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Com Bo Hoac Ga Xao Xa Ot
Courtesy Photo

Move forward with this review only if you are adventurous and not feint-of-heart for a couple of reasons. One is the review is about authentic Vietnamese cuisine and secondarily, location, location, location. Let’s just say that while it is merely a block away from the beautiful Talmadge and Kensington area, here a block away makes a bit of a difference in culture and demographics. That said, read on brave souls.

Situated on the corner of El Cajon Blvd. and 47th street, NHU Y Vietnamese Restaurant is a unique experience of dining pleasure. This is the real deal, straight from Asia, authentic Vietnamese cuisine. There is no ramped up culturally correct décor or flamboyantly dressed staff. The restaurant is not about style and trends – it’s about the food.

Sparsely furnished with only basic kitchen tables and chairs and the only entertainment, a ceiling mounted TV broadcasting Asian stations, one could feel a bit out of place. In our travels there the restaurant seems to be frequented by locals and regulars. We were greeted with smiles and open arms and quickly led to a table. Fixating on the menu, on which there are ninety-five items to choose from (yes that’s right ninety-five) the matter quickly turns into not what I can find to eat, but instead, it all looks so good how can I choose?

For appetizers we started with Cha Gio Cuon (egg rolls) and Goi Cuon Cuon (shrimp and pork spring rolls) served with a plate of lettuce, mint and cilantro (and other unimaginable fare). The egg rolls were the best we’ve ever had, and the spring rolls vanished without a trace, other than a slight "yum" sound. Not being able to stop ourselves we each ordered soup. Phu Ga Long (chicken noodle soup) and Banh Canh Ga (rice noodle soup with chicken) which were brought to the table in large steaming hot bowls.

Banh Canh Ga
Courtesy Photo

Efficiency being the nature of the establishment, our main courses arrived before we had a chance to finish our soups, but it was a welcome addition. Com Bo Hoac Ga Xao Xa Ot (lemon grass & cayenne pepper chicken over rice plate) and Bun Bi Thit Nuong (char-broiled pork and shredded pork w/rice vermicelli) were included into the mix. Both were extremely tasty and delectable delights to savor.

There was so much food that we couldn’t help but have doggy-bags made up, literally supplying us with another night’s meal. The entire meal cost us about $25, a bargain in any restaurant. The staff was friendly and even though there was a little language barrier, the smiles and desire to assist their customers vanquished away any sense of discomfort.

A sense of adventure, yes. Not for the feint-of-heart, hardly. A great authentic meal and an even greater value, definitely. So live on the edge a little and give NHU Y a try, you will not be disappointed.

Details »
  • City: San Diego, CA 92115
  • Phone: (619) 282-4545
  • Name: NHU Y
  • Address: 4712 El Cajon Blvd #A