We are tight on funds, it was my birthday, & my great artistic & foody-joy is to spend a weekend escaping smoggy So. Cal by going on an 'Ethnic Get-away'! This includes visiting a surrounding neighborhood of immigrants, & exploring their culture as much as possible by eating their authentic cuisine & perusing their neighborhoodfood/spice markets & stores.
I had my first two memorable Banh Mi in Berkeley & recently at a Vietnamese Restaurant on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. Yesterday, we trekked from the Valley to Westminster. We had our first Banh Mi of the afternoon at Che' Cali. The BBQ Pork edition was smoky, vinegary, spicey, sweet & poetry in the mouth! The "pate choux" meat in pastry was good, & we enjoyed the coldcut, cellophane noodle, cilantro & shrimp-stuffed vermicelli rolls dipped in the Nuoc Cham. We wondered what the ubiquitous food item we kept noticing stuffed in a
banana-leaf was? We marveled at all the weird-looking melons like Jackfruit & the hairy red ones that looked like Cling-Ons!!I had remembered seeing Ba Le mentioned in the book, "Counter Intelligence", so we tried their BBQ Pork Banh Mi, & it was a big let-down! A recent L.A. Times Article mentions Lily's Bakery. Has anyone tried their Bah Mi? I like the smokey meat to be sliced thin. When I had one in Chinatown recently, the meat was in thickish irregular chunks, & the sandwhich was unappealing. It's a long trek from the Valley. Why isn't some great guide like "Counter-Intelligence" updated?The Banh Mi mentioned in the Valley probably don't come close. So, who makes the BEST BBQ PORK BANH MI in Westminster?, in San Gabriel Valley?, & when needed, in the Valley? I just can't get that Gourmet Umami-Poetry out of my head & away from my tongue.....................JET