Jun 2009

Saigon's Bakery & Sandwiches – San Gabriel / San Jose

The banh mi from Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches are so delicious that weathered street gentlemen wake up from their pavement slumbers to come for lunch. This silly thought crossed my mind as I walked into the Vietnamese deli and saw the scruffiest man waiting in line for a sandwich. His straight-outta-Saigon get-up signaled that this place was gonna be good.

The Astronomer and I recently stopped into Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches to pick up some grub for our road trip up to The Bay. Danny of Kung Food Panda recommended it to us—it’s his go-to place for fulfilling unruly banh mi cravings. Vehicular banh mi consumption is a messy affair, but dealing with a few stray crumbs is a small sacrifice for enjoying the most satisfying of sandwiches.

We picked up three sandwiches for the road, from left to right, banh mi bi (pork skin), banh mi thit nuong (grilled pork), and banh mi dac biet (cold cuts galore). Each sandwich was priced at $2.25.

Thus far in my quest for stellar banh mi in the San Gabriel Valley, I’ve been disappointed by the baguettes. Unlike the airy fairy, rice floured specimens in Vietnam, the ones I encountered at Ba Le French Sandwich & Bakery, Bánh Mì & Chè Cali, and Bánh Mì Mỹ Tho were super-sized and thick.

I was pleased like you wouldn’t believe when I bit into Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches’ baguette. It provided excellent support, a pleasant crisp, and not too much fluff as to overwhelm the fixins. I appreciated how the baguette was substantial without being heavy. Bravo!

Of the trio of banh mi, The Astronomer and I adored the bi the most. The stringy bits of pork skin were well-seasoned and melded terrifically with the bread and pickled vegetables.

On our way out the door, the woman behind the counter gifted The Astronomer and me a long and lean baguette. Perhaps there was a “buy three sandwiches, get one baguette free” deal that we were unaware of. Or maybe the woman was just being nice.

A few days later, before loading up our car and departing for Los Angeles, we asked my aunt and uncle whom we were staying with in Redwood City for the name of a good place to grab banh mi for the road. “Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches,” they responded. Fancy that! It turns out that Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches is a chain four locations strong. There are two outlets in Little Saigon, in addition to the ones in San Gabriel and San Jose.

The prices in San Jose were 25 cents higher than at the San Gabriel branch, but fortunately, the bread and fixins were identical. This time around, we ordered another bi because it was our favorite, a xiu mai (meatballs), and a bi chay (vegetarian bi). All three were great.

I also picked up a wonderful snack called bánh dày kẹp chả, which was comprised of a thick slice of fried pork forcemeat sandwiched between two intensely sticky tapioca cakes. The cakes are so gooey and thick that choking is a real possibility, so do be careful.

With good tunes and even better eats, we were home in L.A. in no time.

Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches
718 East Valley Boulevard
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Phone: 626-288-6475

Saigon's Bakery and Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

Saigon's Bakery & Sandwiches in Los Angeles

Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches
953 Mclaughlin Avenue
San Jose, CA 95122
Phone: 408-271-9744

Saigon's Bakery on Urbanspoon

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15 thoughts on “Saigon's Bakery & Sandwiches – San Gabriel / San Jose

  1. mmm, that’s excellent news, I’m not too far from SanJo. That sticky hocky puck treat thing almost looks good to me!

  2. Yeah I LOVE Saigon Bakery in San Gabriel. It really is the best bahn mi place around (and that’s saying a lot since there are so many!). You should try their scrambled egg sandwich next time…it’s a great breakfast …but i sometimes get it for lunch or dinner too. Another goodie is their vegetarian sandwich (it’s sauteed mixture of yumminess) which was surprisingly good.

    You were right about the buy 3 sandwiches and get a free loaf of bread. It’s not advertised, but they always throw in that bread when you get 3 =) Their bread is fantastic…so that’s a plus!

    Great reviews and photos by the way!! Keep it up.

  3. Hey Cathy, I’m glad you and Vern liked the sandwich! =)

    Definitely, the main reason I get three sandwiches everytime is for the free baguette. As one previous poster said, one of the nice thing of Saigon Bakery is that it’s next to SG Superstore. They have a $5 asian movie dvd store there! Gotta love living in the SGV!

  4. A banh mi place for me to try! Were there any other good bay area eats you tried out?

  5. Thnaks for this post. As I think you know I have been a bit obsessed with Banh mi over at http://www.sippitysup.com. So I am glad to have this address in my life now. Next post please find me banh mi a tiny bit closer to Hollywood so I can go there everyday! GREG

  6. The bánh dày kẹp chả looks so good and totally something I would like. I will have to look for it next time I go.

  7. I used to make a run there every week to get baguettes for M&M. We actually “ditched” Saigon Bakery baguettes now since I don’t think they make them as good as they used to (at least at the SJ branch) — too dry and crumb-bie/-bish (??). Next time you visit, you’ll have to try our new banh mi joint “L’amour de Baguette”. Leave it to the vietnamese folks to come up w/ a corny french name ;o) I just tried them this week and their bread and sandwiches were excellent!

  8. After reading so many of your posts on Banh Mi, I finally nailed down a Vietnamese sandwich shop here in OC that we can visit on our way home from the Farmers Market. Once I read this on Friday, I told my wife that we’re going next weekend for lunch no matter what.

    Thank you for torturing me for so long. I’m looking forward to finally tasting these sandwiches, and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it.

  9. And this is why I love your blog! bánh dày kẹp chả rocks!!
    Everytime I start to get homesick or crave home cooked meals, all I have to do is check out your blog. If only we had scratch n sniff laptops.

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