Van Restaurant (Nha Hang Van) Garden Grove

banh xeo

Whenever we crave banh xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes) or banh khot (Vietnamese mini shrimp cakes) we make a stop at Van Restaurant in Little Saigon. In business for over 20 years, Van Restaurant is another one of those Little Saigon institutions where their reputation is built on a few dishes, like Quan Bun Ban Mai and their canh bun, here it’s the crispy fried rice flour dishes of banh xeo and banh khot. Sure, they have other rice and soup items on the menu that you might be tempted to try– but you’ll probably be in the very small minority because if you’re a regular or have prior knowledge of this dish, chances are you came into this restaurant specifically for some crispy and savory banh xeo or banh khot.

banh xeo

Made from rice flower, coconut milk, and turmeric, Van specializes in making southern Vietnam style banh xeo which is huge, compared with central and northern counterparts. Generously stuffed with pork, shrimp, beansprouts, and onions these come to you crisp, hot off the pan. The other regions have their slight variations as well, including stuffing with mung bean paste.

The distinction between an okay and great banh xeo is the thinness and crispiness of the crepes–which is actually not an easy task. Van’s version is very thin and crispy, although on one occasional it was a bit oily and soggy probably because they do not bring it to us right away.

banh khot

Banh khot is made from similar ingredients and instead of pan fried in a large crepe, these are poured in little modes in cast iron pans, fried perfectly crisp and topped with shrimp.

banh khot

Both are eaten similary with a large accoutrement of fresh lettuce and herbs (mint, mustard leaves, basil, perilla). We both like to make lettuce wraps, however, you can just combine these ingrediants in a bowl and top with nuoc mam cham. It’s an explosion of flavors if your mouth from the fragrant crispy crepe to the hot savory beansprouts, shrimp and pork, balanced with the fresh herbs and lettuce…

The decor probably hasn’t changed a bit since they opened this store in the 80’s with old, sun washed photos, and it seems for the time being, their prices are also seem to be stuck in the 80’s as many items still under $5! Even the beer is $1.50! But we’re not complaining… The menus are well worn and even tattered, however, the regulars don’t need the menu because they’re here just to eat their excellent rendition of banh xeo and banh khot…

Van Restaurant – Nha Hang Van
14122 Brookhurst St,
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 530-6858

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe and

Bookmark and Share

  Pin It

14 Responses to “Van Restaurant (Nha Hang Van) Garden Grove”

  1. 1

    5 Star Foodie — August 7, 2009 @ 2:50 am

    The Vietnamese crepes and pancakes look awesome here! Sounds like a great place!

  2. 2

    nikkipolani — August 7, 2009 @ 5:25 am

    When I crave banh xeo, I just have to convince my mom to make some (well, I've made some, too, but you're right — getting the crispness right is difficult!). But now, maybe I'll get my fix at Nha Hang Van!!!

  3. 3

    Gastronomer — August 7, 2009 @ 5:32 am

    Do you guys by any chance know of a Little Saigon resto specializing in Central-style banh xeo? This place looks excellent, but I love how small and crisp the Central ones are.

  4. 4

    Anh — August 7, 2009 @ 7:06 am

    Oh yum! 🙂

  5. 5

    Ravenous Couple — August 8, 2009 @ 6:14 am

    5 Star Foodie: Check it out and let us know what you think!

    Nikki: Ooh you're so lucky!! We occasionally make banh xeo too and use beer in the batter.

    Gastronomer: We haven't come across central style banh xeo in Little Saigon, but if we do we'll let you know!

    Anh: These are some of the best in OC! 🙂

  6. 6

    Hummingbird Appetite — August 9, 2009 @ 12:32 am

    If I ever see these crepes at a restaurant, I will definitely have to try them.

  7. 7

    Anonymous — September 2, 2009 @ 2:06 am

    I have a friend who came from Cambodia when she was 8 during the Khmer Rouge regime with her aunt caring for her here. Vietnamese foods are eaten by Cambodian people & my friend has introduced me to many recipes. I'm in love with Vietnamese foods! Banh xeo is something she makes & I helped her with it so I could learn how.

    Getting the crispness just right IS hard but less than perfect results still taste awesome!! We layer mint leaves, regular coriander [ngò] Vietnamese coriander[rau răm] (& I like the herb fish mint [diếp cá] too but she doesn't) with the crepe, wrap it all in leaf lettuce & dip it in the specially made fish sauce. So delicious – I swear there's nothing else I've tasted that is SO good.

    It's really not hard to make & worth the trouble of learning to. There are a few good Vietnamese restaurants in our area but none that makes this crepe.

  8. 8

    Ravenous Couple — September 2, 2009 @ 2:12 am

    Anon: You're right–banh xeo doesn't have to be perfectly crispy to still taste good, but it doesn't hurt 🙂 All those fresh herbs are amazing with the crispy banh xeo. We've made it before and one day post about it. So glad you stopped by our site to comment.

  9. 9

    Anonymous — September 12, 2009 @ 11:40 pm

    I've tried making banh xeo, but can never get it to be crispy, do you have a recipe and tips that you could share? Your blog is fantastic. Also would you have any Vietnamese dessert recipes you could share like blackeye beans and glutinous rice with coconut milk? thanks.

  10. 10

    Ravenous Couple — September 13, 2009 @ 6:35 am

    anon: we have a few tricks up our sleeves, but haven't made it in a while but it's on our list to make. Che is also on our list to make as many good little time! thank you for reading!

  11. 11

    Anonymous — October 6, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

    Another place right down the street from Nha Hang Van is Hoa Binh. On the corner of Hazard and Brookhurst. They make really good banh xeo and their banh beo (with meat sauce) appetizer is the bomb. Happy eating!

  12. 12

    Tammy — August 9, 2010 @ 1:45 am

    You took some gorgeous photos, and I loved Van Restaurant. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

  13. 13

    Come back to America « francescannotwrite — June 17, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    […] rolls (yes, better than mine) at Brodard’s, and banh xeo (“Vietnamese crepes”) at Nha Hang Van’s Restaurant.  There is a language barrier at all these places, yet my stomach understands all the delicious […]

  14. 14

    chula — January 31, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

    just came from New year dinner at Van’s – bahn xeo, of course!! (WONDERFUL) and bahn flan, oh my…
    The restaurant has been “cleaned up” and redecorated – the bahn xeo is still under $6, staff friendly, great start to New Year!

Leave a Comment