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May 17, 2009 02:47 PM

Banh Mi & Che Cali Opens in Fountain Valley

This place opened last summer and the name was Pho Noodle House. I didn't bother trying it because I can walk to Pho'licious. Then the other day, I stopped at Big City Bagel in the same shopping center and notice the signage now said Pho Banh Mi & Che Cali. Hmmm

The next day, I though, let me go check this place out. I walk in the door and sure enough... the same Banh Mi menu as the Banh Mi & Che Cali down Brookhurst in Little Saigon. I ordered a sandwich, picked up some cookies and asked for a coffee. The plastic cup was the same as from Banh Mi & Che Cali down Brookhurst in Little Saigon. Hmmm

I think I'm catching on. So, I ask the very nice lady making my sandwich... are you the same Banh Mi & Che Cali as down Brookhurst in Little Saigon? She smiled and said yes. I asked, have you own this place since it changed from the coffee shop. She smiled and said yes.

I'm not that stupid. I made the connection. This Is The Same Banh Mi & Che Cali As The Place Down Brookhurst In Little Saigon!!!
Wow, right in my hood!

Sandwich rocked on fresh baked baguette ( you also have the choice of a roll) and the coffee was delicious. They also have their wonderful cream puffs! In addition, they have a full noodle house menu. Pho, Bun, Com DIa, Spring Rolls. I was so full from my #25 that I didn't try the noodles, but I'll be back.

The banh mi are $2.25 and they don't offer the buy 2 get 1 free like they do down Brookhurst in Little Saigon, but I shouldn't be eating 3 sandwiches anyway.

Pho Banh Mi & Che Cali is located at Brookhurst & Talbert in the same center that houses the ClaimJumper. They are opened 7 days a week 9AM to 9PM.

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  1. Yum! I love Banh Mi & Che Cali.
    Their banh mi are absolutely the BEST. How can anyone eat Lee's after having the real deal.

    1. Sweet, now they are even closer to me. I noticed this place, but figured it was an americanized knock off. I didn't realize it was the real BM&CC.

      1. Much more convenient to the 405 now. Great news.

        How's the bread at this location compared to the two others further north of Brookhurst?

        I find it odd that this location does pho as well. Generally speaking, great pho and great banh mi don't come out of the same kitchen

        2 Replies
        1. re: Professor Salt

          The bread was wonderful. It looked like they were baking it at this location.

          I used to work at a shop in this center, but when I left that job last summer, I lost track of what was happening with this restaurant.

          Here's what it looks like......... The original Pho shop took over a place that was a coffee house complete with a kitchen and small dining room. Then the owners took over a small suite next door to the restaurant. This is where they have the Banh Mi. It's connected to the Pho shop, but kind of separate too. If you go in the main door, you're in the Pho shop, but if you go in the small door to the left, you hit the sandwiches straight away. There is a woman behind the bar that asks you what you want, then makes your sandwich and takes it to the cash register. Sweets and cream puffs are on this side.

          I didn't have any noodles, but I think they offer table service. I'm going back, so can update soon.

          1. re: janetms383

            This is the corner storefront that used to be Natale Coffee a million years ago, before the more recent pho shop incarnation? It's too bad I never gave the pho shop a chance, because I am usually too intent on heading to Shin Sen Gumi down the block for ramen.

            I used to live in this neighborhood years ago. I'm glad to hear that good Viet options are moving further south on Brookhurst. Thanks for keeping us updated with reports on the new BMCC store.

        2. yeah, baby, after driving all over town to get good banh mi, this place opened up just a mile or so from work. I used to go to the bakery at Euclid & Edinger, but they moved their place back along the backline of the mall, making it a real hassle for parking now, and their BBQ pork was never really BBQ-y enough for me (no char)
          Che Cali has the kind bread AND BBQ pork , and no lines (yet). I went today at lunch & got a Purrfect dac biet version, easily a foot long for $2.25. Take THAT ,Subway.
          Also the "buy 2, get one free" is in full effect. WIN!

          7 Replies
          1. re: christoofat

            Freeway close, "buy 2, get one free" is in full effect and the possibility of getting the Viet version of the old american standard soup and sandwich = WIN! Indeed!

            1. re: christoofat

              You went to the new location? And, they have buy 2 get 3?? I didn't see anything to indicate that deal was in effect, but the nice lady did ask me...."you only want one?"

