I am SO FULL of BEEF. Fan and I went to Vietnam House tonight with great plans to partake in Dac Biet Bo 7 Mon – Special Seven Courses of Beef. I’m normally not a great meat eater – I’d easily opt for a croissant or bread pudding over a good hunk of steak, but sometimes you just really crave meeeeeeaaat. Today was one of those days.

So here was our plan, one order of the Dac Biet Bo 7 Mon ($12.95) and a Banh Xeo ($4.95). Banh Xeo is the Vietnamese interpretation of a crepe stuffed with sliced pork, shrimp and bean sprouts galore. The ideal Banh Xeo batter made from rice flour and coconut milk, should be moist on the underbelly but bear a crisp, flaky skin. Vietnam House’s take on this specialty was heavy and somewhat soggy, save for the crispy edges which we quickly finished first. However they were generous with the filling, wonderfully fatty pork blending in with the cooked bean sprouts and shrimp. I first cut off a piece, fold it in lettuce leaves and quickly dip into the nuoc nam, which in addition to serving as a flavoring agent, helps to cut out the grease. This dish is fine example of how Vietnamese food seamlessly blends fresh produce with all dishes, even heavy ones, so that you’ll always end up with a balanced meal, intended or not.

Then came Course #1: Bo Nhung Dam, three slices of raw beef to dip, fondue-style into a vinegar and onion broth.

After you cook the beef, place a rice paper wrapper on your plate, pile it with fresh lettuce, cilantro, basil, mint, then pickled carrots if you so desire, sliced cucumbers and bean sprouts. Roll it up and dip into a blend of fish and peanut sauce with sliced garlic.

Courses #2,3,4 and 5 come all in one plate. At first I was like, aww man, this is cheating, sending out so many courses in one plate. But then after I started eating…well if everything on the plate is good, then maybe it’s not cheating? heheh. We begin on the bottom left with Bo Nuong La Lot, it was my favorite of the bunch, beef wrapped in lot leaf (tastes a lot like the laulau leaf!) and charbroiled. It was so juicy that one bite into the tender rod, breaking in through the leaves, released a gush of savory meaty juices. I intended to wrap it with the rice paper, but found it so much better with just lettuce and cucumbers. Right above it is the Bo Sate which, strangely enough, did not taste of sate at all! Nonetheless, it was still tender (especially when you got down to the steamy hot innards part) though not nearly as juicy as the Bo Nuong La Lot. Hiding under the shrimp chips is a trio of Bo Mo Chai, rounds of beef steak seasoned with just enough five spice for recognition and grilled in their own heavenly right. The big ball is Bo Cha Dum, a massive steamed meatball, so soft with yet tightly packed with peas, mushrooms and vermicelli adorning the fatty meat. I loved how it was so tender and easy to chew, almost effortless, really, and comforting…you know, in that way that Vietnamese meatballs make you feel?

The Bo Salat came next, a simple dish of peppered grilled beef with red onions over lettuce in a simple vinaigrette. I found it to be tasteless save for the tang of the dressing, and somewhat repetitive of the beef fondue.

Just when I start to think I can’t handle any more beef, we were brought Chao Bo, a bowl of beef jook. A nice, lighter way to interpret beef. Warm, very simple garnished with ginger and green onions, it was exactly as you’d expect…except for the tiny pieces of star pasta hidden inside! I almost didn’t notice it, but there they were, innocently buried among the grains of rice. It’s like a little surprise at the end of your meal…surprise! hehe, well I thought it was funny.

So I am totally beefed out, especially considering the fact that my diet is mainly based on starch and sweets. Before we left, I ordered a cup of ca phe sua da to go. Odd thing is, even though Vietnamese coffee is reported to be much stronger than American, I can go sleep after a cup or two of ca phe su da, yet just a tall starbucks mocha will keep me wired for the entire day. Odd how the body works isn’t it?

Well, I’m going to unbeef myself with a taro-mochi bun tomorrow morning. It was an adventure and a very delicious one at that, but I’m going to lay low heavy meat for a while. I’ll take a picture of the bun and promise to let you know how it tastes!

Vietnam House
710 W. Las Tunas Dr.#5-7
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 282-6327

  • KirkK
    January 29, 2007

    Loks great Kathy…do you think it was enough food? ;o) Sorry to say, I haven’t come across a good version of 7 course of beef in San Diego.

