Mar 2010

Tip Top’s Sandwiches – Rosemead


The best part of dating a graduate student is the reinstatement of spring break. After graduating from college, I worked diligently from the holidays up until summer vacation before I enjoyed any sort of breather. March was just another month, and my annual trips down to Florida with the track team became a pleasant and distant memory.

I welcomed spring break back into my life last year when The Astronomer enrolled at Caltech. For our inaugural post-collegiate spring break, we packed our bags and headed to Yountville to dine at The French Laundry and Ad Hoc. Observing spring break without having to stress over papers and exams beforehand was a beautiful thing.

This year, we decided to travel even further north to Seattle. Prior to boarding our Jet Blue flight, we stopped by Tip Top’s Sandwiches in Rosemead to pick up sandwiches for the ride. DirectTV + banh mi = a delightful way to spend two and a half hours.


The original Tip Top’s Sandwiches is located in Garden Grove in the heart of Little Saigon. A second branch recently opened in Los Angeles to serve the substantial Vietnamese community residing in the San Gabriel Valley. In addition to “Asian Sandwiches,” Tip Top’s also sells “Euro Sandwiches,” house-made baguettes, frozen yogurt, prefabbed spring rolls, and Vietnamese sweets. We ordered strictly from the banh mi menu.


The Astronomer and I procured four sandwiches. My banh mi dac biet ($2.95) was passable, but not especially great. My main beef with the sandwich was its lack of beef, so to speak. I felt that Tip Top’s long and narrow baguette didn’t provide enough surface area to properly stuff and dress the banh mi. As a result, there was a lot of bread and pickled veggies, but not very much meat. I also thought it was strange that the sandwich contained slices of boiled pork. Boiled pork is lovely atop noodle soups, but has no place inside a banh mi.

The Astronomer and I were mixed on the bread. Two of our sandwiches were made with fresh baguettes that were warm, crusty, and quite pleasant. However, the other two were made with older baguettes that pained the roofs of our mouths with each bite.


For my second sandwich, I chose a vegetarian banh mi ($2.95) with lemongrass tofu.  The tofu was plentiful and well-marinated, but it left a lingering garlicky aftertaste that I wasn’t too keen on.


The Astronomer’s banh mi bi ($3.25) suffered the same fate as my banh mi dac biet—too little meat. However, it must be noted that the porky strands of meat and skin that were present tasted very good. Still, all bread and no pork makes for a dull sandwich.


The Astronomer’s banh mi thit nuong ($3.45) packed lots of meat but not very much flavor. While we appreciated the pork’s charcoal essence, its lack of lemongrass and fish sauce was disappointing.

Although we had high hopes, Tip Top’s Sandwiches weren’t in tip-top shape during our visit. With plenty of cheaper, tastier, and more conveniently located banh mi shops in town [See: Bánh Mì & Chè Cali, Saigon’s Bakery & Sandwiches], The Astronomer and I have little reason to return anytime soon.

Tip Top’s Sandwiches
8522 Valley Boulevard
Rosemead, CA 91770
Phone: 626-571-8185

Tip Top Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

Tip Top's Sandwiches in Los Angeles

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14 thoughts on “Tip Top’s Sandwiches – Rosemead

  1. The crunchy hard bread in one humongous bite scares me because of my TMJ. Still the veggie ones intrigues me and I don’t live too far from GG now. Thanks for letting me know about this 2 for 1 sale. Can’t wait to hear about your spring break adventures.

  2. tip top sandwiches….my family and I have really never liked it…we thought it was way over priced (I live in Little Saigon, so the choices are endless) and it was trying to be very “Non-Vietnamese, more American) if you know what I mean. But i can tell you that they have the best nuoc rau ma and pa the so (chicken).

  3. It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy them, but I tend to like my banh mi with just a trace of meat and heavy veg.

  4. Aww shucks, that’s a bummer that they weren’t tip top! I always wonder about places that are named with positive adjectives like, “Tip Top” and “Yum Yum.” Trying to compensate for something? I am a suspicious one. I am a suspicious one indeed.

  5. i have been to the tip top in westminster and really like their banh mi ga (chicken sandwich). i haven’t tried their other banh mi. another really good banh mi place in the san gabriel valley is banh mi my tho (i think i found out about this place thru your blog).

  6. So I take Saigon Bakery is better? 🙂

    Personally, if this is not better than BMCC and its buy 2 get 1 free, I’d say, the hell with Tip Top! Old break to make your banh mi is criminal!

  7. Awesome review…At least I know where not to go when in am in the SGV.

    It was great meeting you at the FBF Seminar on Saturday. I love reading your blog your writing style fits your personality so well.

    Talk to you soon!

  8. you guys are the coolest travelers I know, I’d be so jealous if I was sitting next to you in the plane. I hate bread that shreds the roof of my mouth…

  9. Strange that they would give you 2 fresh baguettes and 2 old ones – they just wanted to use up their old stuff? Not cool.

    I tried Banh Mi My Tho recently and liked it. Guess I’m not going here anytime soon, but def need to try Che Cali in the near future.

  10. This sounds kinda like Lee’s Sandwiches, I don’t particularly enjoy skinny baguette, they’re just not flaky enough to make a good banh mi.

    You’re lucky to enjoy spring break without being a student 😉 Does the Astronomer get a lot of homework for the break? I do, still dying with assignments right now. :-<

  11. Thanks for the review. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and this is my first comment. I was going next door to Pho 54 and decided to pop in here to check it out when it opened. I ordered the cannolli (I know, it’s a Vietnamese place) but I wanted dessert and it was late and there was no more che left and the cannolli were soggy and old tasting. I much prefer Banh Mi Che Cali and I also like Mr. Baguette down the street too. You can get sesame seeds on your baguette and the fillings are generous. For breakfast, I really love their banh mi with an over easy egg and pate, such yummy eggy goodness.

  12. yumchagirl – Banh Mi Che Cali and Mr. Baguette are two of my faves too! Amazing that a Viet joint even offered canoli! Your comment was appreciated. You should do it more often 😉

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