When people think of Mission, they may not think of authentic Vietnamese food, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Little Saigon. Along with that find, you will discover another local gem, the restaurant’s owner, Nghia Tran, or Mike, as many people know him. Unassuming and friendly, Mike is the type of guy who makes you feel as though you’ve stopped in for dinner at a friend’s place.
After working as a computer technician, and then switching careers in order to help out with the family business, Mike was the main cook in the kitchen at his brother-in-law’s restaurant for over two years. He was more than ready to venture out on his own and did just that with his first Vietnamese restaurant in Mission in 2006. Nestled in the busy Junction, this restaurant has been thriving ever since and as of last year, is now joined by another restaurant of the same name in the heart of Abbotsford.
Vietnamese food is strongly influenced by French cuisine, with hints of Chinese flavors as well. Some of the delicacies on the menu include crispy quail (yum!), betel leaf beef wraps and coconut curry chicken stew. It truly is an enjoyable fusion of flavors.
Using traditional marinating techniques and Asian spices, but modern presentation, this food is not only healthy for you, but delicious. Many of the dishes contain small meat portions and are accompanied by vegetables with rice or rice noodles. The flavors are consistent at both restaurants, which is the result of having a centralized cooking location for key ingredients such as their broth that is cooked for 10 hours.
Little Saigon has two great locations to visit and they also offer take-out and catering options that are a great alternative to the standard sandwich or pizza fare for meetings or other social events. They are now bottling some of their sauces and also make several frozen take-home options for those of you who want to get your Little Saigon fix or venture further into the world of Vietnamese cooking in the comfort of your home.
There are too many delicious dishes to choose just one, but some of our favorites are the Saigon Special, thai wings and calamari. With some of the menu items being named after the regulars who eat here, you will soon discover your own favorites as you come back time and time again. Or at least we will keep going back, until Mike finally reveals the “mystery” of the best tasting iced tea you may ever have.
Thank you to Mike for sharing some food photos for this post.
322-32555 London Avenue, Mission
33766 Essendene Avenue, Abbotsford