Sunday, September 28, 2008


One thing about having kids is that hubby and I often reap the benefits of a visit to doting grandparents who spoil them with the likes of these:

Or would this photo be the one to whet your appetite enough for a trip to a Vietnamese shop?

Yes, my parents went on a binge at Banh Mi Che Cali. I was too busy eating to ask them which branch they went to, but it's either the Alhambra or the Rosemead location. I usually like Van's sandwiches better because I like the pate they put on theirs, but these banh mi dac biet (cold cuts sandwiches), were not too shabby either. Tons of mayo on these, and the baguettes were crunchy and warm:

A tip for ordering sandwiches to go is to have them place the veggies in a separate bag so that the sandwiches don't get soggy during transport. We also had some nem cuon (grilled pork sausage rolls):

...and chao long (rice porridge with pork innards). That thing you see on the spoon is a cube of blood. We call them jello, and my kids will eat them.

The kids also had some chicken buns (banh bao), but they were bitten into by the time I got around to snapping pictures. For dessert, there was banh chuoi (logs of sticky rice and banana rolled in banana leaves). These are the green logs tied up with red string in the first photo above.

There was also banh khoai mi (cassava cake):

...and banh cam chien (fried sesame rice balls filled with mung bean paste):

Alright, I have to stop and make it clear that I did NOT eat all of these myself on this day. I've eaten them all before and attest to their deliciousness, but no, I'm not that much of a pig. Now onward with the goodies. The one thing I like at Banh Mi Che Cali over Van's is their selection of che (which basically means soupy Vietnamese desserts). As evidenced by those tubs of che above, my parents went crazy on the che today.

My favorite has always been the che dau (sticky rice and black eyed peas dessert). I've left it out of the photo, but you would normally douse this with coconut milk:

Che bap (corn and sticky rice dessert), usually also with coconut milk:

Che troi nuoc (mung bean paste filled rice balls sprinkled with sesame seeds in a ginger soup):

Banh chuoi hap (steamed bananas with coconut milk, which I again left out):

Che khoai mon (sticky rice with taro), usually covered in coconut milk:

...and this last one which my mom couldn't remember the name of. Anyone know? Mom are you reading this?

There you have it. This che-fest should last me until...oh..tomorrow?

Banh Mi Che Cali Alhambra is at 647 W Valley Blvd Alhambra, CA 91803 (626) 293-8396

Banh Mi Che Cali Rosemead is at 8450 Valley BlvdRosemead, CA 91770 (626) 288-5600‎