The Vietnamese spring rolls usually brings to mind a rice paper roll filled with rice noodles, lettuce and aromatics, and pork and shrimp slices to be dipped in a peanut sauce. My family never ate this very much. I don’t know why. In recent years we’ve become fans of nem nuong cuon, or grilled pork spring rolls. I feel like Brodard, in Westminster, popularized this to the masses. If you think Brodard is da bomb then you need to try Khanh Hoa because it is da shit. I think the differences are probably subtle and if you don’t eat this a lot you probably will not be able to tell the difference.
Nem Nuong Cuon (Grilled Pork Spring Rolls) grilled pork, lettuce, mint, cilantro, perilla, cucumber, deep fried egg roll wrapper
The key to a good roll is good meat. Here, the meat tastes very meaty and is perfectly seasoned with the right balance of salt and sweet. The reason why half the restaurants in Westminster suck is because they are heavy handed with the sugar. That is my hugest pet peeve. But here, they do the meat right. The grilled pork is always served warm too, which makes each bite that much more succulent and tasty. At Brodard, the meat tastes just a tad bit overprocessed and artificial. Here, you know what you’re eating. Don’t ask me what the sauce is made up of. I can never figure it out nor can I really detect any strong flavors. At best its slightly sweet and chunky, from what? I don’t know.
Bun Bo Hue thick rice noodles, spicy lemongrass beef broth, beef shank, pork feet, blood pudding
Don’t freak out folks, even I don’t eat the “blood pudding.” I pass that off to my mom. Everything else is delicious though. I wouldn’t say this is the place for bun bo hue, but it’s not bad here. Probably could be spicier, but for the mild taste buds its perfect. Some people call bun bo hue the pho of Central Vietnam. It is the dish of Central Vietnam if you were to ask anyone. The broth is rich in flavor, certainly beyond the description of any words I could conjure up here. You’ll just have to try it for yourself.
Banh Beo Chen steamed rice cakes, shredded shrimps, scallions, chili fish sauce
I’m not sure if this is another specialty of Central Vietnam, but I usually at this as small finger food at Vietnamese gatherings. It’s not served in little dishes, but rather as individual cakes that miraculous do not stick together. Here, you pour a little bit of the fish sauce over each little cake and enjoy. Good cake, but fish sauce was too sweet, as usual.
I highly recommend Khanh Hoa for their grilled pork spring rolls. They have grilled shrimp rolls too which are good. If you don’t like all the Vietnamese aromatics that go into the rolls, you can order the do-it-yourself version. Most times, I like to do my own rolls, but today I was too hungry and lazy. This place probably cannot compete with the large variety and probably tastier dishes offered by Brodard, but if it’s rolls you want then you should come to Khanh Hoa. You can order some to go or eat for a quick lunch too. FYI: There is a location in Alhambra by the same name, but I’m not sure if they are related, but it sounds like they serve the same fare.
9738 Westminster Ave, Ste 102
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(FYI: the address in Yelp is wrong, use this one!)