Little Saigon is stitched together with rich Vietnamese culinary fabric that of course doesn’t stop at pho, spring rolls, or imperial rolls. Some of my favorite meals are at noodle houses. I didn’t get the sense that Mai Phung makes their noodles in-house, but this Westminster Plaza standout still crafted my favorite non-pho Little Saigon noodle bowl to date.
Mai Phung clearly isn’t a secret. This tiny restaurant with mirrored walls has been open for seven years and had a sizable wait when I arrived. Thankfully, tables turned over quickly, and they even took orders before seats became available, to speed the process. They specialize in rice and egg noodle bowls that come either dry or in soup. I was a big fan of Mi Mai Phung Kho ($9), egg noodles (mi) served dry (kho). As always, any menu listing that includes the restaurant’s name is always a good sign, and that theory bore out in this case.
Firm egg noodles arrived on a bed of crunchy bean sprouts and torn romaine lettuce dressed with tangy nước mắm (fish sauce) and topped with plump shrimp, sweet crab, and three different pork preparations: sliced, ground, and crispy chicharrones. Request all three proteins, since not all of them are prescribed. A cup of peppery soup with garlic chives arrived on the side. At other restaurants, I’ve felt the need to spoon soup onto noodles since they were too dry, but not at Mai Phung, where they nailed every aspect of their signature noodles.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.