Another pretty good-to-great Banh Mi/Vietnamese Food Shop…in Rosemead.
Whoa. Wait so there’s more than one of these?
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.
Okay, truth be told. I wandered into the 626 looking for a random place to eat and/or review and stumbled upon this new location.
And as I was researching this piece, I discovered loads, and loads more.
So, where were we?
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 ecstasy 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).
Yeah seriously. All these locations and no website. That is weird.
Clearly, they don’t need one to generate business, but still…
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 in the 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.
Basically, the quality of your Sandwich does not differ from location to location. Good in Alhambra, good in Rosemead.
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.
I also try to nab some Fried Spring Rolls where possible, but this visit, I went for a massive, softball sized Pork Bun.
Lovely and fantastic. Still under $6 bucks, and you’re outta there? Yeah, you’re going here.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Remember what I said about the crowds? All too true. But they have some limited seating outside.
Also, bear in mind that some of the menu options are listed exclusively in Vietnamese, so that could be a barrier. However, the Banh Mi options are all in english, so if you’re not fluent in Vietnamese, you’re still covered.
PARKING: This location is even tougher in a way to park at because it shares a lot with the fantastic, and still not yet visited 888 Seafood. So there is a parking lot. You…well…should be able to find a space. There is a lot of turnover, so your odds are not terrible, but don’t be surprised if you come up at least temporarily bubkus. You can try to park along Valley, but honestly, just wait a couple of minutes. Someone is probably leaving.
Banh Mi Cali Che (Rosemead)
8450 Valley Blvd.
Rosemead, CA 91770
Tel: (626) 288-5600
Daily: 6 am – 9 pm