Banh Mi, please!
- Mr. Taster May 12, 2005 04:52 PM
I'm ashamed and embarrassed.
I've never tasted banh mi. (see link below to LA Times piece for Ask Mr. Gold)
Unlike the poster in this article, I will drive as far as need be for the tastiest representation of said product.
So my question to you, dear hounds, is this... where can the best example of such a thing?
Rosemead doesn't sound so far to me :-)
Also, what is it about these sandwiches that is so extraordinary, and what is it about your individual LA picks that make them so unique and special when compared to others?
Many thanks in advance, fellow 'hounds
What's great about banh mi is that they are incredibly cheap, pack a wallop of flavour, and are totally filling -- one sandwich at my choice below is enough for lunch, and I'm a big guy. You can't beat $2 for lunch. They're meat of your choice, plus garlic mayonnaise, pickled radish and carrot, chili peppers and cilantro (fresh coriander) on a crusty ten-inch baguette. Terrific taste and absolutely unbeatable value.
Well, the one that started the craze is Lee's Sandwiches, on Valley Blvd in Alhambra. But for my money, the best are in a little shop called Saigon at 301 N Garfield in Monterey Park. It's across from a takeout dimsum place (which is also pretty good). It's not as expensive as Lee's ($2 per sandwich at Saigon) and you get a LOT of filling, particularly if you can pronounce the order in Vietnamese.
If you're in Westminster, there's Banh Mi So 1 at 8948 Bolsa (and Magnolia), which has the cheapest -- $1.50 each, three for $3. I will warn you that at Banh Mi So 1 ("bahn mee shoh mutt") the vibe is Asian, not American, and so orderly lines are not going to be a feature. Just wade in (especially if you're tall -- my orders are always marked "My to", which means "big American"), watch for the old ladies with the canes, and know what you want so you can shout it.
Yeah, I like this place too. I used to like the pho joint behind it (thanh long?) but I go to Thanh My or Pho 54 nowadays.
I do enjoy eating at converted Taco Bells. About a year ago, I ate at Haru Bang, a place on Beach (Buena Park?) which is also housed in a converted Taco Bell. The food was alright,but nothing to write home about. They serve the Korean business worker types in the area.
Do yourself a favor and drive to Westminster. Although there are some pretty darn good banh mi in SGV the best, IMHO, are in Westminster. There is banh mi cali che, top baguette and Mr. Baguette, all of which have been discussed heavily on this board. Another plus if you drive to westminster, is that it is the best representation of Vietnamese food. The best pho and other national dishes await you (not to mention an awesome cultural experience...go to ABC market)
re: Mr. Roboto
Yes, don't wait too long. BUT...If you must wait, then ask to put the pickled veggies in a separate bag.
Then when you get home, heat your oven to 350 or so. Then toast the sandwich for 8-10 minutes. Don't allow to color, just to crisp up the crust.
Take out of the oven and then stuff the veggies into it.
What you'll get will be heaven sent. Crispy, crackly crust, warm soft bread interior, cool veggies and sublime meats.
For vegetarian banh mi (meaning sandwiches with fake meat, not ones with no meat), I love Baguette Express. They also have shrimp banh mi and very nice Vietnamese iced coffee. It is also a bit more comfortable and more sparklingly clean than many other SGV banh mi joints.
400 E. Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel (I think.)
East-West is horrendous. Even the "Vietnamwich" is a pale comparison.
It's thirty-five minutes from Westwood to Rosemead if you don't try to go when it's all trafficky (meaning evening rush hour, 3:30 to 7:30 M-F). I used to work out there, it's not that bad of a drive. And you can stop at Shau May on Garfield just north of Garvey (next to ABC Cafe) and get Taiwanese slush.