I tasted the best Vietnamese Spring Rolls ever this weekend. As I’m writing this post, I’m plotting my next return.
Last weekend FH and I were in Anaheim. We weren’t quite sure where to eat. Luckily, I was also dining with Kung Food Panda, and he suggested we eat somewhere in Little Saigon. With the slim Vietnamese offerings in San Diego, I readily agreed.
Recommendations by several trusted bloggers and 1000+ yelp reviews steered us to Brodard. Brodard actually has two locations: Brodard Restaurant and Brodard Chataeu. While both are related, Chateau is the fancier location which offers the same food but for a few dollars more. We went to the cheaper location, which seemed like a pretty nice spot once we were able to find it.
It’s tricky to locate because it’s nowhere to be seen once you enter the plaza. Instead, look for the 99 Cents Store, and go around back and then you’ll spot this easy-to-miss sign. Once inside though, it’s a rather large and nice looking restaurant.
This place tends to be crowded with a wait. We were lucky because we stopped by in the late afternoon and got a table right away. Still though, the restaurant was bustling and there was a constant line for the take out section the entire time we were there.
While Brodard offers a wide menu selection, KFP informed me that only the spring rolls are really worth it and everything else is just okay. So we decided to stop here for our “pre-dinner” meal only.
Normally when I order Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, I order goi cuon which is usually filled with fresh shrimp, pork, rice noodles. However, the special rolls for this place are the chao tom cuon (grilled shrimp paste) and nem nuong cuon (grilled pork paste). These popular rolls are even featured on the front of the menu.
There are two things that make these spring rolls standout from all the ones I’ve ever tried:
Crunchy fried pieces: Bite inside these rolls and you’ll find them stuffed with a surprise of crunchy bits of fried spring roll wrappers. While there are other recipes that also include fried crunchy bits, I thought they used the perfect amount. It gives you the wonderful sensation of eating both a fresh spring roll and a fried one at the same time. The fresh wrapper was also good. Not gummy or too thick. The spring roll alone was already really great. But there’s more.
Specialty Sauce: The rolls are accompanied with a house special sauce, with a secret recipe sought after by many. This sauce really stands on its own. It just happens that they serve it with these two spring rolls making them extra popular, but really you could eat this sauce with so many more things. It could work as a dipping sauce for other items, or maybe mixed with noodles.
We spent most of our meal trying to decipher the tastes in the sauce. It tastes of seafood, garlic, sweet, spicy. We tasted ground pork, shrimp paste, and many other flavors we couldn’t quite identify. The sauce was so good I ended up eating it on its own once we finished off our spring rolls.
We loved the spring rolls enough to order 3 each and then we got some to-go also. Unfortunately because of the fresh rice wrappers and the crunchy fried pieces, these don’t keep long. Otherwise I would have gotten more than one order for take out.
The spring rolls are so popular that there is a whole assembly line of employees making them. And the take out line was full of people ordering trays of these rolls for parties.
I was also surprised to see that Brodard offered some desserts like tiramisu, flan and French macarons! The French macarons were quite pretty and while they offered the more common flavors, they also offered some asian flavors too like taro, green tea, mango passionfruit.
The macarons here have a softer shell. I prefer the chewy shells. But what I like about them is the filling, which is very light. When eaten together, it tasted like the Asian style cakes. I initially bought five macarons. But while we waited for our spring rolls take out order, I started sampling them. Soon three were gone. Oops. So I got back in line and ordered six more so I would have enough to take home.
The spring rolls and house special sauce alone are definitely worth a trip to Brodard. It’s now made our rotation of must stops in the Orange County area to pick up food when nearby (along with beef rolls from 101 noodle express, spicy tuna bowl from Fukada, breads from 85 C). Here’s another shot of the sauce from the to-go order.
Here’s Pink Candles of Ridgemont High take on Brodard.
9892 Westminster Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92844