Ngoc Mai

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San Francisco seems to be full of Vietnamese places that serve mostly pho, but if you dig a little deeper, you can find some other good Vietnamese soup spots.

Banh xeo is a literally translated to "sizzling cake", which derives from the noise made from the rice batter being poured onto the hot skillet.  The crepe is made from rice flour, water, turmeric powder, bean sprouts, slices of pork, and shrimp.  The banh xeo here has a good crispy shell and is served with various leafy greens to use as wrappers.  Most banh xeo I've had is more on the oily side, but Ngoc Mai's is ultra crisp and not greasy at all.

The bun bo hue comes in two sizes and their small size is as big as a regular bowl in other restaurants.  Hot and steamy, but not as spicy I prefer it, this bowl of bun bo hue is one of better ones in the city. 

Another non-pho option at Ngoc Mai is bun rieu.  The thin noodle in the crab and tomato soup didn't have enough crab meat, much less fresh crab meat.  Its better at Kim Son (see post HERE). 

Address:                    Ngoc Mai
                                   547 Hyde St.
                                   San Francisco, CA
Type:                         Vietnamese/soup

Popular chomps:        bun bo hue
                                    banh xeo    

Chomp worthy:           banh xeo

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