The Quick Escape: Little Saigon

Enjoying streetside entertainment (John Fredricks/LARIAT STAFF)

John Fredricks

One of many “up-sides” on living in Orange County, might be how culturally diverse this West Coast region is. If you don’t take my word for it, then take your own by paying a visit to Little Saigon.

Upon arriving to the quick escape, you might find it in your best interest to figure out where exactly this place is…
 
The area of Little Saigon is bordered by the streets of Westminster Blvd., Bolsa Ave., Magnolia St., and Euclid St. Not knowing these key details will result in a very frustrating day: the last thing anyone wants to experience.
 
Within the 3 sq. mile area of Little Saigon, you will find hundreds of Vietnamese shopping facilities and restaurants awaiting to consume last weeks paycheck, whole heartedly of course. To narrow down your eating and shopping arrangements, you might find the Asian Garden Mall to be your best choice.
 
Just off Bolsa ave, the mall offers a more unique shopping experience than the Irvine Spectrum ever will. Fun Vietnamese trinquets, traditional far East fashions, foreign music selections, and even Nun-chucks are just some of the interesting things that can be found here. It might make a good destination if you have no ideas on gifts to give your loved ones when the time calls for it.
 
While your at the mall, why not try to dial in on your bargaining skills? Besides the swap meet, this may be your only chance to do so in this region.
 
After you grab your ice blended Boba drink from the Asian Garden Mall’s food court, try walking across Bolsa Ave and checking out the statue garden.

 
In this area, you will find 72 hand carves statues, and an Oriental style Gazebo. The gazebo serves as a Buddhist shrine, which are abundant throughout the township.
The Statue garden also features a large stature of the philosopher “Confucius”.
 
The garden was build in a somewhat awkward location in a parking lot behind a grocery store, but don’t let this turn you off. You might find the set sup to be quite amusing, and worth the 5 minutes out of your busy schedule. Other spots to check out will include a Vietnam War menorial, located in Freedom Park off 14180 All American way, as well a quick drive through the Vietnamese Gate. Little Saigon may just be the trip for the more spontaneous type person. The parking is not the best, things to see are a bit spread out, and besides shopping and eating, curiosity may be the last lifeline holding together your interest.
 
You might find it a more interesting or exciting experience by dusting off your old bike, and taking it along for this quick escape. It would defiantly provide a different a different route, then what you usually pedal too.
 
Little Saigon has the largest concentration of Vietnamese shopping in the world next to Vietnam itself. This means arriving before the lunch rush will be to your benefit.
So if your in this neck of the woods, consider paying Little Saigon a visit.
 
It may just be the dent you were looking for in that conservative schedule you were looking for this week.
Enjoy.

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