HUNGRY BUDDHA BELLY


Chao- Asian Chicken Soup for Your Soul by phoboy99

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I felt a little under the weather this morning and was thinking I need a great “comfort food” Vietnamese style. So I went with my father to another “old school OG” Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Nguyen Hue. This restaurant has been around for years, I think it was maybe one of the first Pho places in Little Saigon. My father calls this place the “gossip center” since it is full of older clientele who knows good Pho and there is always a group of old guys out front sipping their coffee/ Tea and smoking and just “kickn it” talking about politics, social stuff, and in general the happenings in Little Saigon.  I think it is very European in culture and I hope to be one of those guys when I retire.

So what is the best thing at Pho Nguyen Hue? Obviously the Pho, but I came for my version of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” Chao. Chao or sometimes called rice Con-gee or Rice Porridge has been around for centuries. It is very simple to make, Basically it is a pot of rice and water that has been slow boiled to a porridge consistancy and mixed with chicken or beef broth with hints of ginger, green onions and depending on what meat you want to add, fish, beef, chicken, shrimp or pork. I had Chao Bo which is ground up seasoned beef. My father had the Chao Long, which was the soup with all of the insides of the pork like intestines, heart, kidneys, blood jello in other words the crazy stuff you see Andrew Zimmerman or Anthony Bordain eats when they go to Vietnam.

I myself I like a simple cooked Chao Bo (ground beef) but one of the thing s that Pho Nguyen Hue has that I grew up with is Vietnamese Blood Sausage. Sounds Yummy Right? Before you gag, this was something I ate before I knew what it was so I was already accustomed to it. Pho Nguyen Hue makes this dish very well. with pieces of blood jello, rice, and basils all rolled up in a steamed sausage and sliced to be dipped in a very salty sour brine shrimp sauce. So I hope I didn’t gross you all out but if you have an adventure to try something unique and COOKED and especially authentic you must order the sausage. Finally to accompany our Chao was a fried long donut fresch  with is salty and cooked golden brown. It’s like a crispy donut/crouton on top of the soup for some crunch.

 Live a little dangerously and  I promise you won’t be sick. Pleaes comment me back if you venture to try out the Chao Long or the blood Sausage. The Hungry Buddha Belly gives Pho Nguyen Hue 4 RUBS OF THE BELLY. 5 alone for the Basil Blood Sausage.  FEAR FACTOR HERE WE COME!



Fresh French Bread and Cafe Sua Da by phoboy99

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Here is a quickie, after my great lunch at Huynh I had to stop at one of my favorite places for CAFE SUA DA- Ice coffee with condensed milk and French bread. As you know the French occupied Vietnam for years and before it was Vietnam it was called Indochina. The French did make a big impression and influenced food and culture as well. The place I like to get a great cup of coffee is at Banh Mi Che Cali. This place specializes in great Vietnamese deli sandwiches, bread, snacks, spring rolls, the usual affair of a deli in Little Saigon. When you walk in this place the wift of butter and fresh baked baguettes puts you in a European enthusiasm.

 The other reason I love this place is that they make CAFE SUA DA the old way. Using deep French roast coffee (probably Cafe Du Monde French Roast brand)  with chicory to smooth out the bitterness that is associated with strong coffee. The old ways of making Cafe Sua Da is truly an art. It is usually done by pouring hot boiling water in a an individual metal coffee drip and slowly brewing by gravity into a cup with a couple of tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Most places in Little Saigon want to take the cheaper method and use regular cofee with adding Coffee Mate or worse whip cream to become more of a “frappacino” instead of an espresso type of milk with rich milk. One taste will keep your caffeine buzzz going for hours and has a tastes of sweet milk and a slight bitterness like your first bite of chocolate.

I bought a couple of baguettes for later and a cup to keep me going through the day. I give 5 RUBS FOR THE ICE COFFEE AND 4 RUBS FOR THE BREAD. With so many French Bakeries in Little Saigon I will have to provide you another blog on all the different types of French Bread and pastries in the area for another day.



