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Jun 20, 2010 08:38 PM

Thanh Son

I've seen their packaged Vietnamese deli items at K Sandwiches, but their retail storefront is worth a visit. It's a bizarrely large space and they don't bother filling half of it. The bank of deli fridges along one wall, however, is stuffed with all sorts of goodies. I don't speak Vietnamese and the staff doesn't speak English, so I can't describe a lot of it. However, my favorites were there and I like they way they make it. Today, I picked up banh beo (flat steamed cakes made of rice flour and topped with ground dried shrimp and ground mung bean), banh it (sticky steamed rice flour dumplings filled with shrimp and pork), banh cuon (rice noodle rolls wrapped around ground pork and wood ear mushrooms), and cha lua (Vietnamese salami). The woman packing up my order slipped in a delightful little treat, two unfilled banh it with a thick piece of fried cha lua in the middle.

I hear their tofu products are really good and I saw cartons of fresh soy milk in the fridge. The best way to beat the language barrier is to point at everything you want and they'll show you the total on a calculator. I definitely want to try the soy milk next time. Their inventory fluctuates heavily... past visits have resulted in a near-empty counter and not much in the fridge. I've found that going on weekend mornings is a good time for the best selection. It's in the strip mall next door to the one housing Minh Ky and A Chau.

Thanh Son Tofu
4616 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115

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  1. Great report - I always saw their still warm tofu products and soymilk at ranch 99 and wondered too passing on El Cajon. Of the things you got what did you like the best.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kare_raisu

      Had to finish all of it before I could write a proper reply! ;) For $12, it was a lot of food. I forgot to add a sticky rice with Chinese sausage and cha lua to my original list, so that makes 5 items for $12. Really great deal.

      Banh cuon and banh beo are excellent... probably the best I've seen in San Diego

      Banh it is a little too sticky, but still delicious.

      Cha lua's ok... somewhat bland.

      Sticky rice wasn't anything special. Well-made, but average flavor.

    2. This is becoming one of my favorite places to pick up a snack or a handful of items for workday lunches. For $10-12, I can pick up enough stuff for 2-3 light meals. The staff's really nice.

      Soy milk is definitely fresh, but the sweetened version wasn't as sweet as I prefer. It's still very good, though, and a little extra sugar helps a lot.

      I also picked up a carton of their braised pork belly with hard-boiled eggs from the steam tray table. Really good with a little rice.