Bánh Mì and Moving Trucks

The Astronomer is not a casual stargazer. In fact, he takes his science very seriously. After a year of quant-free fun in South East Asia, his brain was more than ready to delve into the rigors of graduate school. The Astronomer flew into San Diego from Birmingham the day before orientation started to pack up our worldly belongings and haul them to our new pad in Pasadena—home of the Rose Parade, Jackie Robinson and Dr. Drew.

Before sending him on his way, we lunched on banh mi, cha gio and che from A Chau, my favorite Vietnamese deli in San Diego. I’ve blogged twice prior (here and here) about A Chau’s wonderful sandwich offerings and continue to sing their praises.

Prices have gone up slightly since my last visit, but only by a quarter or two. The banh mi thit nguoi ($2.25) was solid, and like with all Vietnamese-American offerings, contained a more than generous portion of protein!

The banh mi thit nuong ($2.75) tasted of smoky lemongrass and reminded us of the delicious, stupendous, and fabulous sarnies we downed just a few short months ago.

We also shared three cha gio ($1 for three) because a gas•tron•o•my reader named BAM! once commented that he went out of his way to procure them and that they tasted even better than A Chau’s sandwiches. The Astronomer and I both really dug the cha gio, which was stuffed with pork and carrots, and appreciated that A Chau’s cooks made the extra effort to roll them using rice paper. I never knew the joys of blistered cha gio wrappers until spending time in Vietnam and now I consider them an essential component of the dish.

I also bought a portion of che dau hu la dua ($1.85)—sweet pandan-flavored tofu—because there’s something kinda magical about the subtlety of pandan. The che turned out to be a disappointment because the overall flavor was sweet, rather than pandan. Food coloring can be so tricky! I guess I’ll just stick to the tried and true ginger tofu from now on.

The Astronomer standing proudly on his U-Haul parked in my mom’s driveway.

A Chau
4644 El Cajon Blvd Ste 111
San Diego, CA 92115-4432
Phone: 619-281-4066

A-Chau on Urbanspoon

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4 Responses to “Bánh Mì and Moving Trucks”


  • wow, banh mi sounds much better than pizza or burritos as fuel to move furniture with! I remember when all of my worldly belongings fit into one of those u-hauls… I want some of that ginger tofu for dessert too.

  • OMG! You’re moving to Pasadena?? I live in Pasadena! Well, I’m in Pasadena now, but moving to South Pasadena in less than two weeks. I’m assuming the Astronomer is attending Cal Tech?

    You two will be so close to such great food in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV)! I don’t want to come across as weird, or a stalking fan, but if you’re ever up for trying some local Viet/Chinese/Banh Mi places, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to show you two around town…:)

  • Danielle – We’re there! I’ll send you an email ;-) I vote for dumplings!

  • I love pandan-flavored anything. That’s a shame that this dessert was colored to fool you into thinking it was pandan flavored.

    My mom grows pandan in her garden. I’m going to have to ask her to make me pandan flaovered tofu dessert now.

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