Best Vietnamese Restaurant Orange County 2013 - Vien Dong
When Vien Dong opened its doors at the tail end of the Vietnam War in what was then a sleepy little suburb, its owners couldn't have known it would be the first flag planted in what would become a microcosm of the Southeast Asian nation itself. Decades later, the restaurant is still going strong, serving up its northern-style food, including shrimp-and-sweet-potato fritters; turmeric-rubbed, dill-spiked fish; deconstructed Hanoi-style bún; and funky, spicy periwinkle sausage. Now, with a renewed emphasis on pleasant, American-style service, it's a better place than ever to dive into non-pho Vietnamese cuisine. Obligatory history lesson: Its former owner was Tony Lam, the former Westminster councilman who was the country's first Vietnamese-American elected official.