Huynh Restaurant- Just like Mom’s Cooking by phoboy99

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Home Cooked Goodness found at Huynh Restaurant in Little Saigon. This corner restaurant is a “Diamond in the Rough” Huynh is a small restaurant very well decorated with modern décor. What I would recommend there is their spectacular “Home Cooked” food that only costs $5.95 each. I would suggest ordering at least 3 entrees and share among friends Family style. On this day for lunch the Hungry Buddha Belly ordered 3 of 15 many delicious items on their menu. They do have the norm such as pho, but this place is not known for pho.

I think they have the best Soy Sauce BBQ short ribs, which are covered with a sugar broiled coating with thyme and parsley to finish. SHHHHHCH! That was my mouth watering Sorry. The other item I ordered was the CA KHO TO, which is a salted filet of catfish, cooked in a fish sauce, garlic, ginger and reduced down in a clay hot pot. This was my second favorite item, especially with white rice. The salty but delicate fish is a great sweet and salty taste to the fragrant rice.

To keep in the fish theme, I also ordered a whole deep fried Tilapia with a ginger fish sauce on the side for dipping. Fresh fish FRIED? What could be more heavenly? Tilapia can be a little tricky to eat since you cant eat the bones but almost everything else is a crispy treat and dipped in the garlic, ginger fish sauce it was an explosions of flavors only like my Moms can make.

Finally, with all of these entrees I had a very traditional Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Catfish soup. The Soup is cooked with celery, bamboo shoots, tomatoes, soy bean sprouts, pineapple chunks, lemongrass, and fish stock. This soup eaten with a little rice brings me back HOME to the days when my mom made dinner for me.

\Huynh Restaurant deserves 5 RUBS OF THE BELLY, the highest marks for great Vietnamese food. Truly traditional and authentic family food. Also you know the place is good when their Hungry Buddha Belly Statue is proudly displayed. Oh Yeah, I rubbed it for luck as well.

Huynh Restaurant is located at 9500 Bolsa Avenue #B, Westminster CA 92683, (714) 531-7379, Casual and CASH ONLY.



Luc Dinh Ky Restaurant- Kung Fu Food by phoboy99

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How many of you Buddha Heads have watched a good old style martial arts film where the swordsman fly in the air like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”? There is a place in Little Saigon that specializes in old school style cooking with authentic cooking methods. LUC DIHN KY is located in a old strip mall that need remodeling however I love the decor which is straight out of an old Kung Fu movie. You know where usually it is like a “Asian spaghetti western” where the mild mannered hero is eating his roast duck and then all of a sudden some bad ass villain walks in and starts pushing the waiter around. All of the chairs and tables are wooden and Chinese style with place-mats that have the 12 Chinese horoscopes on them. By the way I am year of the DOG.  I have added a picture of the decor for you to enjoy.

Luc Dinh Ky specializes in 3 things. First is their Won Ton Soup. It is the best in Little Saigon in my opinion with every bite of ground season pork is half of a shrimp wrapped delicately in a egg noodle slowly cooked in a chicken and green onion broth with fresh Chinese broccoli and spinach added to enrich the broth with veggies. I highly recommend to order this soup as an appetizer or accompaniment with your entree.

Second, Luc Dinh Ky brews and manufactures their own tea. It is a refreshing ice tea that is supposed to cool your body down as well as calm your senses. It is a stress free tea, sweeten slightly with honey. They actually brew and bottle their tea and is sold throughout Little Saigon in Asian markets. But the thing I like most is that it is bottomless and free with your meal so drink up and relax.

Last but not least is what I think most people come to enjoy. Food that is cooked with century old methods. COM TAY COM-A hot clay pot. Basically they fire burn these hot clay pots and put rice with toppings of beef, vegetables, pork, chicken, fish or seafood. Usually the rice is put on and then their is an assortment of toppings on their menu that you can pick from. I suggest that most people get either their special pot which is a little of everything or their BO LUC LAC COM TAY COM which is their stir fried beef and onions over rice. The beauty is that its not just rice but the slightly burnt crispy charred rice on the bottom that you have to scrape with a spoon. Also every dish is served with a soy sauce and spicy chili sauce on the side just in case you need to “kick it up a notch”.  I have a picture of the Bo Luc Lac and I ordered the Beef Stew clay hot pot.

 I give LUC DINH KY 5 RUBS OF THE BELLY, for great price (cheap), authentic old school food and giving the Hungry Buddha Belly a chance to relive one of my fantasies as a Kung Fu Master.

