Burbank: Mama Hong’s Vietnamese Kitchen

fried wontons

cream cheese wontons


I recently got back from a trip from Chicago where a number of people I met mentioned how much they didn’t like LA. It was a story I’ve heard before. LA is too big. But you know what? In this great expanse, there are a lot of people who do like LA. And some of them humbly live their lives without caring some cabbie in Chicago doesn’t like their city.

I was thinking about this as I look back on some recent meals. 2012 was a great year. Some really great meals come to mind. Most of them are fine dining meals because they are special. I haven’t been able to get to all those write-ups quickly enough because it involves a long tasting menu with multiple pictures, some of them even showing a different angle of the same dish. The bulk of the Minty and really, my life is made up of all those quick little meals I’ve had and enjoyed with friends.

Sometimes you eat that horrible sandwich or taco salad from the local cafeteria in your building because it’s quick and easy. It’s not what you really want. But we can’t eat 5 kajillion star meals every day. Because then it wouldn’t be special.

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with friends to watch a movie in Burbank. Burbank isn’t really known as a culinary destination. I have found some good food but it’s mostly those mom and pop joints which really is as mentioned, the bulk of the Minty featured meals. I found myself at Mama Hong’s Vietnamese Kitchen.

egg rolls

fried egg rolls


Mama Hong’s isn’t as homey as it sounds. It’s actually really beautiful with simple wall adornments and some expensive looking lighting. We sat directly across from the open-ish kitchen. My friends got bowls of pho. And they also got cream cheese fried wontons. Oh man. I didn’t eat those. I had instead some egg rolls. These were burning hot. I’d be careful of that first eager bite.

shrimp pho

shrimp pho

mixed seafood pho

mixed seafood pho


Later at the theatre, I heard a young couple behind me discussing Vietnamese food. The girl (and I say girl because she sounded about 17 or so) said Vietnamese food sounded “disgusting” because they eat things like duck. Oh, good thing we’re still in foiehibition then. She would probably never eat offal.

Frankly, it annoys me when people don’t try things because they think it’s weird or disgusting. Really? How do you know?

So perhaps I should have had the fried wontons. Nah.

beef stew

beef curry


I ended up getting beef curry served with some really great crusty French bread that was super soft on the inside. But it wasn’t quite enough so I got a side of rice. It doesn’t compare to my memory of the first time I ever had a dish like this but I still liked it on this cold winter night. And I’m happy such places like this exist in Burbank. In LA. And yes, some comfortable place friends can gather before a movie. That’s what makes the meal special.

Mama Hong’s Vietnamese Kitchen

221 N San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, CA 91502  —  (818) 558-6262

© The Minty 2013