Monday, April 21, 2008

Gangsters in OC and Some Pate

On my second day in the OC, I drove to Little Saigon, which is about 15 minutes away from Disneyland. I was craving good Vietnamese food and wanted to explore.

"Little" is a misnomer for this place.  This place is freaking huge!  I felt like I had actually traveled TO Vietnam.  Every sign all over the place is in Vietnamese there's nary a white person in sight.  I expected the normal "Saigon Grill"-type restaurants and your average crazy Asian grocery store, with shoppers in their own world and don't realize the existence of other foods outside of their dimension.  I saw all those and also Vietnamese fabric stores, travel agents, banks, vacuum repair shops, candy stores, upholsters...you name it, I saw it.  I also heard later on that I was driving through prime Asian gangland territory and that there are regular fights between the Cambodians and Vietnamese.  "Fearless" should be my middle name.

In addition to eating some tasty Vietnamese Pho and Banh sandwiches, I also was on a quest to find some Vietnamese pate.  For those of you have never experienced the ethereal delight known as a Banh-Mi sandwich, what's keeping you?!?  It's the most delicious hoagie sandwich you've ever had with either pork or chicken or beef as the main ingredient or a crispy baguette, and dressed with cucumber, pickled daikon or carrots, cilantro, some hot sauce and Asian mayonnaise and finally pate.  If they changed every sandwich shop in NYC into a Vietnamese gangsta deli, I couldn't be happier.

It was the pate that I was on a quest for.  I've been wanting to make my own Banh-Mi forever, but couldn't find the special Vietnamese pate.  When I got to Little Saigon that day, I had my list of five or six Vietnamese grocery stores to find this magical substance.  One by one, I crossed the stores off my list without luck.  Finding this stuff is like trying to find oil in Texas.  You know it should be there, but where the hell is it?

At the last store, I finally asked some random woman.  I asked, "Excuse me.  Do you know the pate that's used in Vietnamese Banh?  Do you know where I can buy some?"  I thought she was going to point to me some hidden store in a dark alley.  Maybe this was black market stuff (sold by those Asian gangs).  

The woman was very nice and told me, "Oh sandwich pate?  We just use the American one.  Even in Vietnam, they just use the American one."

So much for my efforts at being authentic.

8 comments:

Ming the Merciless said...

My brother in LA says the same thing about Little Saigon being gangland too. He said he won't want to be there after the sun goes down.

That said, I always hear that New York Chinatown has a lot of prostitution going on but I NEVER EVER see a prostitute there. Hmm!!
[Disclaimer: I'm not Eliot Spitzer.]

thwany said...

banh-mi is the bomb

David said...

Unfortunately, because of its ingredients, banh-mi is forever off my list of foods I can eat.

Todd HellsKitchen said...

I like Vietnamese food... Although some restaurants (like Thai) tend to put sugar in things... I don't like sugar in things!

Soul Seared Dreamer said...

Oh well.

teahouse said...

Ha! So what brand of American pate do they use? I LOVE pate...

Anonymous said...

Will send ya some over from oz if ya like?

TCho said...

ok. but who are you?