Food & Drink

LA's 12 best banh mi sandwiches

Published On 11/17/2014 Published On 11/17/2014
Bowld

Despite what everyone in OC's Westminster might tell you, you don't need to drive past the Orange Curtain for delicious Viet-ness. You can just drive to these 12 places, all of which are armed with one of the best banh mi in LA.
 

Tocino banh mi

Bowld (address and info)
Various Locations
You’ll have to track Instagram or Twitter to see when Bowld -- a delivery concept that hosts a weekly pop-up at Villains Tavern -- serves their specialty banh mi, but it’ll be worth it because 1) it’s made with a Filipino caramelized salt-cured pork ("tocino"), 2) it's smothered in Sriracha mayo and sprinkled with spiced potato chips, and 3) yes, the chips are also INSIDE the sandwich.

BANH MI MY-THO

#8 (charbroiled pork banh mi)

Banh Mi My-Tho (address and info)
Alhambra
You can’t go wrong with any of the under-$3 sammies at this cash-only hole in the wall, though the #8 is a favorite, featuring lemongrass-marinated pork and all the traditional fixings, nestled in a baguette with the ideal crunchy-to-soft ratio.

Gingergrass

Beef rib eye banh mi

Gingergrass (address and info)
Silverlake
This Eastside spot focuses on their sandwich innards, getting bread straight from Mr. Baguette and filling each one with grilled meat, fresh herbs, veggies, and a chili garlic aioli spread.

East Borough

Pho Baguette

East Borough (address and info)
Culver City
This fusion joint has found a way to combine two of Vietnam's greatest imports by serving up their brisket banh mi with a side of rich, earthy pho, which also acts as a delicious dipping sauce for the sandwich.
 

Mr. Baguette Special banh mi

Mr. Baguette (address and info)
Various locations
The folks at this Viet cafe mini-chain know that bread quality can really make or break a banh mi. That's why they’ve perfected the super-fresh, fluffy vessels for a vast selection of sandos, including a thin-sliced cold cuts and pâté special.

Mendocino Farms

Kurobuta pork belly banh mi

Mendocino Farms (address and info)
Various locations
Mendocino’s version isn’t going to win points with banh mi purists. But when you’re dealing with chunks of fried Kurobuta pork belly pressed between pillowy ciabatta squares, who cares about authenticity? Not you!

Hero Shop

Brisket banh mi

Hero Shop (address and info)
Downtown
The guys behind Black Hogg recently opened a joint devoted to banh mi, and the winningest winner on the whole winning menu is the fatty beef brisket -- dry rubbed with spices like star anise, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and garlic, then braised in fish sauce and beef stock for a missile of meaty flavor.
 

Go Fish Mi

Banh Mi Venice (address and info)
Venice
This brand-new spot on the corner of Lincoln and Rose whips up a cod fish version of a banh mi (whaaaaa?), drizzled in yogurt and lemon (yes, you can still try meaty options like braised short rib, turmeric chicken, and pork belly).

Superba Food & Bread

Pork sausage banh mi

Superba Food + Bread (address and info)
Venice
Because the only thing better than noshing on banh mi is noshing on banh mi by the beach, Venice-based Superba makes fresh, house-made baguettes loaded with juicy pork sausage, mayo, and spicy peppers. By the beach.

Ink Sack

Pork shoulder banh mi

ink.sack (address and info)
West Hollywood
If you’ve ever eaten banh mi and thought, "hey, this could use some fried pork rinds", then you and Michael Voltaggio share a brain. The chef’s gourmet sammie outpost uses chicharrónes as the perfect crunchy foil to their soft, chewy loaf.

Phorage

Berkshire pork shoulder banh mi

Phorage (address and info)
West LA
Phorage adds extra heft to its baguette by stuffing it with Berkshire pork shoulder and Kurobuta pork belly that’s been marinated in lemongrass overnight, then slow-roasted to a sweet/savory, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness the next day.

Ba Le Bakery

BBQ pork banh mi

Ba Le (address and info)
Alhambra
This no-frills, takeout-only place does it right, heaping its meat-filled hoagies with plenty of julienned and pickled carrots, daikon, and cucumbers; a splash of soy sauce; and a few springs of cilantro and jalapeño slivers for a kick. Plus, they usually have a buy-five-get-one-free deal, which comes in handy for tomorrow’s breakfast. Bring cash!

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Tiffany Tse is a freelance writer for Thrillist, and thinks banh mi is the breakfast of champions. Check out what she’s up to on Twitter and Instagram at @twinksy.

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1. Banh Mi My Tho 304 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

This cash-only Vietnamese sandwich shop in Alhambra serves up hefty banh mi filled with everything from grilled pork and veggies to fried eggs and pate, as well as tasty summer rolls made with vermicelli noodles and generous helpings of shredded pork. Banh Mi My-Tho is a tiny operation, and you'll likely have to eat your sandwich on a bench outside the shop, but the sub-$5 prices are too good to pass up.

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2. Gingergrass 2396 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039 (Silverlake)

This Silver Lake Vietnamese joint is serving up seriously delicious pho, as well as noodles and the like.

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3. East Borough 9810 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232 (Culver City)

This Vietnamese pho house is bringing the heat with delicious banh mis and grilled pork.

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4. Hero Shop 130 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

These Central City East sammy-slingers know how to craft a tasty 'wich, with options like the Cold Cut, BBQ Pork, and Blood Sausage & Peppers, not to mention their salads and mouth-watering rice bowls.

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5. Banh Mi Venice 307 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

This spot on the corner of Lincoln and Rose whips up a cod fish version of a banh mi (whaaaaa?), drizzled in yogurt and lemon (yes, you can still try meaty options like braised short rib, turmeric chicken, and pork belly).

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6. Superba Food + Bread 1900 S Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

Spearheaded by Bread and Pastry Director Carlos Enriquez, Superba is a bright and spacious spot offering up treats from an everything croissant (!) to kouign amann to avocado toast on house-baked bread. Don't roll your eyes just yet -- the avocado toast here is actually some of the best in the city. No matter what you put on Superba's bread, you'll find yourself craving more after each bite, so be sure to take some home with you. And don't forget to pick up a Nutella banana pop tart and a bag of bombolini, too.

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7. ink.sack 8360 Melrose, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (Mid Wilshire)

Ink's a hole-in-the-wall gourmet sandwich stand lined w/ graffitied blackboards and not much else, opening from Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, who managed to pull off a somehow under-the-radar build-out despite obsessive scrutiny from media, food blogs, and Val Kilmer's stomach.

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8. Phorage 3300 Overland Ave , Los Angeles, CA 90034 (Santa Monica)

Their pho is slurpifiably delicious, as are the spring rolls, noodles, and trendy atmosphere.

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9. Ba Le 1426 S Atlantic Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

This no-frills, takeout-only place does it right, heaping its meat-filled hoagies with plenty of julienned and pickled carrots, daikon, and cucumbers; a splash of soy sauce; and a few springs of cilantro and jalapeño slivers for a kick. Plus, they usually have a buy-five-get-one-free deal, which comes in handy for tomorrow’s breakfast. Bring cash!

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