Best Divey Place to Slurp Noodles

Are you squeamish? A germophobe? If your answer to either question is yes, then forget about even setting foot in Trieu Chau in Santa Ana. When we use the word “dive” here, we mean it. The floor will likely have pieces of food on it. Also, the place is so cramped that you're probably—no, scratch that—you will most certainly get bumped by the busboys' cleaning cart. And when you come alone, you will be seated at a communal table to eat with strangers. One of those people may or may not start clipping his nails once he's done eating (this has actually occurred). It's the Wild West in there. Anything can happen. The only thing that's for sure is that the mi nam vang, the noodle soup it serves, is peerless in its perfection. No one, not even the place across town called “New Trieu Chau,” has ever come close to matching its lip-smacking goodness. The broth, wrung like a flavorful nectar from chicken and pig, also has generous cuts of the animals' meat. Plus, there's liver and pieces of duck hacked by cleaver. Spit out the stray fragments of bones as you slurp. But please, for God's sake, try not to add to what's already on the floor!

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