OCTongue Served: Vietnamese at Brodard & Hot Pot at Haidilao
Updated: Dec 27, 2020
This post is about two Asian cuisines I was fortunate to have enjoyed this year: Vietnamese at Brodard and Chinese hot pot at Haidilao.
First, Brodard. I went here to celebrate a girlfriend's birthday. Located in Fountain Valley in north Orange County, Brodard is famous in the area for serving good Vietnamese food. I had only been there once, a long time ago and was happy to have taken a chance by rediscovering it again on this day. It had been sweltering hot even in coastal South Orange County for most of September, and it was a nice change to have left our house for the afternoon. Our usual weekend jaunts to the beach had been stunted because of the unusually hot weather and while I enjoy the sun, feeling its rays on my skin while there's a breeze is the perfect combination. Back to the food....My friend ordered for me as aside from pho, I am not so familiar with Vietnamese cuisine. Everything we tasted was delightfully delicious, colorful and memorable. I look forward to the next trek to north OC for this appetizing experience!
Later in the year, it was my turn to celebrate a birthday and the same girlfriend and I happened upon HaiDiLao ("under the sea"). Hot pot cravings remained and after stopping at Habitat Restore, I googled a hot pot location within five miles of the store and Haidilao appeared. Upon reading its history (founded in the 1990s in Asia and boasting 900+ locations worldwide), we decided to drive two miles to Diamond Jamboree, and I was glad we did. It was one of the best culinary experiences of this year, and likely the top five customer service I've received at a restaurant. We shared a seafood hot pot with a combination of a mushroom and a spicy base. Their service was impeccable - every few minutes, someone on their team stopped by our outdoor table to see if we needed anything. Inside, in the restrooms, customers can partake of free toothbrushes, combs and other toiletries. For my birthday, they sang a cute song, had a colorful light show during the greeting and handed me a beautiful blue and white personal cutlery set, complete with a stainless steel pair of chopsticks. It was another colorful treat which made turning a year older so much fun.