The West Coast is a hub for Vietnamese people. Robust Vietnamese-American communities dot cities and suburbs from San Diego to Seattle. Rosa emailed a while back asking for Vietnamese restaurant recommendations in three cities: Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. An accountant and mom, she’s coming planning a fun vacation with her husband and one-and-a-half year old. Rosa is particularly interested in sampling Vietnamese food on the West Coast. She wrote, “This will be my first time visiting Seattle, Portland, and San Fran. I will be there on vacation. I'm a mom and an accountant. I'm also a second generation immigrant with Vietnamese parents, I grew up wishing I ate 'American' food instead of the odd Vietnamese offerings at our table. As an adult I have come to appreciate Vietnamese cuisine, and wish to experience more of it.”
Rosa is smart and did her homework: “I wiki'ed cities with the highest populations of Vietnamese Americans and was surprised to see Seattle and Portland, and that is about how I determined where we would go on this vacation. I am in search of good Vietnamese food in the U.S.”
I have a very short list of Vietnamese spots and am hoping that you will add to it. Vietnamese restaurants can be inconsistent and plus, we differ in our opinions. Over the weekend, as you may know, I posted a photo on social media of my mom at a pho restaurant in Little Saigon. She had just said, “Homemade is better.” She doesn’t eat out much and rhetorically asked, “Why is there a line to eat here? Because people don’t want to heat up their house to make pho.”
That said, I know that avid home cooks like my mom and I both relish the opportunities for someone else to prepare us food and do the dishes. We’ll gladly pay for it. So where do you enjoy Vietnamese food? My picks, as you’ll see below, are motivated by many factors. I've also included some non-Viet standouts too.