Vietnamese

It is not every day you get to eat Vietnamese at a sit down, and it’s not pho.  Usually its spring rolls or a bahn mi sandwich to go, or a nice big hot bowl of pho at a hole in the wall. Brodard in Garden Grove has some of the best Vietnamese food around, especially the rolls.  They even have some french pastries as well.  I wasn’t a real fan of Vietnamese food, until I gave it a chance. Coming here though was a challenge. Their main entrance is actually in the back. You will get lost, like I did, if you assume the entrance is in the front. I don’t even think they have an entrance in the front. Even if they did, the sign wouldn’t read “Brodard Restaurant”. It was all in Vietnamese — or maybe that was an entrance to something else. Either, way, the entrance is difficult to find, and it is in the back. Once you find this place though, you will be glad that you did.

We ordered the Cha Gio (egg rolls).  The crispy rolls willed with pork, shrimp, crab meat, clear vermicelli and vegetables.  It was served with and array of Asian greens and lime chili fish sauce. I wrapped the egg rolls in the Asian lettuce, put some mint and cilantro inside, and dipped it in the sweet and sour sauce.  To say the least, my taste buds were having a party.  Every flavor was present, and the cilantro and mint leaves gave it that depth.  Texturally, it was a treat as well.  This was an all in one flavor packed appetizer that is a must order.

The Nem Nuong Cuon (pork spring roll) is what they are known for.  The grilled pork paste was wrapped in rice paper with lettuce, cucumber, carrot, daikon, and mint.  It was  served with house special sauce.  In my opinion, the sauce made this dish shine.  The spring rolls in itself were tasty, but the sauce is what makes this dish. The house special sauce was some sort of shrimp paste sauce.  It went very well with the rolls.

As a hot dish, we ordered the Bo Luc Lac (Shaken beef)  The dish had filet minon chunks, mixed with onions, mushrooms, scallion and spices.  It was served with tomato rice with a salad.  The filet minion was very soft and tender — not an ounce of chewiness. The vegetables were fine and the rice was alright.  I didn’t really like the sauce it was in as much.  It kind of tasted like bean paste, but milder in flavor.  It would have been nice to have more meat, but we all know how pricey filet minon is.

At the end, we ordered our Vietnamese coffee and it completed the meal.  Not as good as Lee’s, but still very good.  I realized how much flavor Vietnamese food has.  It was fun to see the spring roll making station as workers almost endlessly rolled each one.  It’s no wonder that they need so many people making these things, everyone orders them. If you are in the area, and want some Vietnamese food, Brodard is all you need. There is a Brodard Chateu down the street. I don’t know if it is related or not, but this one is the real deal.

Brodard on Urbanspoon

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The first time I had a banh mi sandwich, I was interested to know where these sandwiches were all my life. For those who do not know what these wonderful sandwiches are, let me attempt to explain. Banh mi is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich. Proteins include chicken, pork, ham, or other variations of deli meat. Veggies include cilantro, cucumbers, spicy jalapenos, pickled daikon radish and carrots — all this on a crip and crusty baguette, spread with mayonaise. Simply delicious is what that is. The Nom Nom Truck serves some authentic banh mi sandwiches.

I feel like it was yesterday when I saw this truck on the Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network. I was surprised to see a banh mi sandwich truck do so well. Despite my lack of judgment, they gained a lot of fans and devout followers. I was proud to see them do so well and see a sandwich I ate so often as an adolescent gain so much popularity. Though they were the top earners for each competition, they came in second place. Shocking right? That does not mater. The show gave them enough publicity for them to become one of the most popular food trucks among Los Angeles residents.

I was fortunate enough to try the grilled pork banh mi. First off, this thing was huge. Huge chunks of meat were inside, which I loved. I think they grilled the pork inside the truck because I saw smoke venting out of the top of the truck. The pickled veggies went so well with the pork. I think banh mi sandwiches are so good because of these veggies. I love the freshness of the cucumber and strong taste of the cilantro. I got a little bit of heat from the jalapeno slices — a lot of heat for some. All in all, I enjoyed the sandwich very much.

My favorite banh mi sandwich is the deli special. Thit Nguoi, a Vietnamese salami containing cured pork and fat and Cah Lua, a cooked pork roll along with some fatty pate are included in that ingredient list. Most people would probably not order this because of the unfamiliar ingredients, but for the adventurous eater, this is a treat. Other popular sandwiches include lemongrass chicken, vegetarian tofu, and of course, the grilled pork. I would love to try them all.

Some people might not like to stray away from their ham and cheese on white bread.  The flavors of the banh mi are somewhat exotic and different. Believe me, the banh mi sandwich is something to consider. Try something new and give it a try — a good way for Angelinos is to find the Nom Nom Truck (@nomnomtruck). They make a really good banh mi sandwich and — you will thank me later. Get yours now, before they sell out!  Who knows, you may fall in love.

Nom Nom Truck on Urbanspoon

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