54. Shellfish (Ô?c) from Hien Vuong

Shells, shells, everywhere! Pick your flavor.
Shells, shells, everywhere! Pick your flavor.
Dave Lieberman

Behold our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!

One of the best things about summer in Orange County is the night market at the Asian Garden Mall. Strings of lightbulbs are put up, and the warm air sizzles with the scent of grilling pork, simmering soup, and bubbling seafood. But it isn't all outside; the food court inside gets into the spirit of things as well, and Hien Vuong Da Kao, the first booth as you walk into the mall from the front, has a huge selection of small-shell seafood.

Ốc are technically snails, but the term is loose enough to include razor clams (ốc móng tay) and sea snails or periwinkles (ốc biển). On display at Hien Vuong Da Kao inside the mall is a huge selection of shelled seafood. Some are poached in basil oil; some are simmered in coconut curry; some have ginger and garlic. Whatever it is, it's not terribly expensive to try it, you can order by pointing if the language barrier is too great to talk, and before long, you'll find yourself slurping and sucking your way through the dish with a mountain of razor shells, pen shells, spiral shells and round shells piling up next to you.

See also:

The List:

55. Basic Bol from Boldo Bol 56. Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill 57. 10-Item Plate at Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill 58. Leche Frita at Cafe Sevilla 59. Happy Hour Sushi at Ginzaya 60. Red Beans and Rice at Disneyland's French Market 61. Consommé from Tacos y Birria El Güero 62. Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich at Little Sparrow 63. Breakfast Taco at Sapphire Laguna 64. Husky Burger at Husky Boy Burgers 65. Love Bagel from Koffee Klatch 66. Kouign Amann From The Crema Cafe & Bakery 67. Chili Lime Popcorn From Green Tomato Grill 68. PB & J At Hopscotch 69. Takuwan Sushi from AnQi by Crustacean 70. Ube Ensaymadas from The Ensaymada Project 71. Pork Bánh Mì at the OC Poultry and Rotisserie Market 72. Tacos Gobernador from Mariscos Los Corales 73. Dutch Baby at the Original Pancake House 74. Doughnuts from Sidecar 75. Lengua Tacos at La Chonita 76. Oysters from Carlsbad Aquafarm at the Orange Homegrown Farmers Market 77. Lemon Miso Crab Melt at Umami Burger in Laguna Beach 78. Pani Puri from Adya 79. The Pocket at the Pocket Burger 80. Gyro Sandwich from Paul's Place 81. Slice of Heaven at Pie-Not 82. Taquitos at El Toro Bravo 83. Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut at the Donuttery 84. Dan Dan Mian at Wei-Shian Noodle 85. Beef Burger at Rider's Club Café 86. Smoked Trout at Provenance 87. Small Plates at A&J Restaurant 88. Corn Cheese at Zoomak Asian Bistro 89. Pumpkin Curry at Bhan Baitong 90. Poke at Costco Tustin II 91. Pambazo at Tacos Radioactivos 92. Beef Pho at Pho Crystal Noodle House 93. Breakfast Burrito from Cafe Calacas 94. Koobideh Plate from Grill Cafe 95. Tacos de Cecina from Alebrije's 96. Jajangmyeong from Ching Chinese Express 97. Breakfast Sausage from Da-Le Ranch 98. Any Special Dinner by Old Vine Cafe's Mark McDonald 99. Tres Amigos Burrito from Piaggio on Wheels 100. Bacon-Wrapped Dates from Lola Gaspar

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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PHO HIEN VUONG DAKAO

9200 Bolsa Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683

714-897-4330


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