Cuisine Scene: Vietnamese
Long Beach is second to none when it comes to Southeast Asian cuisine. The city has great and voluminous Thai options and arguably the greatest selection and quality of Cambodian food outside of Cambodia itself. And then there are Long Beach’s Vietnamese restaurants, serving an amazing amalgam of simple and complicated, traditional and fusion dishes ranging from pho and banh mi to vegan options, chicken wings and French beignets. With all that in mind, and mindful that the number six is considered one of the luckiest in Vietnamese culture, we offer you half a dozen Vietnamese eateries to check out.
Located just a few steps off Downtown Long Beach’s Promenade,123 Pho(210 E. 3rd St.) is popular with those who work in the area or head there for entertainment. Ultra clean and modern, 123 Pho hums with conversation at lunchtime as students, artists, business-types and government workers gather to enjoy such staples as pho, banh mi and bao in an atmosphere encouraging crosstalk and light spirits. If you want to continue the conversation after your meal is finished, order a Vietnamese Coffee, smoothie or hibiscus tea to keep things going.
If you’re new to Vietnamese cuisine, know that one of its staples—pho—is a broth-filled wonder, known for its variety of styles and recuperative powers.三轮车面条(4754 Pacific Coast Hwy.) is known for serving some of the freshest bowls of pho in the city making its location just off the Traffic Circle a haven for those looking to boost their system. If you’re not in a very liquid mood, try one of its healthy vermicelli salads, say the Banh Song, and a word to the wise, load up on the delicious Cyclo Sauce. They don’t have the voluminous offerings, but what they do, they do healthy and well.
Pho Hong Phat
Though its menu is fairly wide-ranging, the reasonPho Hong Phatis one of the city’s most popular spots for Vietnamese cuisine rests largely around beef. Beef pho to be exact, which this small, usually packed, usually loud gem offers in nearly 20 different varities. From rare flanks to beef balls, if you like red meat, you’ll love this place. Try the the #10, the Pho Tai Gan Xach, a meaty concoction of rare steak, tendon and tripe, and feel free to do like locals and add meatballs to it.
Mangosteen Vietnamese Kitchen
这全功能型destination recently added a spot in Belmont Shore to go along with its already popular Downtown spot.Mangosteen Vietnamese Kitchen(5295 E. 2nd St.) offers a full array of Vietnamese staples, everything from pho to fish balls, spring rolls to garlic noodles and does it all in a clean, bright atmosphere at reasonable prices. There are vegan and vegetarian options, all types of meat as well as a wide selection of seafood. Two of its most popular offerings are Grilled Shrimp Vermicelli and Mixed Greens with Cajun Salmon Salad.
We Love Pho 2
As the name suggests, this place loves serving pho. That’s a given. ButWe Love Pho 2also serves a lot of terrific non-pho options, including chicken sings, cooked to a crisp and served in a sauce glazed over the wings. Since everything is made to order, the food is always fresh. The House Special vermicelli is nice and light but offers a good portion of noodles, pork, shrimp and egg rolls. It also offers a nice patio to enjoy your selections.
The Wild Chive
Chef Soozee Nguyen had already built a name, and rather rabid following, for the vegan brunch she presented for years at pop-up spots around town. Now with a restaurant all her own —The Wild Chive(2650 E. Broadway) — Nguyen still offers the brunch while she continues to plate some of the most delectable vegan offerings in the city, including a breakfast banh mi filled with tofu, tempeh bacon and ham, pickled veggies, fried shallots and chive-cilantro aioli. If you like your quality time a little more cross-cultural, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better combination than Nguyen’s French Quarter beignets paired with her Vegan Vietnamese Coffee made with housemade condensed milk.