On the Westminster Avenue side though, all I saw was Thanh Tam Billiards. My friend sent me to a pool hall for banh mi? This couldn't be right? Or could it?
I texted her but didn't get an immediate reply. So I drove out thinking it might be located instead on one of the three other corners of the intersection. As I U-turned back, there it was -- Thanh Tam Bakery, around the corner from Thanh Tam Billiards. And yes, the two are related. The business cards have the bakery address on one side and the pool hall on the other side.
It was pouring rain that day and in front of the shop, a little old Vietnamese lady was selling lemongrass. Two bundles for $5. Sure I get free lemongrass from my youngest uncle, but I can't resist buying from little old Vietnamese ladies, especially when it's pouring outside. I always feel like I'm honoring my ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother)'s memory when I do. I looked for her after we went inside but she had disappeared. Hopefully, she was somewhere inside and warm.
My friend likes this sandwich shop because they add a fried egg and pour the extra sauce from the meat into the sandwich. Then they freshly toast it so the banh mi is served warm.
The sandwiches are around $2.25 to $2.50 each. There are steam trays of food to-go and some snacks too, but most people come here for the sandwiches.
Since I was getting the sandwich to-go, I opted for no fried egg. I forgot which one this was, probably the special with cha lua (Vietnamese steamed meatloaf) and xa xiu (Vietnamese barbecued pork).
And look, extra sauce spooned inside the sandwich.
Even retoasted hours later that evening, the sandwich was wonderful. The bread was light and insubstantial the way Vietnamese French bread should be, the fillings extra flavorful with the added sauce.
On my revisit to Ngu Binh Restaurant with Tony of SinoSoul, we stopped by again. This time, I got the banh mi pate trung (Vietnamese Spam and egg sandwich). The pate here is not liver pate, but Spam. Just so you know.
We split a sandwich so we could eat it warm at the shop. Soooo good!
For $2.25, they don't have to take such care as to add in sauce, a fried egg, and freshly toasting it to order, but they do. Now, if only they had real pate instead of Spam...
Other Vietnamese banh mi posts:
Banh Mi & Che CALI Bakery - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Banh Mi & Che Cali Restaurant - Alhambra
Tip Top Sandwiches - Garden Grove (Little Saigon)
Top Baguette - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Thanh Tam Bakery
14095 Euclid St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843
1 year ago today, rose suckers.
2 years ago today, musings on tea tree, thank you cards, and Meyer lemons.
3 years ago today, Lady Fairbanks rose archways and my old herb garden.