Last week I wrote about how happy I am when I find dairy-free sandwiches that taste good, and how nice it is to not have to say, “Hold the cheese.” Well, that’s why I was so excited about Lee’s Sandwiches, an Asian sandwich chain that specializes in bahn mi.
Bahn mi is a Vietnamese sandwich filled with flavorful meats such as grilled pork, beef, or lemongrass chicken and vegetables like pickled carrots, daikon, cucumbers, jalapeños, and cilantro. Reflecting the French colonization of Vietnam, bahn mi is served on a baguette and sometimes contains paté and a mayo-based spread like aioli.
What bahn mi sandwiches never have is cheese!
I’ve been to the Lee’s in Van Nuys twice, since it’s near the pool where I go swimming. I have to say their bahn mi isn’t the best I’ve ever had — not even close. It’s more the idea of Lee’s that I’m in favor of. You walk in and there’s a whole section of the menu labeled “Asian Sandwiches” with almost as many choices as their “European Sandwiches” menu.
It’s like the Subway of bahn mi.
They also have boba tea, coffee drinks, smoothies, and even house-made Italian sodas. I had the lychee iced tea and I had to ask them to adjust my drink to make it less sweet. However, I found an actual lychee fruit in my cup, so that was cool. I wouldn’t recommend a special trip to Lee’s for boba tea, but I do like that I can get one when I order a bahn mi. One stop shopping is always a plus.
Are there better places to get a bahn mi and boba tea? Absolutely. But in this section of Van Nuys, Lee’s is temptingly convenient and cheap takeout. Most of their 10-inch bahn mi sandwiches are only $4.49 — a steal compared to Nong La, my go-to Vietnamese place on Sawtelle, where an 8-inch pork bahn mi costs $7.
Know of a good bahn mi place in Van Nuys? Or in West LA? Let me know in the comments section!
LEE’S SANDWICHES, 16900 Sherman Way, Lake Balboa, CA 91406