If anyone has driven down this stretch you might think you’ve stumbled upon Little Asia with the mish mash of Chinese restaurants and Korean markets on every corner. It really doesn’t look like much– kind of an industrial run down area, but on further inspection, there are so many gems worth trying– If you know where to look!
Vien came over to my place around 1:30 PM to fit me for a dress, that I will wear at the Bridal Expo happening in January. The dress was too big and she figures she’d rather just make a whole new one. Oh well, that was easy 🙂 After some chatting of indecision about what to do and introducing her to PORTIA (the tarantula), we headed out.
The first place we went to was Sok Sab Bai. Unfortunately we misread the opening times (5pm-9pm) as 9-5 and so… when we got there– it was closed. WHOMP WHOMP. Oh well, we were near enough to SE 82nd anyways….
Second stop, Lee’s Sandwiches. *Correct traditional Vietnamese spelling would be Le* I am told this is a chain restaurant popular in Cali– Picked up a few sandwiches for lunch tomorrow as well as a snack. We got a meat pastries, which were flaky and quite tasty. (Vien says they are even better at the An Xuyen Bakery!) I believe her as she’s been to these places many times, but the flavor of the one at Lee’s really hit the spot. I was actually not that hungry because I had eaten lunch right before Vien had even got to my apartment but that doesn’t stop what happens next. We walked out and walked back in. Lee’s sells all kinds of packaged cookies and sausages, the weirdest being a shrimp sausage. Has anyone ever tried such a thing? It was $10 for a pack of 8 (made in Cali), so we decided to leave that behind, although so curious. (I wasn’t mad about it).
Wait. what’s that across the street? Young girl handing out Russian candy! AKA Good Neighbor (or |actophohom for you Russians out there). Had to check the goods out, figured two asians would get some looks and we definitely did. This time of year is when they are preparing for their Christmas celebrations– *January 7*. Learned all about this and more from my awesome Russian friend who would probably like to remain anonymous. Boy do I love Russian food, however I do not know how to prepare these dishes myself. The cakes and baked goods were so tempting, but we had to refrain. Plus I was still in the mood for something savory…
Third stop- HK Cafe for DIM SUM! For those that didn’t know, dim sum actually means breakfast. Considering it was now almost 3 PM, the slot for dim sum was probably over. After looking at the menu outside and making our selections we went inside to find that yes indeed, ” no-mo-dim-sum “… Story of our lives, but again, it’s okay, we are surrounded by holes in the walls. Literally.
Next stop- King’s Bakery. I had been to a similar place in Daly City called Sheng Kee Bakery/ (also the Fubonn bakery in Portland) a few years ago. This shop was smaller but we picked up a few things, a coconut snowball looking pastry and a flat circular one with coconut/ & / ? inside. They both reminded me of mochi for different reasons. The first was super soft almost jello in consistency but completely white opaque, covered in fine shredded coconut with a nutty base. The latter a bread pasty filled with a dense gelatinous mixture that hinted of coconut mochi. Best description yet. There are no pictures of the food as I was distracted taking a PHHHOTO of their water fountain [find me: auburnazn]. *typical* See below:
Then we were off to Van Hahn Vegetarian Restaurant *Vegetarian Vietnamese* that is! YES, something healthy! So excited to eat my 5th meal of the day. You walk into what look like a tiny residence and are surrounded by maybe 4 tables. Tu who I first thought was an elderly man, (actually an elderly woman… looks like a hari krishna) is there to point out where the menus are. Pictures on the wall guide you to descriptions in the menu. Due to food and diabetic comas surely setting in, we decided to split one dish — the W1 ! Lacey white sheets of noodles rolled up next to an array of green (cucumber/mint/cabbage) and faux pork, served with a dipping sauce. Take whatever parts you like, roll, dip and consume. Delicious. Perfect splitsies portioning as well, now I was completely stuffed. The dessert we wanted was out, but after paying (and picking up some pork buns for the store) Tu offered us some slices of bundt cake. This wasn’t on the menu and I’m not sure what it was, I was too full to try it there, and regretfully someone ate it before I got to try any. It means I will just have to go back, as I was planning to anyways to try the savory crepes!
Typical rainy day and it was time to head home before traffic got too bad.