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Craving Banh Mi but don't know where to find it! (In LA, not OC)

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Does anyone know where I can get good banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches)? I've been craving them since I saw a picture of them in the LA Times this morning. Only problem, there's no way I can drive to Westminster from WeHo to get a sandwich---gas alone costs more than the sandwich!

What's the closest place to West Hollywood that I can get something? Perhaps any options in downtown?

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  1. I'm no expert on Banh Mi, but I really like K.P.'s Deli in Silver Lake. Great sandwiches and the owner is super nice. Ate there yesterday. They have a menu on their website: http://www.kpsdeli.com

    3 Replies
    1. re: silverfish

      $6 banh mi?! Those look very americanized. I would hit Valley Bl in SGV instead

      1. re: silverfish

        Another "americanized" version is at Gingergrass in Silverlake, but it's quite good and not as huge as the ones at K.P. Very tasty...

        1. re: Clare K

          And here is Gingergrass's sandwich link:

          http://www.gingergrass.com/htm/gg_men...

          They're $1-2.5 cheaper than the Frenchified versions at Michelia. So who's are better?

      2. In Westwood Village there is East West Sandwhich that has 5 of them but there has been a reported drop in their quality.

        http://www.eastwestsandwich.com/vietn...

        Closer is Michelia on 3rd st. but it's French/Vietnamese with 3 sandwiches:

        Charcoal Beef Sandwich - $8.95
        Roasted Chicken Sandwich - $8.95
        Charcoal Pork Sandwich - $8.95

        Probably not "pure" Banh Mi, but check their website for their ingredients:

        http://www.micheliabistro.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: JBC

          FYI (= I've never eaten there) ~ In West Hollywood there is a Vietnamese restaurant called Absolutlety Phobulous and they have 2 options:

          Baguette Sandwich - Ham or Chicken - $5.50

          http://www.abpho.com/menu%20(house%20...

          Absolutely Phobulous
          350 No. La Cienega Blvd.
          West Hollwood
          (310) 360-3930

        2. If you are new to banh mi, I'd suggest you head out to MR. BAGUETTE in SGV on Valley Blvd. and have a try of their banh mi.

          While not necessarily the best, it provides a good baseline to compare other banh mi sandwiches.

          MR. BAGUETTE
          8702 E. Valley Blvd.,
          Rosemead,
          (626) 288-9166

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            I like Baguette du Jour on Valley Bl & Fremont Ave which is a little closer. Very cheap and they bake their own bread daily. The BBQ beef banh mi is delicious and can easily eat 2 in a row!

          2. Chinatown has a few places. Both are pretty good, but the last time I had them was over half a year ago.

            - Bu'u Dien Bakery (on Broadway)
            Banh mi and other desserts

            - Pho Hoa (on Spring)
            Banh mi and pho

            1 Reply
            1. re: slbear

              There's also Rainbow Bakery, right next to Ai Hoa Supermarket. Ai Hoa has two entrances - one on Hill street and one on College street, right in the parking lot. You'll want to go through the parking lot on College.

              I haven't been to Rainbow in a few months, but I believe their banh mi is now $1.75. I think it's $2.25 if you want extra meat. Their bread is hard and crunchy (not in a good way) after toasting, but their meat is tasty.

            2. I think there's a place in West LA - around cafe saigon or such - westsiders, any suggestions?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jerome

                I know Pho 99 on Wilshire has em but I've never ordered one - occasionally smell the bread cooking there

              2. Check out previous posts.

                I love Ba Le Valley - They should have Banh Mi. Ask them. The old lady owns the place and is very nice. Their Halo Halo is also very yummy!

                On De Soto and Sherman Way just behind Darby's Coffee Shop (on De Soto)

                Ba Le Valley Restaurant 7223 De Soto Ave Canoga Park, (818) 348-8578

                2 Replies
                1. re: Kitchen Queen

                  Hello, KQ! I second your vote for Ba Le Valley, and indeeeeeeed, their Halo Halo "drink" (more like several meals in a glass!) is very yummy, even though it glows in the dark with its florescent-green stringy things!

                  Their sandwiches are very good -- a second to the places on Valley Blvd., but a good second!

                  1. re: liu

                    They have sandwiches at Ba Le Valley? I always went there for the pho or the dinners, as I thought they didn't have sandwiches in deference to Saigon Sandwiches and Coffee next door.

                    Unfortunately that place went way downhill in terms of sandwich quality, and the prices went up, after they remodeled and (I believe) changed owners. I'm still sad.

                2. KP is bahn mi for the Silver Lake crowd, but it is bahn mi. Closest ethnic/authentic I know of as a previous poster said is Buu Dien in LA Chinatown.
                  Buu Dien,642 N Broadway # 5
                  Los Angeles, (213) 617-8355 (Don't try calling they only speak Vietnamese). Probably close at 5:30pm. Little market but they have all those Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches starting at $2 and a selection of Vietnamese sweets and drinks.

                  Buu Dien is tucked in the back(hidden)of a mini-strip mall actually its next to New High Street and just South of Ord Street and North of Cesar Chavez. (Get off the Hollywood Freeway South at Broadway make a left-go to Ord Street make a right and right on New High Street and look for parking on the street.)

