Bun Bo Hue An Nam (San Jose, CA) - Bun Bo Hue
I live in the Bay Area. I like food.
A 22 year old student and Bay native encountering food from all of the Bay Area (and more, on occasion!). Submissions are always welcome! If you see your pictures here and want them down, feel free to contact me via the ask box or e-mail me.
Bun Bo Hue An Nam (San Jose, CA) - Bun Bo Hue
O Mi Ninja Food Truck (San Jose, CA) - The Ninja
Pho 90 Degree (San Jose, CA)
Spice Kit (Palo Alto, CA) - Roasted Pork Banh Mi
Green Cafe Vegan Cuisine (Berkeley, CA) - Crispy Tofu
Saigon Sandwich (San Francisco, CA) - Banh Mi
The Slanted Door (San Francisco, CA)
Pin Toh (Berkeley, CA) - Pho
Dinosaurs (San Francisco, CA) - Crispy Tofu Banh Mi
Spice Kit (Palo Alto, CA) - At first glance, Spice Kit seems like just another fusion eatery aiming to market Asian cheap eats to larger demographic. Such restaurants have been blooming all over the peninsula. With the very mediocre experience with Asian Box still fresh in memory, I was highly skeptical of this new comer. Spice Kit, though still slightly gimmicky, offers surprisingly memorable good food.
The pork bun reminds me of those from Momofuku in NYC. While the quality of the pork belly is really no comparison to the legendary ones at David Chang’s restaurants, the pork bun here is tasty enough to deserve its own merit. Not to mention they are fairly inexpensive too.
The menu follows a very simple formula -
1) You pick a “style”. Choices are Banh Mi (Vietnamese Baguette Sandwich), Ssam (Korean Rice wrap), Salad or a Rice Bowl.
2) You pick your choice of meat from Five Spice Chicken, Roasted Pork, Beef Short Ribs and Tofu.
3) Order any side items to go with your entree. (Getting the pork buns is really a no brainer)
The banh mi was average. If you ever had those from any authentic Vietnamese bakery in South San Jose, you most likely won’t be too impressed. Ssam was interesting but I found bean sprout gave it too much of a coarse texture.
What Spice Kit did well was the meat. Both the five spice chicken and beef short ribs were excellent. The quality of the meat was good. Flavors were just right and the texture was simply tender and juicy.
If you are in the neighborhood looking for a quick bite, Spice Kit won’t disappoint.
I’m always on the hunt for cheap and fresh food, and upon a co-worker’s suggestion, I ventured to Saigon Sandwich, on the corner of Eddy and Larkin. It’s a tiny Vietnamese sandwich shop with a couple shelves for Asian snacks and a cooler for drinks, with three people making sandwiches assembly line style.
I arrived around noon and the line was out the door, so I waited patiently to order, and then to pick up my sandwich. The menu isn’t very big, but it gives most people enough options as there is a vegetarian alternative to the usual pork used in Vietnamese sandwiches. It took a bit of a wait, but the employees were pretty quick making sandwiches so I can’t complain. I felt a bit vegetarian that day, so I opted for the marinated tofu sandwich, even though I get the customary pork elsewhere.
The bread was crunchy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside, just as Vietnamese style baguettes should be. There was enough tofu and it was warm and flavorful, not too salty or sweet. The pepper and cilantro were also tasty, although I disliked the amount of carrots they included in the sandwich. I would have been happier with less carrot and more of everything else to balance out the flavors, but at $3.50, I really can’t complain.
I’d recommend this restaurant for a cheap lunch that’s easy to take on the go. Also, it’s $3.50 for meat options as well, which include pork, pate, and a couple other options. Be aware there will a line outside during lunch, so it’ll be unpleasant for windy, rainy days, but considering the price and quality, I’d gladly wait!
Pho Kim Long (San Jose, CA)
I had the best bowl of bun bo hue here at Pho Kim Long. The pho had always been quite decent but not mind-blowing. It never occurred to me that bun bo hue is what they really excel at.
The bun bo hue broth was good - refreshing fragrance, prominent lemongrass spices with complex flavors. The noodles have great texture and the toppings were tasty. I could ask for more shrimp paste if I am really being picky. Or perhaps a slightly thicker broth for instant gratification.
For a good bowl of pho there are still plenty other places to choose from. But if you want a really good bowl of bun bo hue, this is the best option in South Bay.
We ate lunch at Bun Mee on Fillmore Street over the weekend. We shared a grilled eggplant sandwich with cauliflower relish, red curry aioli, shaved onion, pickled carrot & daikon, jalapenos, and cilantro with a side of sweet potato fries and vegetarian salad rolls. The spring rolls had mango slices inside and came with a spicy peanut sauce we are still trying to re-create at home.
Pho Nam (Sunnyvale, CA)
A quality bowl of pho could be found at this easily overlooked secluded restaurant. The broth is fragrant and flavorful. The toppings are plentiful and of good quality. Bo Kho (Beef Stew) didn’t stand out as much as their pho but still very delicious. Ordered it with a side choice of Banh Mi so you can dip it in the broth and soak up all the goodies.
Despite the unassuming hole of the wall no frills ambiance, service was surprisingly good. Staff was very friendly and very helpful in giving recommendations.
Definitely a pho joint that is worthy of a repeat visit.
PPQ Dungeness Island (San Francisco, CA)