San Phở-se

That is not the name of a pho place in San Jose.  I did, in fact, come up with that title all on my own.  Now, don’t be mislead and think this whole post is on pho.  I just couldn’t fit any other Vietnamese word into “San Jose” as perfectly (San Banh-se?).

5 weeks in San Jose was really an eye opening experience (completely unrelated to the business part of my “business trip”) because I was able to explore so many new dishes and experience a cuisine that I had completely left untouched previously.  San Jose is the Westminster of NorCal, and for those who don’t know what that means, it means there’s a CRAP TON of Vietnamese restaurants.  Here are 3 new dishes I tried and EVERYBODY should try if they have not yet done so. Can someone teach me how to pronounce these names please?

1) Bot chien trung

There’s one cart at dim sum that I will always chase down because I can’t wait for it to come around – the turnip cake cart. Okay okay this is just rice flour cake, but it’s just as good even without the turnips!! And then they make it into an omelette! And then there’s a sweet vinegar-y sauce that goes with it too!

2) Banh xeo


What’s NOT to like? A cripsy crust of rice flour, coconut milk, and probably something else filled with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts. And then some sort of accompanying sauce (fish sauce included I’m sure).

3) Cha Ca La Vong

I’m sorry this is a picture from Yelp but there was just no time to get a good photo because I was stuffing my face with fish. This is where my love affair with Vietnamese food really began. Turmeric seasoned fish served on a sizzling platter with onions and DILL. Eaten with (no surprise) vermicelli and fish sauce. I ordered it because every other table did too. Sometimes it’s good to cave into peer pressure.

And if you’re not hungry enough by now, I would like to leave you with this video made by the guys at Perennial Plate:

Photos via Yelp.


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