Little Saigon Banh Mi Bender

Neighborhood Sign Orange County

Over 200,000 Vietnamese people live in and around Little Saigon, which includes parts of Garden Grove.

GUIDE CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE

#4: Top Baguette, 9062 Bolsa Avenue, Westminster, 714 379 7726

Banh Mi Little Saigon
Top Baguette’s small storefront in the Hanoi Plaza strip mall led to one of our better banh mi experiences. The bread was firm and didn’t have enough give, but the fillings were plentiful and excellent. BBQ Beef Sauteed with Lemon Grass (Bo Nuong Xa – $2.75) was outstanding, with a nice char and an aromatic marinade that seeped into the bread. BBQ Pork (Heo Nuong – $2.50) could have used more pronounced flavor, but the meat was lean and tender. The vegetables were thick cut but fresh.

Banh Mi Little Saigon
The Avocado Shake (Giai Khat – $2.75) was too mild, and the ratio of dairy to avocado was out of whack.

#5: Banh Mi Cho Cu, 14520 Magnolia Street Westminster, CA 714 891 3718
Banh Mi Little Saigon
Every square inch of counter space was lined with prepared food or groceries. The 10-year-old grocery produces exemplary sandwiches on crusty bread. Well, one exemplary sandwich. The incredible Spicy Meatball (Xiu Mai – $2.25) featured luscious pork meatball that oozed spicy orange oil. The spice was pretty ferocious, especially when paired with julienned jalapeno. BBQ Pork (Thit Nuong – $2.25) could have been better and hotter.

Banh Mi Little Saigon
Cho Cu produced an excellent pate chaud with juicy pork and nearly caramelized onions. The pork meatballs were juicy, but too firm. However, they get style points for appearing on a stick.

#6: Banh Mi Saigon, 8940 Westminster Avenue, Westminster, 714 896 8782
Banh Mi Little Saigon
Our final stop yielded a buttery baguette. Unfortunately the accompanying slab of casing-free beef sausage was cold and the sauce was sickly sweet. Slathered mayo didn’t help matters.

#7: Tastea
Banh Mi Little Saigon
It wasn’t banh mi, but “Peach Me Sweetea” was a terrific iced black tea loaded with chunks of fresh peach and strawberry. Matthew “Mattatouille” Kang ordered a slushy freeze with similar ingredients and apparently rave-worthy boba.

By the end, it seemed reductive to appoint a single banh mi champion, since there are so many variables when it comes to producing a great sandwich. After our final stop, I took a poll of favorite baguettes, fillings, portion sizes, vegetables. We also added a category for pate chaud, since the savory pastry had a surprisingly large impact on our day.

BAGUETTE
Two people (myself included) voted for Tip Top for best baguette, while two people favored Banh Mi Saigon.

FILLING
Two people voted for Cho Cu’s meatball (myself included). One person voted for Tip Top’s pork. One person voted for Top Baguette’s beef.

PORTION SIZE
Everybody was happiest with Top Baguette’s portions.

VEGETABLES
Everybody voted for Tip Top’s vegetables.

PATE CHAUD
Everybody voted for Tip Top’s version.

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

tip top is def. one of our faves in Little saigon

Oh my gorsh….so tasty. My only regret is that I am so rarely in Garden Grove for work this year.

It’s worth driving to Little Saigon at least once a month, whether you have business there or not. That’s one of the most exciting eating areas in the country, and there are always new options.

Thanks. By the fifth stop, I was in pain, and by Tastea, I was ready to curl up into the fetal position. Still, it was a great learning opportunity to have sandwiches from six straight places.

nice round up! sounds like a huge brunch/lunch.

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