The restaurant’s name comes from the words bánh mì, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich made from a baguette and filled with meat, pickled and fresh vegetables, and herbs; and My-Tho, Vietnam, the hometown of the Dai family, who opened the sandwich shop in 1994.
Bánh mì shops dot the San Gabriel Valley landscape, where close to a tenth of residents are Vietnamese immigrants, but Bánh Mì My-Tho stands out in every way. Crusty, pillowy French baguettes made daily by a French bakery encircle complementary flavors that reflect Vietnam’s multi-cultural culinary influences. Charbroiled meats are marinated with lemon grass and garlic and heaped abundantly on the bun. Pickled veggies like daikon and carrot pair with fresh cucumber and tender cilantro. The magical yellow sauce, a house-made egg yolk mayonnaise, both blends and highlights each flavor.
Customers pour into the small strip mall, but not just for the generously-sized sandwiches that sell for around $3. Dark roasted Vietnamese coffee with a bit of sweetened condensed milk perfectly accompanies a fried egg sandwich smeared with a bit of pâté. Broken rice plates, rice noodle plates and rice sheet noodles deliver a hearty lunch for under $5. Egg rolls with a slightly sweet peanut sauce fly off the shelves, as do their expertly seasoned meatballs.
Delicious, plentiful, and inexpensive Vietnamese food stimulates and satisfies with a perfect balance of herbs, veggies, and meats. This winning combination has earned Bánh Mì My-Tho such awards as the Los Angeles Magazine’s 2010 Best Sandwich Award.