                  Otherwise you'll have to trek to at least Alhambra(Valley Blvd.) and check out the bahn mi chains like Bahn Mi Che Cali, Mr. Baguette & Lee's Sandwiches and many many more local places. Spend about $10 and check a few out and you can have a feast of bahn mi and iced coffee. Bahn Mi Che Cali in Rosemead has a "buy two-get one free" special.

                  1. If you're near Gardena, Hong Long Sandwiches at 15703 Crenshaw Bl. serves banh mi to go exclusively. The sandwich loaves are too big for my taste (I like Lee's) and priced accordingly ($2.25 to $3.25). Banh mi experts are encouraged to visit and post!
                    BTW their pho place in the adjacent building is better than average and worth a side trip.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DiveFan

                      I've been trying to try this place, each time I go, they are closed. Both the sandwich shop and the pho shop there close by 8 pm. Will have to try again during lunch hours one of these days.

                      Want to get them somewhere else besides the Tapioca Express on Artesia. I know they around, just not the time to look.

                    2. Personally--I think part of the true bahn mi experience is the to find the best sandwich for less than $3.

                      1. I agree, that the best and cheapest Banh Mi is in SGV. I wouldn't recommend any Banh Mi places in LA City (maybe Chinatown). The ones here in LA city are expensive, and just not as good.

                        Mr. Baguette, Ba Le, Lee's I think are all good places but you will have to drive quite a bit to get to these places.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ac929

                          I don't know if this is a seal of approval or disapproval. But my Vietnamese friend who lives in Temple City recommended Buu Dien in Chinatown to me and of all the places on Valley Blvd. in the SGV she likes Bahn Mi Che Cali and Lee's and hates Mr. Baguette. There are a so many now its unbelievable and there are a lot of good mom & pop places too. A new Lee's is opening up soon near Mr. Baguette in Rosemead.

                        2. Thanks for the suggestions, hounders!

                          I have to agree with monku though... the best banh mi experience should be less than $3. I guess I'm just going to have to trek out to SGV this weekend.

                          So what does everyone think: Bahn Mi Che Cali, Lee's, or Mr. Baguette? I think I might do a taste test this weekend...

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: FoodieMcFood

                            Might as well taste test those three. They're within a couple miles of each other and you'll see lots of other bahn mi places in between. You're also in the heart of Chowhound nirvana with places like Mei Long Village, Claro's Italian Market, Petrillo's and 888 nearby.

                            Mr. Baguette's claim to fame is their French training in the making of some of their meats like pate and headcheese. http://www.mrbaguettesandwiches.com/

                            Lee's has a pretty good BBQ pork bahn mi and chicken. 2 for $1 baguettes at the Alhambra location
                            http://www.leesandwiches.com/.

                            Bahn Mi Che Cali has good bahn mi (buy two get one free) and lots of sweet deserts.

                            1. re: monku

                              The second or third time we went to 888 for dim sum, there was a very multi-ethnic group of teenagers waiting for a table, too. One girl, obviously too hungry to go unfed in the interim, ducked into Bhan Mi Che Cali and came out with a well-loaded bhan mi, which she ate just to tide her over.

                              Dang, wish I could still eat like that...

                            2. re: FoodieMcFood

                              If you're making the trek to SGV definitely add Baguette Express to your list. I much prefer them over Mr Baguette (I want cilantro!). As an added bonus the employees at B.Express are super friendly. Always a nice touch - esp if you're a relative newbie.

                              http://www.baguetteexpress.com/

                              1. re: FoodieMcFood

                                In your OP, you said you were in WeHo and didn't want to drive far. If you want to go to SGV, try it and report back. But really, the posters about the two places in Chinatown are right, and it's a short bus ride down Sunset for you. I've tried both, and the sammys are great and tasty. A Vietnamese co-worker occasionally brings in B.M.'s from a favorite place he likes, and these are just as good. These are the Rainbow Bakery, right next to Ai Hoa Supermarket on Hill just south of College (and a fun market to shop at), and Buu Dien on Broadway just south of Ord, across from the Pho Hoa. (The Pho Hoa is also my favorite local Pho shop, if you're interested in that.)

                                1. re: Andrew Gore

                                  IMHO, the best sandwich at Rainbow is the grilled beef. The others don't have pate, so for me, it's lacking. Cheap as hell, tho. The bread is the light and crisp style, but not much flavor.

                              2. The shop at the start of Saigon (Alley?), about 830 N. Broadway, always has bahn mi. Today I noticed a first - a bahn mi LUNCH WAGON - on the NW corner of Alpine and Spring behind the big Dynasty Center mall. Unfortunately, I was too stuffed to try it out this time.

                                1. If you're like me and get the roof of your mouth cut up easily by hard bread, then i suggest Baguette Express on 400 E. Valley Blvd (San Gabriel.... b/t San Gabriel Blvd. and Del Mar.) Lee's and Mr. Baguette's bread is a bit tough.

                                  1. Go to Valley Blvd in SGV. Forget Chinatown.

                                    Bahn Mi Che Cali > Mr Baguette > Lee's