Lynda Sandwiches/Blue Sky Corner, Vietnam Town San Jose
There's a new banh mi in town, in the new development called Vietnam Town between Walmart and Grand Century Mall. After I yelped it I learned it may be owned by a famous Vietnamese pop singer, or just named after her but with a different spelling, I don't really know. It also seems to be combined with another business called Blue Sky Corner. So it sells banh mi plus che/milk tea/other sweet drinks.
Inside it's very spiffy/modern/hip/chill/bumpin/whatever the kids are saying to mean cool these days.
I'd already eaten lunch, so I got just one banh mi, the #7 (grilled pork with lemongrass). I gave my order in Vietnamese but the counter girl asked for confirmation in English (almost like she didn't understand Vietnamese). I was about to ask for my usual requests (take out some of the insides, add pate, extra cilantro) when I decided against that and see what the default was like.
Good thing I didn't ask for the insides to be taken out, because it's a pretty anemic baguette as it is. It's the long & skinny kind, rather than the fat roll, but even skinnier than Lee's. The baguette was warmed so it had a slight crispness to it combined with soft-chewy. This is the kind that if you don't eat right away, will taste just plain soft.
There's not much filling, but there's not much bread either so it all balances out (but then it seems pricey for my $3.85). The grilled pork is not really grilled or even broiled, more like sauteed or baked, but it's lean (a plus for some, a turn off for me). The lemongrass adds a nice flavor depth but since it's the machine-chopped kind (comes frozen in a tub), you're picking lemongrass out of your teeth for hours later. The veggies are VERY fresh here. They are chintzy with the pickles & cilantro, but the most generous I've seen for cucumber, which are English and de-seeded! The "beurre" or spread was neither heavy or skimpy, and I couldn't tell if it had maggi/soy sauce/fish sauce.
Ok so it's a very dumbed down but very fresh, healthy banh mi in a very nice space. I wouldn't come back, except that after I ate, I noticed the display of Kem Chuoi (Banana ice cream), which is something I've heard about and was very tempted to buy because it's supposedly made of coconut milk (not cow's milk), but the counter girl had disappeared and I was late getting back to work. Guess I'll have to come back another time. Now I'm going to have dreams of Kem Chuoi.
Sounds like the ideal post-lunch snack, Miss Alice. :)
When I tried Thien Huong for the first time, the counter lady told me that the skinny kind, one bite wide, was more traditional. Beats me. Hmm, wonder if the itinerant baker has moved to Lynda...