Pat' a Chou, Vietnam-Based Bakery Chain, to Make U.S. Debut In Santa Ana Mid-February

Anne Marie Panoringan
My internal GPS works best in Orange County. Tell me what mall an establishment is next to, and chances are I'll find it. I also prefer surface streets over freeways (if the distance is short enough) because there's always opportunity for a discovery.

Located along MacArthur Boulevard in Santa Ana, Pat' a Chou is closest to a doughnut shop and Wienerschnitzel. After passing it a second time, I finally pulled over for a better look. Beyond the banner, I spied stacked chairs taking on a leaning-tower appearance--those crazy Viets and their love of the French! Oh, wait: that's Pisa, and I'm thinking of Eiffel.

Named after a popular French singer, Pat' a Chou was established in 1998 by Ly Doan Vuong. Vuong's memories of attending university in London revolved around pastries similar to those he ate as a child in Vietnam. His first location debuted in Ho Chi Minh City, and he has opened three more since. His coming Santa Ana location, however, will be Pat' a Chou's first American opening, and it will join a Little Saigon market already saturated with French-style bakeries à la Boulangerie Pierre and Patisserie.

The company prides itself on continuing the French tradition of bread- and pastry-making. Best-known for its baguettes, the Pat' a Chou website is a carb-lover's paradise, where macarons, palmiers, tartes and seasonal cakes are abundant. In 2010, it launched an organic-bread line. What sparked my interest is the infusion of other tasty gems, such as the paninis, pitas and (of course) bánh mì sandwiches. I'm trying to get an interview with Ly--details to come . . .

Pat' a Chou, 1421 W. MacArthur Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 408-0120.

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