  • anonymous
    January 30, 2007

    Oooh wow, all that beef sure looks good! Just wondering, but how much did it cost for this meal?

  • anonymous
    January 30, 2007

    i dont have a food blog, but i’ll try to mimic you just for this one reply… hahaapologies in advance for lack of pictures, but honestly, if i did, you might feel bad for not living close enough… next time i go, i promise to take pics!!________________________________Mr. Pizza(corner of wilshire and st. andrews, ktown LA)they have normal pizzas that people eat everyday, but also a select handful of pizzas that seem to define the new wave of korean fusion-style pizza that we always hear about in the motherland. i had the potato gold pizza the other day, which was topped with bacon, ground beef, potato wedges, sour cream and a multitude of other toppings that blend together in perfect harmony. in addition, unlike most pizzas where the good part ends right before the crust, the potato pizza i had had sweet potato filled crusts topped with cheese that simply melts in your mouth! if there was any pizza that deserved to be called heavenly, this potato gold pizza would be it!there are other interesting fusion selections as well, like bulgogi pizza and nude shrimp pizza, which i plan on trying in future visits. but after my first, i have to say this place deserves at least a visit by anyone who loves pizza and is wiling to try something significantly new.the prices are a little bit more expensive than the usual pie. costs range from $13~20 for a regular (10′) pizza. go in groups and try a taste! enjoy!!!

  • anonymous
    January 30, 2007

    Omg, I need to go with you sometime. Anywhere. I just need good food. Next weekend, maybe? :D

  • Kathy YL Chan
    January 30, 2007

    Hey Kirk!It was sooo filling! But a very different filling from the kind I get after eating to much dessert, which is just a plain sick ugh. This was more like, whoa, totally stuffed to the brim…but I could go for something sweet! :)Hey Jackie!It was only $12.95 for all 7 courses and $4.95 for the Banh Xeo. It’s such a good deal! I’d go there everyday if only I lived say, 40 miles closer? hehe :)Oh Ed!Holy moly, I’m going to try my hardest to convince someone, anyone! to drive me there!! That’s seriously my dream pizza…I LOVE potatoes in any shape or form, and starch on starch action? Oh yes. I spent a good portion of my childhood feasting on Jack in the Box’s sour cream bacon potato wedges, and now I can have it reconstructed in pizza form, my god! Ok, I will do my best to get there! Now that I have a job, Mr.Pizza is first priority! :)Hi Francesca!Ahh! I haven’t seen you in so long! Am doing dance class again, no John, no you, but it’s looking to be a fun semester!!! Yes, lets eat out – anytime you want :)

  • Eddie
    January 30, 2007

    hey! guess what, i found their corporate website. =)http://www.mrpizza.co.kr/GLOBAL/eng/products/products_01.phpcheck it out!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    January 30, 2007

    Thanks Ed! I love how they say their pizza is “made for women!” :)really have to go try it now!

  • Chubbypanda
    January 31, 2007

    Isn’t Bo Nuong La Lot addictive? Maybe it’s the pickled betal leaf they wrap it in…The stronger tasting the coffee, the darker the roast. The darker the roast, the less caffeine is in it. Vietnamese coffees tend to use use French style roasts, which are Bold of Extra Bold. In comparison, Starbucks uses its House Blend, a Medium roast, for its coffee drinks. As such, Starbucks coffee drinks have less coffee flavor and a lot more caffeine. Add the big cups and all the sugar, and that’s why you’re so much more wired after one of their drinks.Here endeth the lesson.

  • anonymous
    January 31, 2007

    There you go again! The description of the Banh Xeo was SO ENTICING that I stopped reading the newsfeed at mid-paragraph to go look for a recipe (and I found one). Thank you for giving me an idea for lunch!P.S. That’s a lot of moo for one sitting but I would’ve gone for it too!

  • Shannon
    February 1, 2007

    mmmm, now i want some meat since all i eat is starch nowadays. that coffee bit about starbucks is good to know!

  • henrychan888
    February 2, 2007

    yes!! my favorite vietnamese restaurant for 7 course beef.. and it’s only 5 minutes away.. i’m there tomo.here’s my experience…http://biggestmenu.com/rdr/CA/San-Gabriel/Vietnam-House-1591061/3-6-of-7-Courses-of-Beef-13598?rssk=8

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