Battle: Banh Mi

Che Cali and Lee’s Become The Philippe’s and Cole’s of Banh Mi

Banh mi at Lee's
Banh mi at Lee’s Photo: Hadley Tomicki

Okay, no one is claiming to have actually invented the French-inspired Vietnamese sandwich down in Orange County, but a war is brewing nonetheless between two of the region’s biggest names in the meat-and-pickle-topped baguette. Banh Mi Che Cali, the Little Saigon hit of hulking banh mi at unbelievably low prices, has opened up a new location right next door to Lee’s, the region’s de facto McDonald’s of banh mi. Along with its two-for-one, $2.75 sandwiches, O.C. Weekly reports that this new Che Cali location (the fifth in the chain) also serves pho in its biggest location to date. While these two trade blows for strip mall domination, we’re still stuck wondering why Lee’s and Che Cali insist on rumbling on O.C.’s streets rather than break into central L.A. where the banh mi landscape remains unevenly distributed in the northeast and mostly competition-free along the rest of its avenues.

Banh Mi Che Cali Opens Gigantic Restaurant in Fullerton Next To Lee’s Sandwiches; Let The Banh Mi Battle Begin! [OCW]

The War of Banh Mis in Orange County