Hong An Restaurant & Vietnamese Grilled Beef

Hong An is one of the few restaurants in the Little Saigon area of Orange County, California, that serves Bo Nuong Vi, which is grilled beef wrapped up as spring rolls.  There are a few Hong An in the area due to the fact that people don’t like cooking their food when going out to eat.

Bo Nuong Vi is a fairly simple dish to prepare as it includes thinly sliced pieces of beef marinated with lemongrass and a dash of sesame oil.  There are a bunch of variations of the marination but those are the basic ingredients like a picture at a coffee shop and hot dog beach pictures are symptoms of being a basic bitch.  There are additional sides of squid and shrimp to mix it up; however, it really comes down to individual preferences like over or under for toilet paper.  The biggest problem is finding enough room for everyone at the dinner table and making sure the fat kid doesn’t sit in front of the grill.

Hong An Restaurant
Ground Beef Sausages

I personally like preparing Bo 7 Mon courses at home because I could custom it to how I prefer the courses.  However, there are times when I don’t feel like cooking and just want to go eat, so I could get my fix.  I’m an Instant Gratification Expert.  Hong An has been around for a while.  When I mean a while, I remember going here with my parents in the early 90s.  It’s one of the few establishments that has passed the test of time unlike celebrities with plastic surgery.   The restaurant is a pretty large with multiple 8-10 people tables and you could expect the typical signature Vietnamese service here.

Service is kind of slow and you could totally tell it’s a family run restaurant.  I don’t mind it much cause I feel for them.  I used to date someone who owned a family restaurant and she used to tell me how stressful it could be for her family.  However, she broke up with me for not listening to her or something.  I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.

Now, the food.  Hong An offers Bo 7 Mon (7 courses of beef) and Grilled Fish (Ca Nuong).  The courses are to be wrapped with rice paper like springs rolls and filled with mint leaves, lettuce, slices of cucumber, slices of carrots and vermicelli.  I don’t like to take up space with veggies so I forgo all the healthy garbage.

  1. Beef Courses:  The beef dishes begin with a salad, so we usually discard that dish cause who the fuck eats salads.   That’s like going to McDonald’s and ordering a salad.  However, the salad is fairly decent when dipped in their nuoc mam sauce.  The sauce is what brings out the flavor of the course.  Bo nuong mo chai is grilled ground beef made into sausages wrapped in a casing like a mummy except it doesn’t come alive and try to kill you.  Bo nuong vi is the grilled thinly sliced beef and the main attraction like watching kids cry when a clown shows up at a birthday party.   The key to this is cooking the beef medium rare, so you could taste the flavors of the beef with the marination.  If you eat beef well done, you probably need to rethink your life.
    Hong An Restaurant
    Bo Nuong Vi
  2. Grilled Fish: It’s a whole grilled fish cooked to perfection and placed in the middle of the table.  Once it’s on the table, I can guarantee people will all have a moment where they look at each other to see who draws their gun first and go in for the kill.  The moment of decency is gone within seconds as people are fighting each other and hitting each other’s chopsticks away to grab a piece.  The fish is marinated with some of the traditional Vietnamese ingredients.  It’s aroma combined with the moist and rich flavors will make any non-fish eating person a fan.
    Hong An Restaurant
    Grilled Fish

Overall, Hong An is a hit or miss like how people online take their pictures at a downward angle.  You don’t really know what to expect until you’re there in person.  Get the point?  The dishes aren’t bad, but they’re not great.  I think it could be so much better if the nuoc mam sauce was consistent.  The nuoc mam is sometimes good and other times it’s too watery.  That’s the reason why it’s hit or miss.   It’s kind of like every relationship out there.  It has its ups and downs but it’s there for you if you need a quickie.  Wipe that smirk off your face.

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  • 6/10
    Service - 6/10
  • 6/10
    Presentation - 6/10
  • 6.5/10
    Flavors - 6.5/10
  • 5/10
    Decor - 5/10
  • 5/10
    Ambiance - 5/10
5.7/10

Summary

Hong An is your typical Vietnamese restaurant in Little Saigon, CA. The family owned restaurant serves Bo 7 Mon (i.e., 7 courses of beef) and grilled fish. It’s been there for you through the years like every relationship in the world. The good and bad times go through stages but it’s there when you need a quickie.