If you love Vietnamese cuisine but want to go beyond pho and bánh mì, you might want to try a bowl of deer noodle soup. And for this terrific dish, you'll have to go to a small San Gabriel plaza. At Ha Tien Quan, the regional cuisine comes from Ha Tien, a small city in southwest Vietnam's Mekong Delta. One of the restaurant's signature items is hu tieu sate nai, which is similar to pho and is usually made with pork. Instead of pork, Ha Tien Quan uses slices of lean, slightly gamey deer meat (nai) with its rice noodles. The soup is served in a red chili– and lemongrass-infused broth brimming with both green and white onions. The chile gives it a kick, the lemongrass a strong seasoning and the venison provides a distinct yet perfect flavor note. —Jim Thurman
529 E. Valley Blvd., Ste. 178A, San Gabriel, 91776. (626) 288-1896.