Luc dinh Ky is located at 9812 Bolsa Avenue, Suite 100, Westminster, CA 92683, (714) 839-6813, Very casual, kids are welcome, CASH ONLY. Not to be confused with Luc Dinh Ky 2 which is a block down. That place doesn’t serve it in clay pots.



Magic Wok- Cardiac Arrest by phoboy99
October 9, 2007, 4:26 pm
Filed under: asian foods, dinner, food, lunch, Philippino Foods, Pork, resturants, tasty travels, unusual foods

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Shout out to my Flip (Philippine) friend Marvin who I think had a conspiracy to kill me with over indulgence and “redline” my cholesterol levels at this “hole in the wall eatery”, At first this place is truly nothing interesting in décor or appearance with a couple of your standard booths and tables in a strip mall which with the name MAGIC WOK, I thought “not another Chinese fast food place. Definitely NOT! Locals only, all Phillipinos enjoying one dish that is commonly ordered here.

 

Marvin or “Marbeen” as his mom calls him, mentioned that a co-worker mentioned this local Flip food joint specializes in PLATA. What is PLATA? Well, if you knew you were heading for Hell and you want to add Gluttony as one of your sins, you would need to order this dish. PLATA is a deep fried crispy pork shank or leg with skin on it. It looks like fried chicken but the meat is not moist and white but all crispy from the outer skin to the insides. In other words it is like eating all of the crispy goodness of the pork. To accompany this “devilish” dish is to dip it in a sweet “au jus” sauce made from the inners of the pork.

We also ordered the traditional EGGROLL, which was similar to a taquito with ground pork and a BEEFSTEAK plate, which was a marinated beef stir-fry with onions. Overall the value of the meal was great since it was very affordable and the most expensive dish of  $8.95 was the PLATA. One bite brought me back memories of when Marvin and I were college roommates and he one day cooked a whole packed of bacon just to eat with rice. TOTAL GLUTONY.

This Hungry Cholesterol Free J Buddha Belly give this meal 4 RUBS OF THE BELLY. for indulging in one of  the Deadly Sins!!!

Magic Wok is located at 11869 East Artesia Boulevard, Artesia, CA 90701, (562) 865-7340. Please click on the title of the image to see picture.



Farmer Boys by foodaholic1
October 9, 2007, 12:13 pm
Filed under: food, lunch, resturants, tasty travels

My travels as a warehouse management system implementer frequently take me into big industrial areas.  After all, that’s where warehouses are!  My frequent challenge is to find decent places to eat in these industrial areas.  One “chain” restaurant that keeps showing up in these industrial areas is Farmer Boys.  They are a cross between a fast food restaurant and a sit down burger establishment.  You order at the front counter, take a number, find a seat and wait patiently (or impatiently in my case) for the food to arrive.  The décor is a down home country style with pictures of roosters in barns, Norman Rockwell style paintings and country music in the background.  I will say that the service here is superb!  The cashiers are super friendly and attentive.  There must be a company motto somewhere that prizes hospitality, because every worker there was friendly and ready to help.  I did notice that the drive through had an awning covering that said, “Thank you for coming!”. So, let’s get to the food already!  The menu consists of classic American fare.  Hamburgers, patty melts, fried goodies, etc. are the staple.  I ordered the BLT combo (sandwich, fries and a coke).  After all, what goes best with bacon than more bacon!  I am all too happy to sacrifice my waistline for the good of the blog!  Anyway, immediately what set this sandwich apart from the normal BLT’s is that Farmer Boys uses applewood smoked bacon.  Ok, first of all, yum to bacon… long live bacon… up with pork and porky goodness!!  But, applewood smoked bacon… oh yeahhh buddy!  One thing Farmer Boy are not, and that is stingy.  There was ample amount of bacon (say it with me baaaccccoooon – yum), tomatoes and lettuce.  The sandwich was served with a side of fries.  Now one thing I hate is getting a side of greasy, soft, cold fries.  This was most definitely not the case here.  The fries were crisp and well salted.  They were also the medium thickness fries that crisp up nicely (I can’t stand the thick steak fries – in case you were wondering). So, all in all, the Farmer Boys experience was definitely a good one.  I’d go back and given that I am in these industrial area’s a lot, chances are I’ll be trying more stuff.  On the Buhhda fast food scale, I give Farmer Boys 3 ½ belly rubs. – Scott Buhhda



Central Vietnamese Food by phoboy99

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Hello hungry bellies out there! I am finally giving you one of many great restaurants in Little Saigon that I go to. This is a true secret and I don’t think anyone of my friends know about this little gem. Alas, the shroud of mystery is revealed in the heart of Little Saigon at an old strip mall that has been around ever since I have moved to CA and even before the area was officially named “Little Saigon”.

