With the largest Vietnamese population outside the home country itself, San Jose is definitely the place to soak up Vietnamese culture. The heart of this population is informally dubbed “Little Saigon” (a reference to the former capital of Vietnam that became part of Ho Chi Minh City) and is located primarily southeast of downtown, offering culinary treats both for fans of Vietnamese food and those newer to it.
By Nikhil Misra
Don’t let the strip-mall location fool you, Huong Lan is the undisputed local hotspot for quality Vietnamese sandwiches and other satisfying snacks. Come to the informal walk-up counter in this specialty Vietnamese market to enjoy their renowned Banh Cuon, Bento Boxes, Banh Mi sandwiches, or other options that all come at great low prices. If it’s a sandwich you want—Vietnamese or not—Huong Lan has what you’re looking for.
Comfort food, soul food, feel-good food—call it what you want it—pho noodle soup is as reliable and popular as it gets when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine. Pho Y1 Noodle House provides the good stuff, filling you up but not weighing you down. Try some with a fresh avocado shake or other house specialty.
The award-winning Vung Tau offers immaculate meals and service in a charming environment for those looking to venture beyond pho noodle soup and banh mi sandwiches in favor of more authentic options, i.e. what Vietnamese families in the area are eating.
Try their Ba Nam Sadec or the grilled pork with coconut milk for a satisfying bite to eat, or choose any other tasty option from their extensive menu. Whatever you order, make sure to try some of Vung Tau’s revered and delicious sauces with it.
This local favorite makes authentic Vietnamese delicacies from scratch in a cozy yet elegant atmosphere, promptly providing generous portions with a smile. Bun Bo Hue An Nam is also the place for a bite of adventure; try a jackfruit smoothie or the ox penis soup for a delicious meal you won’t soon forget!
A small paradise for vegan and vegetarians, Tofoo Com Chay uses fresh ingredients to inventively prepare a delectable variety of entrees. From imitation chicken wings to spicy noodle soup to Thai basil tofu and more, there’s a satisfying meal in store for you—vegetarian or not.
Want to explore San Jose some more? Make a personalized day-by-day itinerary using your interests and budget in moments at tripplan.sanjose.org!