Little Paris was Chinatown’s first Vietnamese eatery when Phon Tran opened it 1984. Tran, who is Chinese-Vietnamese, moved from China to Vietnam when he was 10 years old. He came to the States after the Vietnam War.
After landing in the Bay Area, he started Little Paris as a simple cafe at his original location at 989 Stockton where other Vietnamese refugees could hang out. Then it evolved to to serve Vietnamese food. “Chinatown didn’t have pho or banh mi when I moved here,” he said.
Now his cafe serves robust menu of ready-to-eat dishes, as well as hearty soups to eat in. In the front, there are 21 pre-packaged Vietnamese deli items: different variations of spring rolls, rice and noodle plates with chicken and pork if you’re looking for a quick bite. If you’re planning to stay, their Beef Pho is served up in an extra large bowl, as is their Chicken Curry with rice vermicelli. Their generous portions can easily feed people or one very hungry eater.
Tran said that he started the cafe as a way to create jobs for him and his family. He came here with his parents, four siblings and five kids -- and everyone has had their turn managing the shop (save for his parents.) Though he’s lived in San Jose the entire time, he’s been committed to commuting to and from San Francisco Chinatown for the past 32 years. Lately, his kids have urged him to retire. Though he says he’s “half-retired” now, he still comes into the shop most days out of the week.
Signature dishes: Combination Ham Banh Mi (with Vietnamese ham, headcheese and cured ham), Beef Pho, Chicken Curry
Proprietor: Phon Tran
Address: 1131 Stockton Street
Hours: open daily, 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Phone: (415) 982-6111