You need to take only a quick look at a map of Vietnam to see why seafood stands out in our cuisine. With the country’s long coastline and extensive Mekong River system, it’s obvious why seafood is predominantly showcased at the Vietnamese table—both in Vietnam itself as well as in Little Saigon. Not only is seafood served with every lunch or dinner meal, but it is even served at breakfast (such as our rice porridge with braised catfish or shrimp).
Little Saigon’s individual fish markets as well as the large seafood sections of the Vietnamese markets offer an ocean bounty that far surpasses any American market. They are the sole source of fresh (and inexpensive) seafood for the community. The Vietnamese fishmongers in Little Saigon are true professionals in their field. Provided there is no language barrier, the fishmonger can offer information about the flavor, freshness, and quality of every type of fish and will steer the customer in the right direction to create the perfect seafood dish. The community is so small and close-knit, any fishmonger or market selling poor quality seafood would quickly go out of business.