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Thien An Bo Bay Mon in Rosemead: Get your seven-course all-beef dinner fix

January 28, 2010 |  3:00 pm

When Vietnamese food lovers spot the neon sign of Thien An Bo Bay Mon, they know exactly what to expect at the Rosemead restaurant. Bo bay mon (often spelled bo 7 mon) denotes the famous Saigon-style all-beef dinners of seven courses, brought to the table one by one, each dish cooked by a different method.

Since the earliest days of Little Saigon, the fame of a seven-course beef specialty house such as Pagolac or Anh Hong has risen and fallen on its mam nem, a pungent dipping sauce that for some is an essential part of the meal. Based on aged, fermented anchovies (think Limburger cheese to the 10th power), it can be shockingly intense to the untrained palate. We would always request the more familiar sauce nuoc cham chua ngot.

At Thien An, the mam nem sauce is a world apart from those trés funky versions. "It's the southern style," says co-owner Lien Pham. "In the northern and central regions, people prefer stronger, saltier flavors."

To read the rest of Linda S. Burum's story, click here.

Photo: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times