Little Saigon in Westminster, California is the largest concentration of Vietnamese shopping in the world outside Vietnam. This is a favorite destination for visitors of any background who want to explore the life of the Vietnamese community in the United States. Come experience what makes our cultural hub so special![rpi]
Little Saigon is the largest concentration of Vietnamese shopping in the world outside Vietnam and is home to many Vietnamese people. Located in Westminster, Orange County, California, this three square mile area showcases the rich Vietnamese culture of many of our residents, and hence is a favorite destination for visitors of any background who want to explore the life of the Vietnamese community in the United States.
The city of Westminster used to be a rich agricultural land and was chosen by the first group of Vietnamese refugees to be their destination to settle in 1975 and started spreading to the neighboring cities of Garden Grove. Little Saigon Westminster was born on June 17, 1988, when California Governor, George Deukmejian, officially dedicated the name “Little Saigon” to this area.
Little Saigon is a mixture of Vietnamese stores including nearly 2,000 restaurants, shops and businesses. At the center of Little Saigon on Bolsa Avenue (with Asian Garden Mall and Little Saigon Plaza are considered the heart), you will be able to find all kinds of food stores and restaurants serving Vietnamese dishes including “pho” – of course – the number one traditional dish of Vietnamese cuisine. If you get the chance to come to Little Saigon, you should definitely check out delicious food here served by famous chefs from the old Saigon who came here to settle down.
Besides, there are quite a few supermarkets and French style bakeries in Little Saigon serving coffee and sandwiches emulating the chaotic scene of life in Vietnam from the early colonial times. Restaurants serving Chinese dishes such as Chaozhou and Cantonese are also available here. In the early 2000s, Thuan Phat supermarket chain opened and quickly expanded in Westminster in 2005.
The most famous spot in Little Saigon is Phuoc Loc Tho shopping mall or also known as Asian Garden Mall. There are hundreds of shops providing a variety of products and services. Downstairs are stalls selling a whole lot of stuff from delish Vietnamese dishes, French-Vietnamese sandwiches and Chinese food to beauty salons, shoes and clothing stores,… Upstairs is the jewelry center, along with some rental kiosks for various administrative services and many record stores.
Phuoc Loc Tho mall opens until 7 pm everyday. But during the summer, the shops downstairs mingle with the stalls of the anual Night Market and open until late. The Night Market runs weekend nights for most of the summer, offering incredible food, entertainment, and shopping in a festival environment with hundreds of people gathering here, making Phuoc Loc Tho the most diverse and colorful mall in town.
In addition to food stores, trendy cafes and Instagram-worthy treats, there are plenty of Vietnamese pharmacies in this area, with the first two opened were Dong Nai and Aloha Pharmacy. The medical and legal services are served by many Vietnamese doctors, dentists, lawyers, and accountants who set up offices here to serve their fellow countrymen.
Regarded as the main cultural center of the Vietnamese American community, Little Saigon is home to a number of television, radio and newspaper stations such as Nguoi Viet newspaper, The Little Saigon News and Vien Dong Daily News,… with the aim of providing the up-to-date news in Vietnam for Vietnamese settlers.
Little Saigon has also emerged as the prominent center of the pop music industry with dozens of recording studios, which is probably many times larger than that of Vietnam. The development and prevalence of Vietnamese music in Westminster is spread among Vietnamese communities not only in the United States, but throughout Australia, France, and Germany as well. The headquarters of Vietnamese folk music companies like Thuy Nga is also located in the heart of Westminster. Most of the famous overseas music shows are released here, including Paris by Night, Asia center, Van Son center, etc.
Besides the purpose of shopping, Little Saigon is also a place where homesick Vietnamese people who live far from home come to just simply feel the atmosphere of their homeland and the love of their fellow compatriots. Early in the year, the Flower Festival takes over plazas, parking lots, and sidewalks offering a wide range of fresh flowers, plants, and other celebratory gear to prepare for the Lunar New Year (or Tet) held at Garden Grove Park nearby. People coming to the shopping center can easily join in this country’s most traditional celebration with the annual Tet Parade, dance competition and lots of other fun activities.
Little Saigon is definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in Southern California. Remember to arrive early at weekends (around 10:00 AM) since the streets are always jam-packed with shoppers flocking to the market. You will surely be surprised so don’t miss this lovely Little Saigon when you come to Orange County, California!