Friday, January 9, 2009

Hue Rendezvous -- Come for only one thing

Hue Rendezvous
15562 Brookhurst Street, Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 775-7192

Came here with a friend of mine who is a regular. She says that although she comes here all the time, most of the items aren't stellar. In fact, she only eats a few things -- the same things -- every tim
e she comes here.

The first thi
ng I noticed was that the owners aren't too excited about servicing their customers. They were all huddled at a table near the register around a laptop, too preoccupied with themselves than their customers. But when my friend came in, one of them hurriedly came over and took our order.

We came here for the com ga bop, a chicken salad dish served with a side of burnt rice. The rice is from the bottom of the pot which is charred and crispy. I absolutely love this stuff. It's like the bottom of a dolsot bibibap pot. It's the crunchy bits I go back for over and over again. Here, chiffonade cabbage, onions, lettuce, cilantro with pieces of steamed chicken is eaten with nuoc mam (sweet fish sauce) with bits of this crispy rice. It is refreshing and very healthy.

Banh beo
or rice cake with various toppings is a filler my friend orders. A crushed rice powder mix is poured into these little plates, steamed, and topped with toppings such as ground dried shrimp, scallions and sometimes, fried pork rind. Put a little bit of nuoc mam into the plate, scoop, eat, repeat. Each order comes with about 10 dishes. These aren't the best I've had, but I like how the layer of steamed rice cake is very thin.

We finished by sharing a bowl of bun bo hue, or, spicy beef noodles Hue style. I actually had bun bo hue yesterday so I was able to do a good comparison. In fact, I love bun bo hue so I think I know what good bun bo hue tastes like. The one here is pretty weak. The broth isn't very flavorful or rich, but the noodles are a good texture. They also don't give you an interesting plate of accompaniment, just some old bean sprouts which I didn't use, and some chiffonade lettuce, two chunks of lime. Generally a variety of herbs are given to add to the flavor of the broth -- more authentic places give you banana blossoms. I wouldn't order bun bo hue again at this place.

If you do come here, just eat the com ga bop. I've never had this dish anywhere else but here. My frien
d tells me another restaurant in lil Saigon has it, but it's better here.

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