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Jun 29, 2008 03:23 PM

San Gabriel Valley Banh Mi with cilantro

I just spoke to the owner of Baguette Express, formerly in San Gabriel. He verified that he had closed the SG branch of Baguette Express and concentrating on the San Diego branch. His place was the one with authentic banh mi with all the proper fixings-- generous charcuterie, pickled daikon, carrots, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, and CILANTRO. Most of the other banh mi joints (Lee's, Mr. Baguette, etc...) are so stingy with the veggies and no longer provide the all-important cilantro.

Which banh mi place can take over the mantle from Baguette Express near that corner of Valley Blvd and San Gabriel Blvd?

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  1. Ba Le and Saigon's bakery give all those you mentioned. If they don't, just ask for them. Banh Mi Cali gives cilantro (sparse in amount) as well though I always throw those out.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Beignets

      In my experience, and I go there regularly, Bahn Mi Che Cali on Valley in the SGV does not include cilantro but, the Bahn Mi Che Cali in the old Taco Bell in OC does. (?)

      1. re: JAB

        All three Banh Mi Che Cali branches in OC (Brookhurst/McFadden in the old Taco Bell, Brookhurst/11th in GG, and Bolsa/Magnolia) serve cilantro.

        I don't get it -- what's hard about asking for cilantro? BMCC is a little sparse, but you just tell them you want more and stand your ground.

    2. Saigon Sandwich (corner of San Gabriel and Valley) in the SuperStore shopping center provides cilantro aplenty as part of their banh mi.

      Saigon Sandwich
      718 E Valley Blvd
      San Gabriel
      (626) 288-6475

      3 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        How are Ba Le and Saigon Bakery's banh mi? Ba Le got mixed reviews from the other hounds.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Hey ipsedixit,

          How are the Banh Mi at Saigon Sandwich? Is it your fav in the SGV? :)

          1. re: exilekiss

            Ba Le used to be my favorite (at least the one on the corner of San Gabriel and Valley, next to to the Pioneer Fried Chicken), but it's slipped in recent months.

            So now I go to Saigon, although I'll always have a soft spot for Mr. Baguette ...

        2. I like Baguette du Jour in Alhambra on Valley Bl just east of Fremont Ave for their bbq beef banh mi on freshly baked bread. They put fresh cilantro and jalapeƱo slices in them

          1. Lee's still puts in the cilantro, albeit only two little cut sprigs.

            3 Replies
            1. re: slacker

              Banh Mi My Tho. The complete sandwich. plenty of nem/xiu mai, huge loaf, plenty of all-inclusive veggies.

              this is after chasing various sandwiches from Vans to both Ba Le to all 3 Mr. B's to Hue Thai and Baguette City on Garvey, etc.

              Che Cali is the second stingiest with their veggies, right after Mr. B, but Che Cali remains cheap...

              Banh Mi My Tho
              304 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

              Hue Thai Bakery & Deli
              8968 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA

              Baguette City
              9505 Garvey Ave, South El Monte, CA 91733

              1. re: TonyC

                Hi TonyC,

                Your rec was mentioned on Chowpatty's blog-- eatingla:


                Pat gave your rec. Banh Mi My Tho the thumbs up.

                1. re: TonyC

                  I agree with you about Banh Mi My Tho. Really wonderful banh mi.

              2. Thanks to all the hounds for their recs.

                I went to Saigon Sandwich and Bakery immediately after reading your posts, and here's my report.

                Very uneven experience overall. The food is acceptable but not great.

                We bought four sandwiches, and they gave us one whole delicious, fresh baguette for free. Their baguette, when fresh, has the proper crunchy crust to soft, fluffy inside chew ratio. However, your sandwich may not be made with this yummy fresh baguette. Out of our four sandwiches, one was made with stale baguette.

                Although they give you plenty of cilantro, they are quite stingy with the veggies, and they provide only pickled daikon and carrots, no cucumbers.

                The amount of meat/charcuterie in the sandwiches was rather skimpy. My husband complained about it, not realizing that I got our sandwiches from a different shop than usual (our usual place was the now-shuttered Baguette Express).

                Friendly but spotty service. We asked them for NO jalapenos, and all four sandwiches had jalapenos in them. Our chowbabies couldn't eat the sandwiches because they are not fond of the heat.

                For the coffee lovers-- the Vietnamese coffee is pre-made. I saw rows of pre-filled coffee cups waiting for ice and condensed milk to be added upon order.