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Best Banh Mi In Los Angeles

August 25, 2010 1:05 PM

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The Saigon sandwich (Banh Mi) from Mr. Baguette. (credit: www.mrbaguettesandwiches.com)

The Saigon sandwich (Banh Mi) from Mr. Baguette. (credit: http://www.mrbaguettesandwiches.com)

banhmiheader92858082 Best Banh Mi In Los Angeles

The Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. (credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Arguably the most popular Vietnamese culinary import since pho, the banh mi is vying for its proper place in the pantheon of great sandwiches. The city’s finest specimens are mostly concentrated on the east side of town, but thanks to an army of roaming gourmet food trucks, the Westside can now get its fill too. – Cathy Chaplin

Banh Mi Che & Cali

135 S San Gabriel Boulevard
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 286-8728
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Banh Mi Che & Cali’s ongoing “buy two get one free” deal makes an already economical sandwich even more so. The top three to taste are the lemongrass-infused grilled pork (banh mi thit nuong), the cold cut and pate combo (banh mi dac biet), and the savory meatballs (banh mi xiu mai). All sandwiches are served on the shop’s distinctly buttery baguette.

Bánh Mì My Dung

314 Ord Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-7094
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The best approximation of a Saigon baguette can be found in the heart of Chinatown at Bánh Mì My Dung. The cramped little mom and pop shop churns out a crusty specimen that’s light on fluff. The fillings aren’t as memorable as the vehicle, but it’s hard to mind when the bread is this good.

Banh Mi My Tho

304 W Valley Boulevard
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 289-4160
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This unassuming deli in the midst of an Alhambra strip mall claims a legion of devoted fans. The ambiance here is nil, but the flavors are bold and crave-worthy. The fried egg sandwich (banh mi trung op la) is the perfect early morning pick-me-up.

Buu Dien

642 North Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-8355
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Buu Dien was recently declared the city’s very best banh mi purveyor by L.A. Weekly restaurant critic Jonathan Gold. While the baguette and charcuterie are both quite good, it’s the thick spread of “organy funk” pate that ties everything together perfectly.

mrbaguette Best Banh Mi In Los Angeles

The Saigon sandwich (banh mi) from Mr. Baguette. (credit: http://www.mrbaguettesandwiches.com)

Mr. Baguette

8702 Valley Boulevard
Rosemead, CA 91770-1712
(626) 288-9166
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The tidy and orderly Mr. Baguette is the perfect place for banh mi newbies. The picture menu is accompanied by English text and the ambiance is spiffy, but not annoyingly so. The product is one of the best in town, but you’ll pay a dollar more per sandwich for the ambiance.

nomnomtruck Best Banh Mi In Los Angeles

The Nom Nom Truck. (credit: http://www.nomnomtruck.com)

Nom Nom Truck

Various locations, for more information follow them on Twitter or check out their website
www.nomnomtruck.com

The Nom Nom Truck brings Vietnamese sandwiches to Angelenos residing far from downtown and the San Gabriel Valley. The ingredients here are top-notch, and the packaging is too cute for words. Prices are a bit steeper, but well worth it considering the general lack of competition in the neighborhood. The Mandoline Grill Truck (@MandolineGrill) is also worth tracking down for good banh mi sandwiches.

Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches

718 East Valley Boulevard
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 288-6475
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Few delis manage to achieve the perfect ratio of sandwich filling to bread, but Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches makes a noble effort. The baguettes are baked in-house throughout the day and the meats and pates are seasoned with care. The banh mi bi (shredded pork and pork skin) is especially noteworthy.

xoia Best Banh Mi In Los Angeles

The Xoia website. (credit: http://www.xoiaeats.com)

Xoia

1801 W Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-3232
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This Echo Park restaurant churns out a Mexican-Vietnamese banh mi that combines the best of both cuisines. The filling is comprised of carnitas laced with lemongras, along with traditional pickled daikon and carrots, jalapenos, and cilantro. The creation might seem strange at first, but one bite and you’ll be sold.

cathy danh headshot Best Banh Mi In Los Angeles

Cathy Danh

Cathy Chaplin is a Los Angeles-based food writer and photographer. Her widely-read blog Gastronomy has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Saveur.com. Ms. Danh’s food writings have appeared in numerous publications including National Geographic, Saveur, and Time Out Vietnam.

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