Sunday, July 25, 2010

xoia eating in echo park

i'm barely literate in english let alone vietnamese so when my friend asked me to meet her at xoia in echo park, i just said, "oh, that new vietnamese place. sure!" when we got there, both my friend and i decided that it was not a phonetic vietnamese name and sure enough, our server told us xoia was pronounced "soy-yah" and was named after the owner's child...either that or they might have named the child "mango" in vietnamese, but the spelling would still have been incorrect. xoia definitely sounds a lot cuter than "bob" or "martha" or "mango" doesn't it?

we decided to sit outside in their patio area to inhale the fresh exhaust that comes right off of busy sunset blvd. ahh, nothing like combusted fuel to expand my appetite. of course, if you don't enjoy the automotive bustle while you eat, there is a larger dining area inside for you to enjoy your meal.

we started off with the pho beef tacos ($5.75) which were surprisingly yummy! these tacos tasted like a bowl of beef pho sans the soup and the noodles. the salsa was a fusion of red salsa with a hint of sriracha. my friend was eager to begin grubbing and squeezed lime on our tacos while i snapped away. i would totally order these again. you should too.

we also ordered the lemongrass pork carnitas banh mi ($6.50) which was a fabulous rendition of the traditional banh mi with long cilantro tendrils and vinegared daikon and carrot sticks spilling out. i loved the chunky carnitas with my every bite and the hint of lemongrass for a lemongrass lova like me left a wonderful fragrance in my mouth. this banh mi was quite generous in portion size because behind those white shrimp chips was the other half. two words: cheap date. you eat one half, i eat the other half and then we fall in love.

the mi quang ($9.25) was the main reason why my friend wanted us to eat at xoia. this dish is a hoi an specialty which i thought was rather delicious. although per my friend's observation that the noodles were a bit wider and thicker than what she had tasted in that region, i thought the thick yellow noodles xoia used were a great medium to sop up the delicate sauce that puddled at the bottom of the bowl. crispy black sesame chips, chopped peanuts, and crunchy bean sprouts gave this dish all the crunch you would ever need in a bowl of noodles.

we ended the meal with the banh xeo ($6.50) which was our least favorite dish of the night. the banh xeo was crispy which was a plus, but the pork was severely oversalted with a double ugh of severely overcooked shrimp that resembled dried chicken which were nestled inside. i'm also not use to banh xeo with peanut sauce which is normally served with nuoc mam (fish sauce). not to mention that the peanut sauce tasted thick and straight from the jar and lacked the typical garlic notes which i am use to.

i'm normally very critical when it comes to vietnamese eats because i grew up eating superb homecooked vietnamese food, but xoia did not disappoint even though there were a few details that needed tweaking. this is a cash only spot so i'll be sure to return with a wallet full of greens to try other xoia eats on the menu. perhaps i might even bring my mother. great yummy addition there echo park. nice.

1801 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-3232

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!
Xoia on Urbanspoon
Xoia in Los Angeles on Fooddigger


  1. Hmm. Echo Park just got more attractive to me.

    But sad re the banh xeo.

  2. The mi quang looks very good! I must return to treat my belly to a bowl.

  3. Sounds great! I'd split that pork carnitas banh mi with you! But you don't need to fall in love with me. ;)

  4. I'm beginning to think those pho tacos are just inconsistent. When I had them, they weren't good at all--I had two bites and stopped. I was so disappointed. Some people I know agree, but then others who I trust say they're delicious.
    I hope my experience was a fluke, but I'm scared to order them again!

  5. Ok, definitely need to try them again! We were there their first night (I know, so not fair) and were not blown away. But I trust you, so try again we will.

  6. Pho meat tacos sound really enticing to me, but I feel I must try the Mi Quang. If you approve, then it must be worth it! Awesome, I'll have to go there soon.

  7. what a bummer about the banh xeo, ive never had that but it looks like something id like. hopefully it was a one time error on the heavy salting

  8. omg im craving a banh mi so bad right now! i never ever cross over to echo park... y is it soooo far from the westside?!? :(

  9. Did Wandering Chopsticks respond yet? Cuz even as a non-Vietnamese, I know mi quang should be FREAKING TURMERIC-soaked yellow. And $6.50 for banh mi? Fuck YOUR life. Give me $4 and I'll deliver $2 banh mi's to you. I hope everyone who commented above will bank roll my new BMDS (banh mi deliver service).

  10. sharon- echo park is a fun place. you should def swing by.

    cathy- the mi quang was good. satisfying too.

    diana- too late, you already have my heart.

    eastside food bites- the server said the owner was still training his cooking staff. i'm not surprised that the food was inconsistent...probably still is.

    susan- yah, give them another try. it'll be so convenient to have good vietnamese eats close by!

    afro- hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! you back?!

    stuffycheaks- banh xeo done well is good. mmmm.

    helen- better question is, why is the westside so far from me? glad each area has its own good eats.

    tony- your anger makes me chuckle. goodness. divorce the price and the taste. the price sucks for banh mi but the taste was pretty good. would i go there ESPECIALLY for a banh mi but i'll go there if i need some version of vietnamese eats and pho cafe is ick.

  11. Interesting! Pho tacos... I notice this place whenever I drive by (it's that bright red awning), and you have swayed me to stop by one time :) It may not be authentic authentic, but it sounds like it's worth a try!

  12. misty- definitely give it a try. hopefully the consistency is there. i'm curious what you think of it.


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