Golden Flower Is Little Saigon's Latest Vegetarian Restaurant—And Also Makes Corn Milk
Bún bì, vegan style. With tea!
Photo by The Mexican
Ever drunk corn milk? I hadn't even heard of it until I visited Golden Flower, a newish Vietnamese vegetarian spot next to the old Pho Kimmy spot in the heart of Little Saigon. Golden Flower was pushing the beverage hard: There were posters near the cash register, plugs on the menu and a fridge next to the front door stocked with plastic bottles of the stuff. "Really good!" exclaimed a jovial woman whom I took to be one of the owners, as she was dressed nice and talking with workers just after a lunch rush.
I wasn't going to order any, though. Golden Flower's menu is surprisingly small—really just a few bún plates, faux fish and some rice dishes. The bánh xéo is a must-order, the mung bean crepe crispy on the crust, chewy in the center, and filled with mushrooms and bean sprouts. A small buffet near the kitchen is mostly for people who want food on the go. But the big focus here, of all things, is tea.
There's an entire page devoted to the hot drink, all of them medicinal and with specific purposes. The one that features hibiscus flowers, for instance, "lowers blood pressure, antispasmodic, decreases rate of absorption," per the menu; the tea I liked most, made from the lingzhi mushroom, relieves fatigue, and I must admit it did lighten my stomach after gorging on a mock-pork-skin bún and spring rolls. I'll have to order the mulberry tea sometime, but I probably won't get the one made from the bael fruit, as it offers "smooth bowel movement to patients suffering from gastrointestinal problems." Okay . . .
Whenever I visit, all of Golden Flower's tables have tea. But what about the corn milk? It has a sour smell at first, and the best way I can describe it is like downing a glass of cornbread—mildly sweet, silky, with the wonderful lingering taste of corn. Not bad at all!
Golden Flower, 14942 Bushard St., Westminster, (657) 266-0388; goldenflowerveggie.com.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.