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The hyper-minimal aesthetic-meets-hyper-maximal flavors of Sesame Dinette is certainly one of its core charms and attractions, especially given the clean space is literally tucked between an auto shop and pharmacy on Pacific at Pacific Coast Highway.

But there is something particularly special about Sesame Dinette—and that is the fact that much of our Vietnamese food is passed through a Cambodian or Thai lens. Even our much-loved Pho Hong Phat is Cambodian owned and operated—and that necessarily isn’t a bad thing but it does provide a deep yearning for traditionally prepared Vietnamese food by Vietnamese hands.

And that’s where daughter-and-mother, owner-and-chef team Linda Sivrican and Chef Judy Mai Nguyen come in: What started as a market popup in DTLA’s Chinatown during the pandemic, where Nguyen’s cold food was served out of a refrigerator, blew up into a national sensation, garnering coverage from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times.

Nguyen’s food is special: It spans the traditional and even breaks away from it—like her beautifully witty pho French dip—but the traditional is where Long Beach can begin to explore some genuinely gorgeous Vietnamese dishes, like her bún thịt nướng with chả. Vermicelli noodles colorfully painted with green, pickles, peanuts, carrots, bean sprouts, and a variety of pork—in this bowl, something special: chả, or Vietnamese pork sausage—before you get to douse it with a fish sauce vinaigrette and toss to your delight.

Or go for the phở đuôi bò, a classic oxtail pho with a clean, nearly clear broth and chunks of beef falling off the tailbone. Or the mì vịt tiềm chay, a vegetarian version of a noodle soup that features braised “duck” tofu, and a broth with the fragrant aromas of jujube dates and shiitake mushrooms.

In all honesty, there are no bad orders at Sesame Dinette.

Photos and written by Brian Addison.

For Brian Addison's full profile on Sesame Dinette, click here.

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