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Mar 5, 2003 08:41 PM
Discussion

better than Lee's Sandwiches in Little Saigon?

  • t

Chris G., in posting on Lee's Sandwiches, noted that he liked it for convenience, but thought there were far better banh mi places.

Where? Where?

(Am Vietnamese, raised on banh mi. Am from San Jo, the home of Lee's. Lee's I find an alright, but not incredible, banh mi. I want better.)

-th9

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  1. I've never tried Lee's, so can't compare but, try Ba Le in Alhambra. There was another place on Main Street, but thinks its closed now called Thanh Loi that was fantastic, nothing over $1.25! I was spoiled going to Alhambra HS with all the great local Vietnamese and Chinsese places :)

    Ba Le
    1426 S. Atlantic Blvd
    Alhambra
    (626) 308-3003

    1. I'm still on a quest to find really awesome banh mi, but here are a few places I've tried that I like better than Lee's. My recollection isn't too good as far as names or addresses go, since I usually just stop wherever I see a shop or bakery advertising banh mi. Sorry about some of the following vagaries:

      -Banh Mi Che Cali; I like the one on Brookhurst better than the one on Bolsa, but I've had a few disappointing sandwiches the last few times I went. I think it's time for another try.
      -Banh Mi So (?); somewhere on Magnolia, I think; good cold cuts and pate.
      -A tiny shop on Bolsa on the east(?) or north (?) side of the street, between Thanh My and Lee's (same side of the street); a Vietnamese friend recommended it; probably the best I've had in L.S. but it closes too early for me.
      -A bakery/banh mi shop on Westminster Blvd. a few blocks north of Lee's (red sign, in small shopping mall, south of Capital Seafood); only went here once, but it was better than Lee's - somehow Lee's usually gets me first, though.
      -Gala Bakery on Brookhurst; I tried this place once after the Times recommended it, also good.

      I think I should just avoid going to my regular meals at Lee's and Thanh My and try some new places. All the choices can be a bit overwhelming. And I should try to get out earlier. Next time I'm in that area I'll try to take some more specific notes.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Chris G.
        h
        highendpalate

        I agree with Chris G's assessment of Banh Mi Che Cali. On a quest for Banh Mi one Saturday, my sis and I bought assorted Banh Mi from both Lee's and Che Cali in Westminster and fed them to our large extended family (mostly Chinese). Hands down, the ones from Che Cali won for flavor and freshness.

        Lee's has the advantage of the corporate, sleek look, but we prefer the fresh soulful flavor of the mom and pop places like Banh Mi Che Cali.

        Thanks, Chris G, for the other recommendations.

        We need native residents who live in Garden Grove and Westminster who eat a ton of Banh Mi to contribute a post about the best places to go. I'm willing to drive the 50+ miles from the Westside of LA to pick up great Banh Mi for my family.

        1. re: Chris G.
          h
          highendpalate

          I agree with Chris G's assessment of Banh Mi Che Cali. On a quest for Banh Mi one Saturday, my sis and I bought assorted Banh Mi from both Lee's and Che Cali in Westminster and fed them to our large extended family (mostly Chinese). Hands down, the ones from Che Cali won for flavor and freshness.

          Lee's has the advantage of the corporate, sleek look, but we prefer the fresh soulful flavor of the mom and pop places like Banh Mi Che Cali.

          Thanks, Chris G, for the other recommendations.

          We need native residents who live in Garden Grove and Westminster who eat a ton of Banh Mi to contribute a post about the best places to go. I'm willing to drive the 50+ miles from the Westside of LA to pick up great Banh Mi for my family.

          1. re: Chris G.

            my favorite place is a tiny bakery in chinatown, college street....called rainbow bakery. Try their papaya salad....YUmmy!!!!

          2. For us uninitiated, anyone care to provide a basic description of "banh mi"?

            1 Reply
            1. re: David Kahn

              think of banh mi as french bread. generically speaking, that is the basic definition of banh mi. when you notice words following banh mi, that indicates a sandwich.

              ex: banh mi ga - chicken sandwich

            2. yes, i second this request! I've tried too many banh mi places that skimp out on the filling... I know the sandwiches are cheap, but I'm willing to pay more for a better sandwich! There's a couple places on the corner of Westminster and Magnolia that are ok, just as good as Lee's but without the presentation and slightly more meat. Also another place next to the vegetarian restaurant on Bolsa and next to Lee's seems pretty good but stay away from the vegetarian banh mi! But if someone can find a better banh mi, please, please let me know!

              1. Good chicken: CHO CU on Magnolia and Hazard or BANH MI CHE CALI on Harbor and First

                Good overall (including pork loaf and pate-called Pate Cha - or traditional meat - called Banh Mi Thit): GALA BAKERY on Brookhurst and Hazard (while you're there, pick up some of the best VN iced coffee a couple doors down at Dakao Seaport Food to go)

                For those of you who like fish, you should try the sandwiches that have canned sardines in tomato sauce. BANH MI SAIGON on Harbor and First (across from Banh Mi Cali) has good ones, but they can pretty much be found everywhere. Avoid ones where you see the fish sitting out in the open air. Cold sardines are not too good in sandwiches.

                CHO CU (see above) also has really good Vietnamese meatball sandwiches (called Siu Mai).

                I could go on forever...:)

                1 Reply
                1. re: UN

                  Hi UN,

                  Saw you post and would concur with your assessment of the Banh Mi places in Little Saigon. Do you have any suggestions for places in Little Saigon that served standout VN food?

                  I keep going to the same places and would like to branch out. My taste runs to the exotic, so that's not a worry.

                  Thanks...