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Vietnam probably is best known in the world's culinary sphere for its street food: simple in its preparation, stellar in its use of fresh ingredients. Less well known is Vietnam's haute cuisine, which is at times appropriately extravagant and served at weddings or banquets. One of the most common wedding preparations is bò bay món, a varied seven-course beef dinner, which includes a light beef salad, ground beef steamed in lolot leaves, and the clear beef soup that functions as Vietnam's version of congee (the popular rice porridge). There are also those utterly delicious, lemongrass-infused beef patties, bò nuong mo chài, which are good enough to make you question everything you've ever thought about a meatball. When Vietnamese choose to dine in style in L.A., they head to Thien An Bo 7 Mon, a place renowned for both its bò bay món and its giant, gorgeously ornate baked catfish. —James Gordon

8837 Valley Blvd., Rosemead, 91770. (626) 286-6697.

LA Weekly