The San Gabriel Valley is best known for regional Chinese food, but the sprawling area also hosts a number of viable Vietnamese options. Banh Mi My Tho, a nearly 17-year-old Alhambra sandwich shop named for a town one hour from Ho Chi Minh City, serves my local favorite banh mi. They pack shelves and counters with rice plates, cookies, radioactive-hued beverages and pork floss by the pound, but keep your focus on the photo menu near the register, which features their signature sandwiches.
In an incubator near the register you’ll find pork-filled egg rolls, pate chaud, and glistening skewers of golf ball-sized pork meatballs. My favorite play is to order a Steamed Meatball Sandwich ($2.25), which features crumbled pork meatballs in tomato sauce, cilantro, cucumber, house-made mayo, and crunchy pickled julienned carrot and daikon, plus thin-sliced jalapeño, seeds, veins and all. The baguette is almost always too crusty, without enough give, but it’s still light years ahead of local chains like Banh Mi Che Cali and Lee’s Sandwiches. My preference could easily change once Tip Top Sandwiches opens further east on Valley Boulevard, but for now, My Tho rules the Valley Boulevard banh mi vendors.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.
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