California's Southbay Eats

5:18 PM

When visiting a new town, the first thing that comes to my mind is, What are some things I can eat here that I cannot find anywhere else? I took a weekend trip to San Jose recently, and took advantage of some delicious eats that could only be found there. Most notably, Vietnamese cuisine!

San Jose is known for its wide plethora of Vietnamese food: cheap pho (vietnamese beef noodle shop) and desserts can be found everywhere throughout the South Bay area! I took out my handy dandy Yelp app and entrusted it to find me the best food San Jose had to offered. It certainly did not fail me.

1. Bun Bo Hue An Nam (yelp) - East San Jose

Delicious bun bo hue. (Source:
Not that I eat bun bo hue to consider myself an expert, but wow, this place serves the best bun bo hue I've ever had! It was also the first time ever I experienced a wait to be seated a a pho restaurant - but now I know why.

The bun bo hue comes in two sizes, the regular and the large. I ordered the small size. Add a quarter for some "pizzle", which means "ox penis"! Do not be frightened of the p-word. I tried the pizzle, and it simply tasted like tendon. I'm sure it's chalk full of protein as well.

Ox penis (

The broth was savory and not at all too spicy. I was happy that the cooks did not skimp on the meat, as there was a great meat-to-noodle ratio. I finished my entire bowl feeling happy and very full.

Not to mention that service was impeccable; the waitress was very friendly and funny, joking with us as she seated us and took our orders. The bus boy stopped by to refill our waters. A must try in the San Jose area!

2. Nuoc Mia Vien Dong 2 (yelp) - East San Jose

Durian waffle (Source: Yelp)
After my bun bo hue, I had to get some Vietnamese dessert. Yelp pointed out a place across the street had delicious pandan (green coconut), durian, and taro waffles. Being the sucker for sweets and waffles I am, I dragged my companions to try it out. Boy, was it worth it.

I opted to try the durian waffle and it was heavenly. The waffle was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It was packed with durian flavor!

The best part? It was only $2 for the entire waffle.

Pandan waffle (Source:

Tip: Reading through the Yelp reviews now, it looks like you can even customize your waffle for half of one flavor, and half for another! I will have to go back and try this out! 

3. Pho Nam (yelp) - Sunnyvale

Beef stew. It also comes with a french baguette to dip the stew in. (Source:
There's many pho restaurants to choose from in South Bay, but one of my friends pointed out Pho Nam in Sunnyvale. There's not much to say except that it is great pho at great prices. I think a bowl of pho was around $6!

I had some beef stew with banh mi (french roll), and the grilled chicken with fried egg over rice. Sadly, the rice I had was not broken rice (smaller grains of rice, but somehow more flavorful than regular white rice), but no complaints here! Everything came in huge portions and was very delicious. My boyfriend had so much meat in his beef stew that he could not even finish it - and he's a big eater!

Similar to what I ordered; instead of the above pictured beef, I ordered chicken. It comes with a bowl of broth and fish sauce. (Source:

Oh, San Jose, East Bay could take a leaf out of your book.

4. Honeyberry (yelp) - Sunnyvale

My last stop in South Bay was Honeyberry to try their famed roti bun. I've seen adverts toting the roti bun as the "most delicious bun in the world", so inexplicably I had very high expectations.


I ordered the cream cheese filled roti bun and bit into it. Was it the best bun in the world?

No. Not even close.

I couldn't find the cream cheese filling, so I went up to the cashier to inquire. "I don't taste the cream cheese," I told her.

"It's a very small amount, so you could miss it," she told me. She then turned away before I had a chance to respond to this. What is the point of a cream cheese filled pastry if you can't even enjoy it?

Aside from the lack of filling, I did not see why the roti bun is a "must try". I could bear to not eat this for the rest of my life. I've definitely had better pastries elsewhere. It was still nice to try a roti bun, though.

After the rotibun, it was time to head home. I was sad to leave the city of delicious Vietnamese food, but I will definitely be back to try that half-taro and half-durian waffle.

- Mina
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