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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pho Thang Long Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon)

Pho Thang Long Restaurant in Little Saigon has been sitting in my queue since last July. It's not that I've been holding out on you, it's just that I thought I'd be back and I'd rather do a post based on more than just two items from the menu. Even though those two items were mighty tasty.

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But then I realized that my "1 year ago today" link was my rather lengthy post on the history of Vietnamese Americans and Little Saigon. And well, I can't have that link at the end of just any old post, now can I? And because I don't venture into Little Saigon as often as I used to anymore, this was the only restaurant I had to offer.

So way back in July, I met up with my friend DP for lunch. She had been going to Pho Thang Long for years, back when it was still a rather hole-in-the-wall-ish location on Brookhurst Street. The restaurant moved next to what was the old Bolsa Supermarket.

The picture really doesn't do this justice because that huge green tiled wall is a waterfall. Quite upscale for a pho restaurant. Don't worry, the fancy decor doesn't mean fancy prices. Most dishes fell between the $5 to $7 range.

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This was during their grand opening so my glass of Rau Ma (Vietnamese Pennywort Juice) was free.

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We ordered the $8.45 Bo Luc Lac (Vietnamese Shaking Beef), which came with rice, some greens, and a little wedge of lime and salt and pepper. The beef was perfectly wok-fried, tender, and juicy.

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The $6.95 Pho Ap Chao Bo (Vietnamese Pan-Fried Rice Noodles Sauteed with Beef) were a pleasant surprise to see on the menu. The noodles were chewy in the center and crispy on the outside.

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If you've never eaten this dish before, here's a close-up of the noodles so you can understand what I mean by wok-seared. They're rice noodles that were formed into little "sheets" almost, fried crispy, then cut into rectangles, then stir-fried in the wok with beef and vegetables. Mmm. Just typing that makes me want to eat this dish again.

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Based on those two dishes alone, I really liked this restaurant, I just haven't had the chance to return. I know, it's totally contrary to what I always say about ordering what a restaurant names itself after.

My brother and cousin have gone here to try their filet mignon pho though. They said the filet mignon is sliced thinner than at Pho Thanh Lich, so the true filet mignon-ness, if you will, of the meat doesn't come through.

So I can only vouch for the yumminess of the two dishes I ate, but that's enough to make you want to venture there just for those two dishes, isn't it?

Afterward, my friend and I wandered a few doors down the strip mall to TeaZone Lollicup to order matcha green tea snow bubbles. This location has the best version of this drink that I've ever had. Not too sweet, very strong matcha flavor. It's like drinking a slushy green tea ice cream for only $2.

Updated October 21, 2009:

I went back in May and finally ordered the filet mignon pho for $5.95 small, $6.95 large.

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Lots of lovely sliced filet mignon.

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The filet mignon was very tender and the Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) was comforting with the redolent aroma of the spices.

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My friend ordered the bun thit bo nuong (Vietnamese grilled beef noodles). Nicely marinated.

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September 20, 2010 Update:

In July, I met up with the Eating Club Vancouver sisters when they were in town be cause TS wanted to try the pho ap chao, which we ordered.

We also got Bun Cha Hanoi Nem Ran (Vietnamese Hanoi-Style Rice Vermicelli Noodles with Grilled Pork Patties and Egg Rolls), $6.95.

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And Cha Ca Thang Long (Vietnamese Hanoi-Style Turmeric Fish with Dill), $14.95.

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Which came with all the usual accompaniments of noodles, herbs, toasted rice paper, etc.

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Other filet mignon pho restaurants:
Pho Filet Vietnamese Restaurant - South El Monte
Pho Huynh Vietnamese Restaurant - South El Monte
Pho Thanh Lich - Westminster (Little Saigon)

Pho Thang Long Restaurant
9550 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 115F
Westminster, CA 92683
714 839-4955
Open 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

1 year ago today, a very lengthy post about the history of Vietnamese Americans and Little Saigon.


  1. wow that pho ap chao looks so good!

  2. Hey WC - Looks good, another restaurant for my list!

  3. MAGIC WORDS: Crispy on the outside, chewy inside :-) I love rice noodles like that.

  4. 2 dishes are more than enough for me! Especially those wok-seared noodles.

  5. oh my! that looks like a cosy little place to enjoy viet food!! and the noodles dish! very interesting!!! I learned something new today.

  6. hmm...this makes me wanna go vietnamese, let me go to a famous hk vietnamese eatery this weekend and share the experience with u hehe (tat sounds like i was just fishing for good reasons (ehm!excuses?) to try new yummies)

  7. Free Pennywort Juice! Darn. I would've loved to try that. I've not gotten the nerve to actually buy one with cash money yet. I'm afraid I won't like it. Came close once...but I decided I hadn't had Vietnamese Orange Juice in a while, so I took that instead.

  8. J,
    It was so tasty.

    I bet your list is as long as mine!

    Me too. I think that's the magic formula, I like my crepes like that too.

    Those two dishes sure didn't disappoint.

    Yeah, you don't see this dish on too many restaurant menus.

    It'll be interesting to see your post. I've heard VNese food in HK isn't very authentic.

    Rau ma generally costs less than $2. It's good for you!

  9. I have a question. We live in the Southbay area. What is your favorite Vietnamese restaurant on the south side of LA? Is this it? Thanks

  10. Thanks for the review! We've been wondering about this place and if it was worth our time. Love the review!

  11. BD,
    I don't have one. I got to different restaurants for different dishes. You can check my restaurant index for the complete list of Vietnamese and Orange County restaurants.

    Thanks! I recommend the pho ap chao of course. :)

  12. Thanks!
    I have one more clarification. My significant other is a vegetarian. I'm not. She is of Japanese decent and still has a palate that doesn't like alot of greasy foods but doesn't like rice and noodles. I think that's probably from being forced to eat them when she was a kid. haha.

    If we wanted to find a restaurant, dish nonspecific, that you would recommend in the Little Saigon area, would you be able to point us in a general direction? Don't worry. I'm not going to come back and ridicule you so you don't need to be lawyerly. haha

  13. BD,
    Ah, well, a more specific question gets you specific answers. :)

    For Vietnamese vegetarian food with "mock meats" I'd recommend Au Lac in Fountain Valley, on Brookhurst and Heil. I recommend their claypot "catfish." The tofu flakes like real fish, and the skin is made of seaweed. The "shrimp" is also pink, curved, with stripes. They also have a raw food menu.

    Also in Fountain Valley is Nhu Y Ca 8 Mon (8 courses of fish) for one person is around $16.99? I usually get 1 order of 8 courses to share, and 1 other order of seafood. They also have a whole baked catfish served with herbs and rice paper for wrapping.

    My only caveat is that I haven't been to either of those restaurants in a few years so I'm not sure if they're still as good as I remembered.

    For recent excursions, see my post on Quan Hy in Westminster. They have a nice vegetarian selection that includes dumplings and salads. Although it's still going to be largely rice or noodles dishes.


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