The current banh xeo king in Orange County is Van’s Restaurant. But there’s a new challenger to the crown: Thanh Ha is barely a third the size of Van’s and is so new right now the nice chairs and sleek tables are still unscuffed and gleaming, but its banh xeo is twice as big as you’ll see anywhere else. Thanh Ha utilizes the largest wok possible instead of a regular pan to form its crepes, a method favored by Saigon banh xeo aficionados. The result is a thinner and even more delicate object, with the wingspan of small Cessna and so sheer you can see through it. Although Thanh Ha’s banh xeo may be more crisp than crunchy, the pork is leaner than what others use, and the shrimp are completely deveined, cooked to a state of pink perfection.
You're one of two kinds of bánh xèo eater. Are you the kind that takes a whole leaf of lettuce to wrap a shard or two of the crispy Vietnamese crepe and its fillings, rolling it up with herbs to make a makeshift burrito? Or do you just put it all... More »