Banh Mi & Che Cali (Alhambra)
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Yet another good Banh Mi Place in Alhambra, but this time with parking and sit-down space!
If you live in the 626 Area Code, or at least visit it a lot, you know one of the side benefits is being immersed in an Chinese Food wonderland.
That’s still great, and that’s still true…but there are side benefits as well. Like being in the middle of a Southeast Asian Food wonderland as well.
Ever since my game-changing, life-altering experience at Banh Mi My Tho (okay, that was a little strong. It was just a really good sam’mich), I’ve been looking to replicate that hit, that moment, that escasty at…well…virtually every other Banh Mi Place I’ve tried.
And granted, I haven’t been able to match the price…at least not exactly. But for the most part, I’ve been able to match the joy of that first sandwich, or at least come close.
This has of course lead to a new Banh Mi quest. A quest…for seating.
Ba Le came close, in that, they were a little roomier than Banh Mi Ty Tho in that they had two whole chairs inside the Store.
Which leads me to Banh Mi & Che Cali (no website, or Facebook link).
What’s great about San Gabriel, is that there’s this whole restaurant infrastructure that was there when San Gabriel was predominately…well, non-Asian. And slowly, these old Diners, Coffee Shops, Pizza Joints are being taken over by Asian Ownership, and being turned into something even more magical.
Such is the story, as far as I can tell with Banh Mi & Che Cali.
Clearly there was something here before, probably int he Diner/Coffee Shop Variety. But the new ownership has made it work for them, selling a wonderland of Vietnamese/Southeast Asian confections, sundries and treats.
But they also got them some Banh Mi.
Again, for a really cheap price, you can get yourself a tasty “football of love” as Bourdain would put it. And unlike Bahn Mi My Tho and Ba Le, there are actually places to sit.
Well, in theory there are places to sit.
No lie Banh Mi & Che Cali has got a mess of chairs and tables.
Thing is, they’re usually filled with paying, happy customers.
Yeah, that crowded. Must say something about the quality of the meal, if that many people are here to get at it.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, you should get yourself a Banh Mi, preferably of the Grilled Pork Variety. Thinking back on it, it didn’t stand out like that first one I had over at Banh Mi My Tho. I mean, it wasn’t like I was biting into sunshine for the first time, but it wasn’t far off. It’s a nice, inexpensive burst of Comfort food joy. Grab a Sandwich and a Coke, and you can walk out of there for four bucks.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Remember what I said about the crowds? All too true. But they have some limited seating outside.
PARKING: Hey, what did I say about the crowds?
Banh Mi & Che Cali has it’s own free lot that circles around the Restaurant, but there aren’t that many spaces, so it fills up fast. Parking up along 7th Street, up toward Moor Park is your next best option.
Banh Mi & Che Cali (again, no link)
647 W Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91803
Daily: 7:00am – 9:00pm.