              1. re: janetms383

                Yeppers, they have signage up above the counter, "Buy 2, Get One Free", & I did just that last Friday, the first time I've been there since the name change. They still use the same restaurant menu from the Noodle House, so perhaps they were still in transition when you visited. Next time, ...tell her "two", & see what happens. =)
                I can't tell you how jazzed I am they are there, because I tried a few times to get into the one up on Brookhurst at lunchtime & it was impossible enough just to find a place to park, much less actually get food. I only hope they get enough business to keep going.

                1. re: christoofat

                  went there to grab some noodles for dinner and had the chance to speak to the charming manager, Lang. The scoop is the noodle house that opened last summer didn't make it so the Cali restaurants took over the noodle house in April. They were able to pick up some additional space and opened the bakery while still maintaining the restaurant. I had the bun today and it was really delicious. One of the best buns I've had! However, the banh mi and the bakery still rock.

                  1. re: janetms383

                    excellent! I had that bun last week. Again, to me the success of that dish is the BBQ pork being done right ( I usually get the BBQ/eggroll combo)...& they do it right!
                    Mine was still warm from the grill when it got to my table. And yay, you grabbed a pic of the buy 2, get one free sign! LOL..ok, now I'm hungry already.

                    1. re: christoofat

                      The BBQ port/eggroll combo is exactly what I had. Lang told me they prepare the pork differently at the FV location. My meal had very lean meat, thinly sliced and very well seasoned. I've had the pork in the sandwich as well. The owners also have Cali Restaurant that is located on Brookhurst at Margo Lane. The cuisine here is from the central and southern regions of Vietnam. I'm anxious to try it.

                      1. re: janetms383

                        So of COURSE I headed back again to day at lunch for the BBQ P on baguette.
                        It seems a bit strange ( in a good way, of course) that the baguette sandwich is larger & only $2.25. I also got some of their banh su (cream puff), not the best I've ever had , but certainly yummy.
                        There was a gentleman who came in after me, with a newspaper under his arm , an urgent demeanor, & a noticeable New York accent inquiring if they had a "pulled pork" sandwich LOL She suggested the BBQ Pork , and he ordered it. Hope he isn't too surprised by jalapenos inside <g>

            2. How long before quality ethnic food starts bleeding into Huntington Beach? :D

              At the rate stuff is moving down Brookhurst, looks like it won't be too long!

              7 Replies
              1. re: huaqiao

                By :"ethnic" do you mean specifically Asian? If you want Vietnamese, try Mitasie 3 on Edinger across from Bella Terra. Of course, FV is not too far and in addition to Pho Banh Mi & Che Cali, have you tried Xanh on Brookhurst & Edinger?

                1. re: janetms383

                  Just poking fun at HB's reputation for having a pretty bland dining scene. :)

                  1. re: janetms383

                    Xhan is very good too, but a bit pricey for VN food, although the flavors are there in spades. Chef Haley is starting some cooking classes at the restaurant soon & I'm thinking about taking one of the offered VN ones.

                    1. re: christoofat

                      It's hard to compare Xanh to other VN restaurants. Chef Haley's dishes are inspired by her homeland's cuisine, but her take on them is strictly her own. Was there last week and had the fried tofu, papaya salad and bo luc lac. I know that sounds ordinary, but the taste of each dish was sublime. The bo luc lac is delicately seasoned and served with fresh yam fries. I've thought about that dish every day since I've eaten it. Have to go back soon!

                      1. re: janetms383

                        I totally agree, she has taken her childhood food experiences & evolved them into her own. My co-worker had her as one of her training chefs when she went to Culinary School, & she said she was one of THE best.'s time I got there again for lunch...
                        But not today - I am taking a coworker to Che Cali for lunch today! =)

                        1. re: christoofat

                          Well, I am in a quandry! I still want more of Chef Haley's food, but I'm having trouble getting past Che Cali and this morning on my way to work I was trying to decide which 3 sandwiches I would get on my way home. Oh Dear!

                          1. re: janetms383

                            LOL@ U...I really, REALLY tried to order something other than banh mi when I was there today. Hopeless, simply hopeless. I'm becoming a big fan of the dac biet (combo), their pate they use is very tasty & not too "livery" tasting as others I have had are. They seemed a lot busier today at the sandwich counter, I think word is starting to get around.