BakeSpite: Now that is bánh mì

Well, that’s about enough of PlayStation for a little while. I need a mental break. Let’s write about food instead.

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about an overpriced, mediocre Vietnamese sandwich I had the misfortune of purchasing for lunch? I wasn’t too broken up, because I knew I was en route to Orange County in a few days. And the best thing about Orange County — possibly the one good thing, really — is the suburb of Westchester, which has a huge Vietnamese immigrant community. And that means plentiful, cheap, delicious, Vietnamese food. Such as this:

This is not the best bánh mì I’ve ever eaten, but that’s just because I’ve had better bread before. Everything else about it was perfect. (The bread was merely really good.) The vegetables were plentiful, the pickles perfectly flavored, the meat wonderfully smoky, the mayonnaise buttery rich and spread thin enough that it was an accent rather than an overpowering goop. The bread could have been a little softer inside and a little crustier outside, but what the hey.

And, of course, since it was in Westminster, that means the price wasn’t $8.50 like it is near my office, but rather:

Yes, it was $2.50. Two and a half bucks for 12″ of deliciousness. That makes it half the price of those Subway $5 footlongs. And about ten times as tasty.

You know the sad little bins of withered sandwich fixings you see at Subway? The ingredients were super-fresh and piled high, with an emphasis on quality rather than variety. This is, as it should be.

I couldn’t even begin to spell the name of this place, but if you ever find yourself in Westminster, CA with the desire to buy more super-delicious food than you can eat in a single sitting, look for a place at the corner of Euclid and W Edinger. Your tastebuds will thank you.

No, just kidding; they’ll be too busy exploding with pleasure to thank you, but the sentiment will still be there.

9 thoughts on “BakeSpite: Now that is bánh mì

  1. Your first post about banh mi made me hunt down (apparently) the only restaurant in Knoxville that serves the stuff. It was delicious, but I have no metric to compare it to. I will have to keep my eyes open for further varieties in the future.

    The place was apparently a dive for the local Vietnamese community and banh mi was one of the two items they served. My guess is that it was either really good or really bad. The owner seemed confused at how I had found the place and when I sent my friends over later to pick up more, he asked them how we found him.

    “A game journalist on the internet” is probably not what he expected.

  2. Speaking as a OC native (and recent Bay Area transplant), I can tell you that besides the excellent Vietnamese food in Westminster, a little further down the way in Garden Grove you’ll find far better Korean food than you can find up here in the Bay (and that includes the El Camino Korean stretch in Santa Clara).

    People knock OC (usually justifiably), but there are actually several pockets of good food down there. Most cuisines, especially “California” and Mediterranean cuisines, are far better up here in the Bay – but I’ve yet to feel really blown away by any Vietnamese and Korean places up here.

    Also, the variety of Chinese food seems to be lacking compared to OC and LA – for instance, I really enjoy Chinese food from the Yunnan province, but that’s nowhere to be found in the Bay.

    On a final food-note, one of my favorite places to eat in OC is called Tsuruhashi – it’s a yakiniku place, which is another restaurant type that’s either missing or not as good up here.

    Next time you’re in Westminster, try to find a Vietnamese jerky place, too – oh man, that stuff is amazing.

  3. I have also now googled banh mi in my area because your photos look so damn delicious. Restaurant has been located and a trip is in work. Thankfully I found banh mi at restaurants that are not called Pho King Way – of which we have two.

    • In San Jose we have a chain called Lee’s Sandwiches and I really enjoy their Banh Mi (and banana deserts too!).

      I wonder how they compare to the OC and SF places you know. For all I know Lee’s is in the city also!

      • Lee’s is pretty much everywhere in California. There is definitely one in the Tenderloin in SF, and they’re pretty much everywhere in Orange County.

  4. You like old games, rpgs AND bánh mì? Very impressed! I fell in love with them again on a recent trip to Vietnam where my diet consisted primarily of street-vendor pork rolls and iced white coffee (laden with condensed milk).

  5. “Well, that’s about enough of PlayStation for a little while.”

    Funny… that’s the same thing Sony said!

  6. You stopped by Tan Hoang Huong Bakery! I live not more than a few minutes from there. If you’re still in the mood for more, you can stop by Bánh Mì Chè Cali or Top Baguette which are both in the same neighborhood and arguably the two best banh mi joints in Westminster.

    Oddly enough they’re right across from each other on opposite sides of the Magnolia St./Bolsa Ave. intersection.

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