Do you like sugar cane juice squeezed before your very eyes? Sweet, green, grassy, extremely unfiltered and above all, fresh? It is $2 at Saigon Sandwiches, 828 Broadway in Chinatown next to the Saigon Plaza. Must compare their banh mi to the legendary shop of same name in SF Tenderloin.
While nuthin' beats San Gabriel, I'm always heartened by the heavy Latino presence in Chinatown. It's organic mixing driven I assume by curiosity as well as by unbeatable prices. So I had to try the tres leches cake (large hand lettered sign) at the very Vietnamese/Chinese Lien Hoa, Ord at North Spring. It's $1.25 for one portion and quite comparable to the cake I sampled from my friend's friend the pastry chef one Christmas. Cheesy whipped cream and cherry but sopping wet, extremely sweet milky cake redeems it. Also, nearly-as-good-as-Grandma's jung/zhongxi, the bamboo leaf wrapped rice dumpling with belly pork, mung beans AND peanuts.
I think I also ate my cheapest lunch in LA today at AAA Restaurant, 711 New High St. (new low?). $1.24! Not bad for one char siu bao/BBQ pork bun and lor mai kai/chicken rice in lotus leaf. OK, this was more like post-Thanksgiving snacking but the value is astounding.
Low End Theory