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This Town In Orange County Produces Some Of The Best Vietnamese Food Outside of Vietnam

Located close to the Anaheim Resort District and tucked between the cities of Westminster and Garden Grove, California, is a place with a rich Vietnamese history that serves as a cultural hub for amazing and authentic Vietnamese cuisine. This magical place is called Little Saigon, and if you haven’t been, you need to take a visit.

Tag along with our friend Bang-Ko, a.k.a. Connie from @occomestibles as she takes us on a flavorful journey through Little Saigon.

From lobster hot pot that’s cooked tableside, to a massive seven course beef feast, there are an unbelievable amount of hidden culinary gems any hungry foodie would love to sink their teeth into.   

First stop is Garlic and Chives by Kristin, known for their traditional yet trendy atmosphere. Take it from Connie and order their House Special Lobster, served with garlic noodles, peppers and traditional spices.

Being a native to Vietnam, Connie knows exactly what she’s talking about when it comes to delicious Vietnamese food, and it’s safe to say her 72K Instagram followers would agree.

So when she says we need to check out Hai Noi Corner for their wonderfully crispy Sizzling Turmeric & Dill Fish, we drop what we’re doing and go immediately.

It’s not everyday you can find the opportunity to feast on gigantic sea snails. Well, that was before Connie brought us to Oc and Lau for some Escargot and Lobster Hot Pot. Oc and Lau literally translates to “Sea Snail and Hotpot,” so if you need some exotic fare in your life, this is truly a diamond in the rough.

If you’re looking to feed a group of hungry foodies, seven courses of beef should be the perfect formula. At Hong An, a huge dining hall greets guests as they are seated with their own tabletop grill. Connie recommends the Bo Bay Mon, which translates to Beef Seven — also known as seven courses of beef.

Hong An is a meat lovers paradise where you’ll be served everything from lemongrass beef to juicy Vietnamese meatballs.

Last on the list but certainly not least is Pho45 with their beef pho. This rendition is packed with tripe, tendon, brisket, flank, and rare beef. Pho45’s recipe is a family secret so they kept their recipe on lockdown, but what we do know is they are very generous with their meat portions and that their pho might be the best we’ve ever had.

Next time you have a day off or are visiting the area, spend it on a deliciously authentic culinary journey through one of Orange County’s most historic neighborhoods. You’ll love losing yourself in the culture, food and the experience of Little Saigon.

Photos by Pete Pham


Created in partnership with Visit Anaheim

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Video

Irish People Try Chicken Feet And Other Strange Foods Around The World

The world is filled with foods that may appear strange, but more often than not, end up being delicious once you give them a chance. Yet another Facts. video has surfaced on YouTube showing Irish people trying something new for the first time.

This time, the test group is trying four of the strangest foods found around the world.

Among the foreign dishes are escargot (France), chicken feet (Indonesia), kangaroo steak (Australia) and lamb testicles (United States).

Major points for the open-mindedness. We’re pretty sure we won’t be trying chicken feet any time soon.

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Adventures

This OC Mexican Restaurant Serves Escargot, Frog Legs in Bacon Sauce & Plantain Foster [9 PHOTOS]

mexican frog legs antojitos don juan

It doesn’t happen too often, but every once in awhile in the midst of breaking national food and beverage news – our team finds something spectacular in our own backyard. The unveiling of new delicious foods and restaurants is always exciting, but can also be a bit embarrassing as one starts to understand their full scope of ignorance to the greatness that is.

To start, Antojitos Don Juan, is a mere 10 minute drive from our office in Santa Ana, CA, a Southern California city known for its high-density Hispanic population and therefore, some of the best Mexican food in the country. To have access to such brilliance is a blessing (have you tried Mexican food in states that don’t share a border?), but allows for an over-saturation of mediocre, even semi-decent food within the same city limits. Think tourist trap, but instead hundreds of taquerias, carts, trucks and sit-down restaurants boasting 90 percent of the same menu items – tacos, burritos, mariscos, etc.

So because eating at a different Mexican establishment everyday is a bit overwhelming (even for us), we tend to stick to the tried-and-true. The places we would mourn upon closing. Add Antojitos to that list.

Let me first warn you of a few mental obstacles that may lead you astray upon your visit to Antojitos Don Juan. The location isn’t specifically close to any freeway, and in what is most likely an impoverished neighborhood. The shopping center is nondescript, boasting a Panda Bowl, Hair Salon and King Water as its anchors. From the outside of the actual building, you will have no idea what you’re walking into. Even upon entering, you’ll still be a bit confused. Chalk menu specials. Assortment of tables and chairs. An outdoor patio that resembles a 1980s Taco Bell. This should not concern or deter you from greatness. Pay heed to the food.

antojitos don juan

Meet Chris and his father Juan, two of the five-membered Garcia clan whose family is responsible for bringing an aggressive foray of French and Italian inspired Mexican cuisine, in addition to many of the Cali-Mexican classics. On the chalk-written specials, you’ll find a couple off-menu items that look like a mistake. Escargot. Frog Legs. No mistake, and if you’re an adventurer of food – you should trust them.

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Escargot – Garlic, Butter, Tomatillo, Shallot & Crisp Toast

 In a similar vein to many of us, Juan’s first impression of eating snails was a negative one. But as a chef for a popular French-Italian restaurant, he couldn’t help but notice the high quantity of orders for the delicacy. It wasn’t too long before he was eating an order every night and perfecting his own recipe with garlic, butter, tomatillo, and shallot. 

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mexican frog legs antojitos don juan

Sauteed Frog Legs with Bacon Sauce

As much as frog legs can be compared to chicken, they’re still in a league of their own. Even when prepared at a high level (which these are) the texture and taste can still be too gamy for many palettes. But if you can appreciate the tenderness and taste of frog – this non-fried menu item is a must have. Oh, and it’s slathered in bacon sauce (or 3 additional from-scratch sauces).

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chicken cutlet

Chicken Cutlet

Taking on a similar consistency to Chicken Parmesan, of the multiple entrees we tried family style — this one got demolished first.

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Molcajete: Seasoned Chicken, Beef, Chorizo and Cactus

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bacon wrapped shrimp

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp in Spicy Cream Sauce

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Carne Asada Fries: Seasoned Beef, Garlic Sauce, Cheese, Pico de Gallo, Sour Cream, Cilantro

The garlic sauce on top of the fries really makes this dish unique. However, here’s some advice: while the sauce adds a ton of flavor, it needs to be eaten with 5-10 minutes, otherwise, soggy city.

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Fresh Salmon in Cream Sauce

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Flaming Plantain Foster with Vanilla Ice Cream

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Antojitos Don Juan

1130 W. Warner Ave.

Santa Ana, CA 92707

(714) 662-2035