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BC Deli owners now operating Saigon Express in Berkeley

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I stopped in for a banh mi today and noticed that they have a new sandwich sign and a few new people behind the counter. The old staff were always very nice, so I was glad to see that they retained a few of them as well.

The sandwiches currently use the same bread that the old Saigon Express used, but the new owners prepare the fillings differently. The bread's never been great, so hopefully they'll switch to what's used at BC Deli. The vegetarian sandwich is an improvement. In addition to slices of fried tofu, there's also a more unevenly shaped product that's pretty good (gluten or soy?). The combination sandwich seemed to have higher quality meat, but it was missing something in the fat and salt department. I need to try it again, but I think they're now just using a normal amount of mayo, and the overuse of mayo helped compensate for the lousiness of the bread in the past.

Their 8 sandwiches now include a beef banh mi and a tuna banh mi. The soups have started changing already, and they'll be rolling out a full new menu in a few weeks.

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  1. Saigon Express had my favorite pho broth of the four Vietnamese restaurants near downtown Berkeley. I should have gone more often. How is BC Deli's broth?

    1 Reply
    1. re: chocolatetartguy

      Going on the concept, that one should make a concerted effort to patronize places whose food you like, I went to S EX to try their pho again. As far as I could tell, the broth was the same good, beefy broth that they had before. The middle aged woman who used to be there was still there and when I asked about the change, she confirmed and pointed to a much younger woman as the owner. Hope they don't change that broth.

    2. interesting. wasn't wowed by the previous owners Banh Mi (dry pork. veggies not very pickled), but will have to return.

      maybe also for ChocolateTartGuy's favorite pho

      1 Reply
      1. re: drewskiSF

        My favorite in downtown Berkeley. However, although I really like pho, I rarely eat it. I didn't care for the broth at Le Petite Cheval (I like just about everything else there though), the place near the UA Theater that is now a Thai place with pho, or the place on Center above Shattuck.
        Years ago I used to like the broth at Pho 84 and Tu Lan. Over the years I have always enjoyed Saigon Express' pho.

      2. Know if they do the pandan waffles there? Or if they have the packaged rice/noodle boxes to go?