Brief note: Saigon Bakery & Sandwich, in the big supermall at the corner of San Gabriel Blvd. and Valley. A pretty good banh mi.
Fresh baguette, nicely soft innards. Good, crispy pickles, fresh cilantro. A nice, thin amount of meat. Good balance. I had the nem nuong (Viet pork sausage). Good use of some sort of margarine/mayo goop, that carried the spice and pork juices over everything well.
You've got your choice of big, round bread, or long slender baguette bread. I went slender.
This and Buu Dien in Chinatown are currently in my "decent places to get a banh mi" outside of Little Saigon. This is loads better than Lee's Sandwich. Neither of these are the glorious of Little Saigon, but they're pretty tasty.
Two bucks a sandwich. Good iced Viet coffee.
(Viet Noodle in Atwater has super banh mi, but it's in a different category, being overtly gourmet-ish/high end, and costing about 3 times as much for a much smaller sandwich. Worth it to me, but it's a different entity. Though the sardine sandwich is fantastic)!
There's a place -- and I'm sorry, I disremember the name -- on Garfield and Emerson, near Yunchuan Garden, across from Dim Sum Express -- with really great, hugely-stuffed pork (thit heo nuong khong pa te) banh mi for like $2.25.
Just curious, have you tried Banh Mi My Tho? That's my current go-to spot when I'm in the SGV.
So who's pate (in banh mi) reigns supreme? I love the stuff, when there is an option on a menu like "Extra Pate 50 cents" to remind me, I always add it!
642 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Viet Noodle Bar
3133 1 2 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Banh Mi My Tho
304 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803
Saigon Sandwich & Bakery
718 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776
My favorite banh mi anywhere is the grilled pork at Saigon Bakery. The bread is always fresh and wonderful, and the fillings are great as well. I've tried the same sandwich at Banh Mi My Tho (based on rec's from this board), and I prefer Saigon by far.