Things to do in Westminster
Posted on April 10, 2017
If you’re visiting Orange County, you need to visit Little Saigon, and the middle of Little Saigon is right in the middle of Westminster city. Westminster is a great example of The American Dream. It proves that with hard work, immigrants coming to The United States with nothing, can create something great, make it their own and successfully integrate into The American Culture.
Orange County is one of the densest melting pots in the country. Personally, I like to call it more of a tossed salad. We’re all mixed up together, but you can still see each of our own differences… lettuce, tomatoes—each of our cultures are still there. Hey! We’re all still vegetables!
If you want to see people keeping their culture and successfully integrating it into The American Dream, Westminster’s Little Saigon is where you need to be. Little Saigon has no official website. In fact, they have no border lines. The growing town is built by immigrants who are proud to be Americans, but have brought their own culture so that their own will never forget their roots.
The best thing about exploring an area where immigrants have successfully integrated their culture is their food. What’s special about Vietnamese food is the country is split into three very different cultures. The clothing, the food and even the dialects are very different.
The Asian Garden Mall
It isn’t the biggest mall in the world. In fact, I think it may be one of the tiniest. It is the largest majority Vietnamese-owned-and-operated mall in The United States. The tiny two-story mall is home to dozens of small shops and restaurants selling different types of imported goods and foods. There are quite a few jewelry stores, but don’t go looking unless you are ready to barter for a deal. The Little Saigon Market takes place at the Asian Garden Mall parking lot all summer from 7pm-midnight.
The Night Market
You’ll need to visit Little Saigon in the summer to really experience The Night Market. Imagine a mini carnival in a tiny parking lot, with mini booths that sell nothing but Vietnamese street food. THAT’S the night market!
The Night Market in Little Saigon is known for food. Food and ONLY food! Every summer, tiny booths are set up in The Asian Garden Mall’s parking lot, one squished up right next to each other, with cooks scrunched up in each one with their bar-b-que, with only strung light, connected from one booth to another—like a fair.
Forget the fancy fusion food. The Night Market attracts hundreds of customers every night because of its authenticity. From grilled squid to pho noodles. I don’t really recommend pho, because you don’t want to sit down and slurp noodle soup here! You want to walk around and explore! About 3,000 people a night cram into the tiny parking lot every weekend night. It makes you wonder what’s so great that have people pushing through each other just to get from booth to booth.
If you know coffee, you know about Vietnamese coffee. Nothing against Folgers, or Starbucks—but if you’re looking for something a little stronger (a little more authentic), you need to make the trip to Lily’s bakery. The French style bakery is also known for its beignets, and extravagantly beautiful and just as expensive (but worth it) French pastries and wedding cakes. My favorite thing, however… is the coffee.