Neighborhood Vietnamese in Rosemead.
I use the term Neighborhood Joint a lot when I describe some restaurants on this site. One of the things I like about the term is that it covers a lot of ground in a such a short space. I describes a level of comfort, of ease…a lack of pretension that I like in restaurants I prefer. So yeah, its a compliment in my mind.
Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa is total neighborhood joint.
Neighborhood joint also describes the clientele. They’re regulars. They’re local folk. Local Vietnamese-Americans looking for a good meal. And you’ll find one here.
When you walk in…well…the first thing you’re going to notice is that it’s crowded. Crowded as all get out. Plenty of tables, large capacity, and still you’re probably going to be waiting a while. Especially if…if…
Skip ahead to the safety tips, and I’ll finish that story.
Well, at least the guys had the good sense not to drag their dates to Applebee’s. I mean, c’mon. Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa’s got better food.
Once I’m seated, they give me what seems to be the oldest, least english speaking dude they’ve got to wait on me. He’s very insisted that I try the Spring Rolls, so I defer. But when it turns out they’ve got shrimp in them, upon my request he makes sure that they take care of that in the kitchen.
Turns out his English is pretty damn good after all. I start feeling better.
My tonic arrives, and I just try to blend in…while I have a pork-tastic evening of food.
My general consensus is that the place was probably better than okay, but what I’d ordered was so dull and boring that I didn’t get the full flavor of what Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa can do. I really need to go back and try something else, possibly one of their many meatballs on a stick. But if the Vietnamese American community of Rosemead is trusting it, then I’m trusting it.
But…be sure to read the safety tips before you go.
A food blogger’s work is never done.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, when in doubt, I when with a pork-heavy evening.
There are a lot of meatballs on the menu, and I’m going to go back and try them, but by waiter was really, really insistent that I try the Spring Rolls. They came with Shrimp and I was able to get them held, but they came with chunks of sausage, so I was more than happy.
I also tried the Cam Tam Suon Nuong, which is a Charbroiled Pork Chop served on Broken rice.
What is Broken Rice? Well, it’s a Vietnamese dish made from rice with fractured rice grains. According to our friends at Wikipedia, the main ingredient, broken rice, is a traditionally cheaper grade of rice produced by damage in milling. It is mainly used as a food industry ingredient in America and Europe, but in West Africa and South East Asia is used for human consumption.
Tasted good to me.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa is a cash only joint, which probably helps keep some of their costs down. Now, how do I know this? Well, the hard way. I had no idea when I walked into their door for first time that it was cash only, so I had to walk a couple of blocks to find that Chase ATM I saw on the way in.
You’ll notice that this restaurant does not have a Website, but it does have a Facebook Page. On in are some hours which are copied at the bottom of this review. Allz I’m saying is I went there for lunch one afternoon, and the joint was locked up tight. This was a weekend. It wasn’t a Wednesday (when they’re listed as being closed).
Just assume the Hours are more like guidelines, rather than rules.
PARKING: Weird. There is a fairly large lot out back. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve been able to get parking, yet being as crowded as it gets, I’m not surprised that people on Yelp are complaining about the Parking. I’d give it a shot. Failing that, there is a lot of street parking along Mission Dr. be prepared to walk a block or so.
There’s a High School across the street from the restaurant. It’s parking lot is empty, but I wouldn’t chance it because who knows how touchy the School Administration is going to be about food lovers parking there, even when School is out.
Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa
9016 Mission Dr.
Rosemead, CA 91770
Tel: (626) 286-3370
Daily 10:00am – 9:00pm (except Wednesday)