In December 2011, LT, a commenter on my Golden Deli - San Gabriel post suggested I try Ha Noi Avenue for Nem Ran Cua Be (Vietnamese Crab Egg Rolls), made Hanoi-style in a big square and then cut into quarters to be eaten. Now, that's the kind of recommendation I can get behind!
Although, I have to mention that I've eaten crab egg rolls at multiple places in Hanoi, including at the reputedly best in town, Bun Cha Dac Kim at #1 Hang Manh, and I have never been served square egg rolls before. My favorite crab egg rolls in Little Saigon are at Vien Dong Restaurant - Garden Grove (Little Saigon) and Quan Hy Vietnamese Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon), but those aren't square either.
I've driven past Ha Noi Avenue numerous times and was always amused by the signage which seemed to scream, "Notice me!" I asked my friend DP, my source for Little Saigon gossip, about the restaurant and she said that the original owners of Hanoi Restaurant sold their business and then opened Ha Noi Avenue.
It took me almost six months after the tip for me to finally visit. It's a little removed from the main drag of Little Saigon and closer to the freeway, a convenient stopping off point on my way to San Diego to visit lil' sis, so I asked Tony of SinoSoul if he wanted to check it out with me.
I ordered a Soda Xi Muoi (Vietnamese Preserved Plum Drink), $2, while waiting for him to arrive.
We ordered the nem ran cua be, $7, which is listed as Hanoi-style egg rolls with vermicelli and vegetables. No mention of the crab in the description.
But don't be fooled by the lack of crab in the menu description. Cua be means broken crab, and there's plenty of lump crab meat inside these egg rolls.
I couldn't decide between my dslr photos above, or these point-and-shoot photos below.
Because I think you really need to see all the photos to get the idea of how crispy the rice paper wrappers were or how much crab was stuffed into each square. Instead of mixing the crab meat in with the pork filling, the crab was placed on top so there would be no confusion. These were fantastic, as Tony lamented about the few dishes that we can't get in the San Gabriel Valley Vietnamese restaurants.
We also ordered Bun Cha Hanoi (Vietnamese Hanoi-Style Rice Vermicelli Noodles with Grilled Pork Patties, $7.
Which came with very generous servings of rice vermicelli noodles, pickled green papaya and carrots,and a plate of herbs for us to share.
We also ordered Bun Rieu Cua Tom Oc (Vietnamese Crab and Shrimp Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Snails), $7. I thought the bun rieu was actually a little bland, and asked for additional Mam Ruoc (Vietnamese Fermented Shrimp Paste).
Mmm. What a great pitstop on my way south.
A month later, my friend Ivan moved to SoCal. I last saw him in 2008 at Coffee House Heyri - Los Angeles (Koreatown). Ha! Funny that with blogging, now my friends are associated with where and when I ate with them.
Ivan ordered the Dac Biet Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) with steamed chicken and intestines, $6. You can see a bit of the gizzard in the photo.
I also asked Tony if he wanted to go to Ha Noi Avenue again, because we really wanted to try the Cha Ca Thang Long (Vietnamese Hanoi-Style Turmeric Fish with Dill), $16, but really needed a third person to help us eat this.
The turmeric fish came with herbs, toasted rice paper, vermicelli noodles, and dipping sauce.
While I thought most dishes were fine, it was really the square crab egg rolls that really stood out for me. And it's always nice to have another option when I'm craving Northern Vietnamese food.
Other Westminster Little Saigon restaurants:
Ba Tu Trai Cay Ngon - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Banh Cuon Tay Ho 4 - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Banh Mi & Che CALI Bakery - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Binh Dan Restaurant (De 7 Mon (Vietnamese Goat in 7 Courses)) - Westminster (Little Saigon)
C&C Express (C&C Food Co.) - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Da Nang Com Tam Tran Qui Cap - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Hot Vit Lon Long An - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Kim Lien Produce - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Kum Lee (Kho Bo Mut) - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Le Croissant Dore - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Lien Hoa - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Ngu Binh Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Pagolac Restaurant Bo 7 Mon (7 Courses of Beef) - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Pho Thang Long Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Pho Thanh Lich - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Quan Hy Vietnamese Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Quan Vy Da Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Rockin' Crawfish - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Saigon Bistro - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Snow Monster - Westminster (Little Saigon)
TeaZone Lollicup - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Thach Che Hien Khanh - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Thai Son Lo Banh Cuon - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Top Baguette - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Ha Noi Avenue
8432 Westminster Blvd.
Westminster, CA 92683
Wednesday to Monday 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
1 year ago today,
2 years ago today, From How to Cook Rice to Happily Ever After.
3 years ago today, 7th Annual Malibu Wine Classic.
4 years ago today, How to Cook Jasmine Rice.
5 years ago today, J. Paul Getty Center and Museum (Summer) - Los Angeles - California.