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May 1, 2005 04:14 PM

Bahn Mi search in Fresno

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Am very interested in any local hounds' input for bahn mi, I tried a previous suggestion for the place at the SW corner of Shaw and Blackstone, the flavors were great but the bread was on the hard side. As a disclaimer, I did arrive after the lunch hour (@ 1 pm IIRC), so that may have been a factor.

I've spotted probably a half dozen places along the east side of First St. between Olive and Clinton Aves. alone. Also plan to revisit May's on the SW corner of Clinton and Fresno for another bowl of their delicious Pho before the warm weather turns appetites to cooler fare.

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  1. I've tried the banh mi sandwiches at the Pho restaurants on the NE corner of First and McKinley. I don't remember the name but they are tasty for about 2.50 each. If you like pho, the Pho 99 restaurant at the end corner of the shopping center has good pho soup. For good authentic Chinese/Cantonese food, I recommend Mayflower restaurant near the corner of Cedar and Shaw across from Fresno State. I have tried their live dungeness crab and Hong Kong style crispy chow mein noodles which were both very good.

    4 Replies
    1. re: TG

      I agree, Mayflower is pretty good. And they have jook on the menu too.

      Jasmine Garden, the place behind the Starbucks across from the SaveMart Center, also has decent pho. No banh mi unfortunately.

      I tried the Hunan on Cedar/Herndon a few weeks back- they are under new management. We had five or six dishes family style that the waiter recommended. They were ALL so spicy that most of the dinner has been burned from my memory. One was a spicy tofu, another a spicy sauteed eggplant and yet another was a spicy whole steamed white fish. The topper was a dish comprised of fried chicken chunks sauteed with a plate full of whole red chili pods. If you like very spicy food, this is the place!! It was a little too hot for me and my ears were burning, but the rest of my family agreed that it was very tasty.

      1. re: Jan

        Appreciate the recs TG and Jan, I figured I'd probably start on the corner of First & McKinley. Thanks for the pointers to Mayflower and Jasmine, I hadn't heard of either, will definitely give them a try.

        We went to Hunan shortly after they added the spicy dishes and loved it (we're heat seekers), but we did kind of balance things by ordering a dish or two from the regular menu.

        1. re: PolarBear

          I have had Jasmine Garden's food and I can tell you that it's overpriced and not so good--tried 3 different items (Chinese influenced, Vietnamese influenced and Hmong dishes).

          1. re: PolarBear

            There is mention of Mayflower, is that one one across from Fresno State. Sadly, they are close now. I went there the other day and the building was empty. Does anyone know if they are close or just relocated?

      2. Polarbear

        Can I contact you by e mail? Is this allowed? You are exactly what I need- my man in Fresno who klnows the REAL DEAL; I am what you need if you visit Oakland. I will be in Fresno May 5-8 and need your top ethnic picks, some can be total dives and some can be presentable places- love Mexican regional autentico and Vietnamese the most.


        Ken Stutz
        Stutz Olive Oil

        6 Replies
        1. re: Ken Stutz

          Ken.......Please share any Fresno info with the rest of us......It seems like Polar Bear always comes through with some great finds. Good Luck!!

          1. re: Ken Stutz

            Ken, Mary's correct in that the alpha dog, Jim Leff, and the CH Team prefer that the chow related discussions occur on the various boards. Feel free to contact me with any other questions that wouldn't be of interest to the readership.

            Here are some threads on Fresno from earlier this year that you might like to look over:



            Here are some thoughts on Mexican food:

            I like Sal's (NE Fresno & Alluvial) for the braised short ribs or the Karl's Special Burrito (w/ the ribs) or the Fancy Burrito. Don't know about their other food, it's very popular but in the 40 yrs I've been going to both the original location in Selma and the new one, I don't think I've ever ordered anything but the above three items, they're that good. More of an upscale setting.

            Have had a couple of business lunches at Plaza Ventana, Blackstone and Shaw that were decent. (more upscale
            fish tacos - El Toro (SE Cedar & Shields), more of a funky 50's type diner place. Have only had the fish tacos here. I've gotta have these at least once a week.

            Cafe Leon (NW B'stone & Ashlan) is very good, no linen table cloths but not a dive either. Good across the board, BIL loves their chile colorado. Owner has two brothers with their places that are good also (we tend to like this one best), the Country Fare Cafe, S side of Belmont btw Maple and Chestnut, and Casa Valadez on the NE corner of Chestnut and Butler.

            Some favorite lunch dives:

            Guadalajara - on Weber just N of Shields, patio view of the railroad yard. Had albondigas there today for lunch, also like their chile rellenos and chile verde quesadillas.

            BIL also raves about Julia's, where Divisadero curves and becomes Weber. Believe he likes the chile colorado and their rellenos as well.

            Oaxaca, N side of Belmont btw Maple and Chestnut, couple of different moles and other good regional dishes.

            Vietnamese, as listed in the above links I'm only familiar with the two more upscale places, Kim's and Kam Chou, and the pho at May on the SW corner of Fresno and Clinton.

            Hope this helps and be sure to let us know what you think.



            1. re: PolarBear

              My personal fav is Don Pepe over on Blackstone and Gettysburg. Amazing coctel de pulpo and lengua burritos. And they do the beers ala preparado - with the shrimp and hot sauce down the neck.

              1. re: Jan

                Thanks Jan, that's another I keep forgetting about, BIL is a big fan also.

              2. re: PolarBear

                For completenes, Cuca's (on Olive, just East of the Tower theatre) deserves a mention. Good, authentic, resonably priced, and clean. Service is helpful but not fast (don't try to dine in less than an hour if they're busy).


                1. re: Mattias

                  Thanks for the reminder Mattias, we used to love the original Cuca's on F St. on the westside. It's been years but seem to recall a great chile verde. Will have to revisit and try the Tower location.

            2. Slice of Cake, Cedar and Barstow in the Bulldog Shop corner, sells Viet. sandwiches and pretty good spring rolls.

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodie_girl

                I may have reported the following in another thread, but since this one has been resurected...

                I found the BBQ (or grilled) pork banh mi at May's Cafe to be pretty good, but the favorite that I settled on is from Pho Paradise, the stand alone seafood themed place on the east side of First St. halfway between McKinley & Clinton. I always get the #21 (BBQ pork), it's regularly @2.50, iirc, but I have them double the meat, cilantro, and jalapenos so it comes to somewhere between $5-6.