First of all let’s go over the ground rules of most places in this town.

  1. Don’t expect great service. The service is the same everywhere at all restaurants and don’t take it personal. They treat their most common customers as well as new ones the same. Not Rude but indifferent.
  2. If the waiter or waitress seats you and then stands near by to take your order right away don’t be bothered with it. They assume you know what you want since most restaurants specialize in a particular dish so they are waiting for an order of how much and how you want it.
  3. Also got to order drinks at the same time when ordering food.
  4. Always pay cash. Most restaurants in Little Saigon don’t take credit cards, and if they do I would consider them “fancy”.
  5. You can ask them what their specialty is but most likely they will try to explain in their limited English skills. Some places have picture books since I do notice that a lot more Mexican families eating at these places. I think they know good, fresh and cheap food. Best value in town.
  6. Fish Sauce “Nuoc Mam” is king in this town. If in doubt dip it in Nuoc Mam and it all tastes good.

 

With all of that being said check out DA NANG TRAN QUY CAP tucked in the corner of a strip mall in 9607 Bolsa Avenue, Westminster, CA 92683 near Bolsa and Bushard Street.

This place specializes in 3 types of food varieties. COM TAM -which is a broken rice dish with various versions with BBQ pork, Grilled Shrimp, Quiche, on the side. It is like a Vietnamese version of Hawaiian plate lunch. Except the rice is literally broken. The jasmine rice is cut in half to give a more fragrant flavor in every bite as well as having a texture similar to couscous in your mouth. I always imagined that they have kids with small hands cutting each rice kernel in a factory somewhere. I will review this dish on another day since this place ranks as top 3 places in my opinion for Com Tam.

 

The other dish is the “Darth Vader” of noodles to its well-known brother Pho. It is a popular dish in Vietnamese cultures named after where it is originated in the old imperial capital of Central Vietnam, HUE. The rice noodle used in this soup is different (much thicker) from the one used in Pho. The noodle is most similar to the Japanese soba noodle in size and texture. The broth is prepared by cooking bones for a long period of time, as well as a large variety of different spices including lemon grass and chili. In this belly warming soup usually includes thin slices of marinate beef shank, chunks of well-cooked oxtails, and pig’s knuckles. It can also include cubes of congealed pig blood (jello blood). Before I gross you out, it is a delicacy but honestly I usually order this soup without the HUYET (jello blood). If you are adventurous GO FOR IT. This soup is very similar to Menudo but with a more robust flavor in lemon grass.  BUN BO HUE is similar to Pho in the sense that it is commonly served with bean sprouts, lime wedges, cilantro sprigs, and thinly sliced banana blossom. Bun Bo Hue is one of my favorites on a cold day or if I need to sweat out any chills that I have. You marry flavors of sweet, spicy, salty, sour, and blend in the accompaniment of the fresh vegetables, sprouts, and banana blossoms it makes this soup complete.  I understand now why this dish is revered to be a staple of the old imperial capital of Vietnam.

 

The second dish, I had was served as an appetizer, BANH BEO, This light rice noodle/crepe style dish is steamed in a little sauce dish and then topped with finely minced shrimp, sauté green onions, fried shallots/garlic, and fried pork rinds for crispy accents. You have to scrape the noodle off of the dish and add a sprinkle of the “Vietnamese Holy water” (NUOC MAM-FISH SAUCE) and then slide it all in like an oyster shooter. I think this place makes one of the best Banh Beo dishes in Little Saigon.

 

Overall, Da Nang Tran Quy Cap earns a 4 AND HALF RUBS OF THE BUDDHA BELLY. I would give it a 5 Rub but the service taints the rating. Check out my secret and introduction to Central Vietnamese food. COME TO THE DARKSIDE!!! J