Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4) — and probably beyond, at this rate — we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
41: Bánh Mì at Buu Dien.
For such a seemingly humble sandwich, the Vietnamese bánh mì stirs up a surprisingly high level of debate. Some swear by the drive-thru variety at Lee's, others the buy-two-get-one-free deal at Banh Mi Che Cali chain, and even more by the sandwiches sold alongside lottery scratchers at Banh Mi My Tho in Alhambra. Our favorite — if you happen to catch us on a particular day — is the tiny sandwich shop Buu Dien, hidden in Chinatown mini-mall.
The bread is fluffy and crisp, the daikon and carrot well-pickled, a just-right smear of creamy French-style mayo. But the cornerstone of the entire experience here is probably the chicken liver pâté, a funky, musty, offal-centric spread that elevates your lunchtime snack into a higher plane of sustenance. The secret is to order the peppery roast pork and then ask them to sneak a bit of pâté inside. Is there a more elegant way to stretch $2.50?
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
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