Spotlight – Little Saigon – 02.14.11

Monday, February 14th, 2011

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.

Little Saigon
322-32555 London Avenue, Mission
Ring: 604.820.8131


33766 Essendene Avenue, Abbotsford
Ring: 604.859.8131

Contributor: Chrissy Lambert

Chrissy Lambert is a freelance Makeup Artist and owner of Makeup Infusion. She is a proud Auntie of two adorable nieces and loves a night out “on the town” as much as a quiet night at home.

3 Responses to “Spotlight – Little Saigon – 02.14.11”

  1. Danielle says:

    I can attest to the fact that their food is delicious. We had a craving for Vietnamese food on Sunday night but our usual place was closed and so was the Abbotsford location of Little Saigon. Undeterred, we ordered takeaway from the Mission location as we live near the Abby-Mission Hwy. Even after my husband drove there to pick it up and bring it home, the food was still hot, fresh and not soggy. I had the vegetarian spring rolls with vermicelli and my husband had the wonton soup. It was totally yummy, and we will definitely eat there again soon!

  2. Holly says:

    We have only eaten here once (at the Abby location), but were thoroughly impressed. Mike was a fabulous host, and really seemed to care that we had a nice experience. The food was SO yummy (I had the curry stew, my husband had the dish pictured above with the little eggrolls around the outside). Will most definitely be back!

  3. Bob & Vivienne Parkes says:

    We have just returned from our first dinner at Little Saigon Restaurant in Abbotsford. I had the Saigon Specialty pictured above & my husband had the chicken curry stew. For an appetizer we shared the spring rolls. All of the food was wonderfully spiced & totally delicious. Unlike so many restaurants, THE MUSIC WAS NOT TOO LOUD, and very pleasant, creating a very relaxed atmosphere in which to dine & carry on a conversation. Since, being a Wednesday, it was not too busy, the female co-owner(we neglected to ask her name) spent a fair bit of time conversing with us. We have visited Vietnam & found the conversation both interesting & enjoyable. Their lovely children happened to be at the restaurant adding to the homey atmosphere.
    Although the music was very nice some Vietnamese music would have been a nice touch.
    We had a lovely evening with wonderful food & great company.

Leave a Reply