Banh Beo is a classic Vietnamese appetizer which is very cheap, yet extremely flavorful. It is a steamed rice cake that is topped with dried shirmp, dried scallops, scallions and it is served with a sweet fish sauce. The best way to eat it is to take your spoon and scrape the rice cake so it separates from the little plate. Add 2 – 3 scoops of fish sauce then cut the Banh Beo in half (or quarters) and enjoy. I love this dish because it is an awesome reflection of Vietnamese cuisine. It was born out of poverty and necessity because it is very inexpensive to make, yet it is super packed with flavor. I always start off my meals at Thuan Kieu with a Banh Beo, I highly recommend trying it out.
(TIP: This is a great dish to eat when you are drunk)
My favorite entree at Thuan Kieu is the Mi Kho Dac Biet (Special Dry Egg Noodle served with soup on the side). This dish consists of egg noodles served with BBQ pork, fish cake, shrimp, scallions and cilantro served over sweet sauce (at the bottom of the bowl). On the side you get a beef broth soup served with a slow cooked piece of bone in beef. The meat is literally falling off the bone so it is super tender and delicious. The way I eat it is I add a few scoops of the beef broth to the egg noodles to get the noodles wet but not soaking in liquid. I soak the BBQ pork in the soup to soften it up then I mix up all the noodles so it is completely coated with the sweet sauce and beef broth.
In Garden Grove there are a ton of Vietnamese restaurants, but the reason I love Thuan Kieu is because overall all of their dishes are really good and they are super cheap. I can eat there with my wife with an appetizer, two main courses and a dessert for under $22.00, and it wasn’t fast food!