Bánh mì is what the Vietnamese call their bread and I am missing it! I got my craving fulfilled recently, though, during my trip back to California over Christmas. Lee’s Sandwich is a very popular chain and the one I frequent is near the UCI campus in Irvine near where I live. Although I am spending a year with my parents in Hong Kong, I always visit my “must have” places during my short visits back. Lee’s Sandwich is definitely on that list.
The baguette was introduced by the French during the Vietnamese colonial period and they not only influenced the Vietnamese with their architecture, lifestyle and culture but also their food. You will find the Vietnamese cuisine has both local traditional flavors but also dishes influenced by the French. Although the term bánh mì only means bread without any fillings, it has been coined overseas in the U.S., Canada, Australia and France as a meat filled sandwich.
Choices of meat typically include Vietnamese sausage, liver pate, sardines, pork belly, grilled pork, grilled chicken, meatballs, some type of cheese and accompanied with pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeno and cilantro.
Living in Hong Kong this year with my parents definitely has it’s perks. Hong Kong is one of the food capitals of the world and there isn’t a cuisine you cannot find here. BUT…yes BUT…I miss the simple things in California. So during my trip back, on a typical beautiful Southern California day, I knew I had to drive and get myself a Lee’s sandwich.
This location at UCI is one of the cleanest I have been and also one of the outlets that offers the most amount of table seating. A lot of UCI students frequent Lee’s, and why shouldn’t they, sandwich prices are amazingly reasonable. You can get a good size sandwich for approximately $2.75.
They also have a lot of refreshing drinks you can order to go along with your meal. I am a creature of habit and although every time I walk in with the intention of trying something new and different, I always end up ordering the taro drink as shown here. Mmmm mmmm good.
I usually get my sandwich and drink, eat and go. But this time I lingered a little while longer and ordered myself a coconut waffle. It came nice and warm and was fluffy to the bite. I wouldn’t order it anytime but was pleasantly surprised at the taste.
I also got this delicious sesame ball as well for an appetizer. What I love about Lee’s is that they have a variety of choices to snack on or take home with you I also manage to try something new every time as I am pretty adventurous and willing to give everything a chance at least once!
I bought a packet of Deli Manjoo and a pack of Lucky Gold Fish! There were so many other snacks I was tempted to purchase but I had to really control myself. I just had to think of my growing waistline over the holidays and that was enough to hold me back.
When I was done with my meal my stomach was extremely satisfied. Oh Lee’s Sandwich, you have been good to me as always. See you when I come back to Irvine again over the summer. Until then…I shall be missing my bánh mì.