (Vietnamese pate chaud) too.
When it was time for the bride and groom to come out, the restaurant coordinator rolled out the walkway and sprinkled fresh rose petals.
Notice the big red balloon on top?
The balloons were all along the walkway and when the bride and groom walked underneath, they popped confetti.
OK, time to eat! That's all you really care about right?
The eight flavor cold cut platter with jelly fish, squid, pork, headcheese, preserved duck eggs, and clams.
I sat at a table with a bunch of hams. Almost everyone wanted to take pictures with the cold cut platter, including my second-youngest uncle who posed with a big grin.
The clams are the long white strips on the bottom left. Mini razor clams? They were awfully good. I like bi-valves. The jelly fish were excellent as well, but I've never met a jelly fish that didn't taste good. And loads of cilantro. That seemed to be a constant theme throughout the night.
Crab and shark fin soup. Excellent.
Boneless chicken with shrimp paste.
I've never seen this dish before so that was pretty unusual. The shrimp paste with just a little bit of chicken meat was good. I didn't care for the breading though. It was a harbinger of breaded dishes ahead.
House special lobster. It's really hard to ruin lobster for me. The whole table attacked this.
Combination stir-fry in bird's nest.
Here's another angle so you can see the effect. The noodles were too thick and crunchy, the stir-fry was too bland. And they used imitation crab. This dish wasn't too popular and there was lots left over.
Crispy duck with steamed buns.
Crispy duck? Yup, it was breaded. I want crispy skin! This dish was too heavy and didn't go over so well with the other guests either.
Fried fish fillet. I think I tried a piece of this but the breading was just too much. I liked the sauce though. Individually, the breaded and fried dishes wouldn't have been bad, but as part of a multi-course meal, it's just too much.
Fried rice. I had no room for any more food.
Taro paste, gingko nuts, dates, and lotus seed dessert. One of my favorite Trieu Chau desserts, but not the best rendition of it.
The wedding cake. It's hard to tell from this picture the immense size of the cake.
And party favors. The boxes were filled with various candies.
The setting was quite nice. The staging area was great for photos. The rolled out walkway with rose petals was a nice touch. The restaurant also generously donated the two big bouquets on the stage to be given away.
The food had some hits and misses. I really liked the cold cut platter and soup. While nothing was bad, nothing stood out either. I don't think the breaded duck and breaded fish were very well-executed though. Nonetheless, my expectations weren't too high anyway since I don't venture to Little Saigon, or Orange County, for Chinese food.
And really, I don't go to weddings for the food. That's just a side benefit. :)
My other wedding banquet posts:
Capital Seafood Chinese Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Monterey Park
Empress Harbor Seafood Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Monterey Park
Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Emeryville
Pearl Chinese Cuisine (Wedding Banquet) - San Diego
Prince Seafood Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Cerritos
Regent West Restaurant
4717 W. First St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703
714-531-5798 or toll free 877-936-8432
1 year ago today, bok choy kimchee (Korean pickled bok choy).