Little Paris is famous for its fresh to-go banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), tasty pho, and fragrant Vietnamese coffee. Seated quietly among array of produce markets and grocery stores, very few people know that Little Paris was actually the first Vietnamese eatery in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
After working in Little Paris over two decades, aunt Lan stepped forward to take over the business when the former owner Tran decided to retire. Mr. Tran, a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant who came to the States after the Vietnam War, started to introduce savory Vietnamese dishes into this neighborhood in 1982. Now with help from her daughter, Becky, and son-in-law, Don, aunt Lan is bringing this establishment a fresh look, but with the same authentic taste.
You can not miss their Bun Bo Hue here. This classic Vietnamese spicy pork foot soup is rare to find in the city, and only a handful of San Jose restaurants can offer the same quality serving. The broth here is not overwhelmingly spicy, but perfectly balanced with a bit of lemon juice and fish sauce. It is topped with slices of pork feet and handmade pork cakes, which will literally make your mouth water every time you recall this delicious dish.
“We want to carry on this San Francisco legacy, but add a little twist,” says Becky, the store manager. Going from a bank manager managing million-dollar assets to a small business entrepreneur, Becky started her transformation with Little Paris together with her mother and husband. And you can see the results of all their efforts: with a new sign and new interior, old customers kept coming back and new faces showed up. No wonder, for the banh mi is still toasted to perfection, handmade with fresh ingredients, and phos are substantial in both their quality and quantity. They now provide small bowl options for those seeking smaller portions or kids. Plus, they offer various unique boba drinks and special deals like $1 curry fish balls and 1$ self-heal herbal tea.