Best of L.A.

Best Sandwich Shop That Looks Like a Gas Station: Banh Mi My Tho

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Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge The counter at Banh Mi My Tho - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • The counter at Banh Mi My Tho

Sure, the San Gabriel Valley is home to countless strip mall bánh mì joints, and Bánh Mì My Tho is no different. Almost. Walk inside this tiny, shiny Vietnamese sandwich shop, and you'll think you've been transported not to Vietnam, but maybe the best gas station convenience store, ever. On your right, boxed green tea peek out from stacked cardboard boxes. On your left, lotto tickets waiting for your bubbles like a Scantron answer sheet.

The hot case that dominates the counter - filled with days-old corndogs and stale pretzels at your local Shell station - is stuffed with egg rolls, meat pies, and nem nuong (pork) on a stick. The little counter space that remains is where you order the cheapest of lunches: the charbroiled pork bánh mì sandwich and a Vietnamese coffee costs roughly the same amount as a gallon of gas. Lunch for less than a Lincoln? Fill 'er up.

Yes, it's that time of year again, or almost. This is one of over 400 pieces that will be appearing in our upcoming Best of L.A. issue, out October 6th.

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