“Little Saigon” in Westminster Posted by Kandle Dart on Mar 15, 2022 in Culture, Travel, Vocabulary
Last blog, I talked about the “Little Vietnam” in Chicago. This blog, I would like to introduce you to the “Little Saigon” in Orange County, California. California is home to the largest overseas Vietnamese community in the world, and Orange County has been considered the “capital” of the Vietnamese overseas in the United States. Just to give an idea of how large the Cộng đồng người Việt (Vietnamese Community) in Orange County is: there are over 52,000 (>30%) Vietnamese in thành phố (city) of Garden Grove, and over 36,000 (>40%) of Vietnamese in thành phố Westminster.
Here in Quận Cam (Orange County), you find Vietnamese businesses and restaurants everywhere. When the Vietnamese mention “Little Saigon” in Southern California, they mean the area that has a concentration of Vietnamese businesses in thành phố Westminster, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, and Santa Ana. The heart of “Little Saigon” is the “Asian Garden Mall” on Bolsa Avenue, between Magnolia and Brookhust boulevards, in thành phố Westminster. The mall is protected by three large God statues in the front in order: Phúc/Phước (Happiness), Lộc (Wealth), and Thọ (Longevity). Hence, it is commonly known by the Vietnamese by the name “Thương Xá Phúc Lộc Thọ” (Phuc Loc Tho mall).
Thương Xá Phúc Lộc Thọ is a two-story building with an Asian roof top. In there you will find a Vietnamese food court with all the authentic Vietnamese foods, snacks, and desserts. The mall also features a number of jewelry and clothing stores. If you would like to buy the ready-made áo dài, the traditional Vietnamese outfit, there are so many to pick and choose with very reasonable prices.
Throughout the year, Thương Xá Phúc Lộc Thọ hosts a lot of cultural events, notable are the chợ đêm (night market) during summer and chợ hoa (flower market) during Tết (Vietnamese New Year). If you have a chance, do make a visit to the chợ đêm here. It’s a very fun event with music and all kinds of goodies and food on the grill, as you can see from the below YouTube clip.
Cộng đồng người Việt (The Vietnamese community) in Southern California, especially In the “Little Saigon” areas, is quite prosperous and active. They have contributed greatly to the economy and politics. In fact, the current thị trưởng (mayor) of the city of Westminster is Vietnamese-American. A large number of successful Vietnamese-American bác sĩ (doctor), luật sư (lawyers), nghệ sĩ (artist) are residing here as well.
In “Little Saigon”, there is nothing that you can’t find, from entertainments to foods and services, all catering to the Vietnamese. You would have plenty of opportunities here if you wanted to practice your Vietnamese language or just want to experience some level of the Vietnamese culture. Although the Vietnamese in this area could speak English, they mostly exchange conversations and conduct business in Vietnamese. “Little Saigon” also has a couple of major Vietnamese newspapers and television networks. Over the years, a number of Buddhist temples and Christian churches in the area have offered services in Vietnamese language. Really, “Little Saigon” is like the real “mini Vietnam” in Southern California.
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