There’s a new vegan bang mi in town, people, and it is fucking good.
If you know us, you may well know that we love a good vegan bahn mi (please see Blue Window; please see Urban Radish around the corner; please see Brooklyn’s Toad Style; please see the bahn mi champion, Hanco’s also outta Brooklyn). The shiitake one at Urban Radish is good and nearby, but we’re pretty big fans of a good, plant-based-protein one too that approximates a traditional chicken bahn mi.
Last week, on our way to pick our copy of the anniversary issue of Popeye at the local Japanese Bookstore, Kinokuniya in Little Tokyo, we stopped in our tracks as we noticed a menu taped up at a luncheonette featuring—you guessed it—a vegan bahn mi.
The story goes that downtown LA’s very modestly and conspicuously named Sandwich Shop—located at 6th + Grand—opened a second location just late last month in the very same complex as Kinokuniya (and awesome Japanese supermarket Marukai).
And the verdict on the bahn mi? Impressively large, scrumptious, and craveable, with a superb showing of the sandwiches characteristic combination of spicy, fresh toppings and savory, rich proteins and spreads, all stuffed into the perfect example of that monstrous, crunchy French bread that totally, lovingly shreds the roof of your mouth as you eat it. The shop uses a Vege USA/Vegetarian Plus style vegan soy chicken (the kind you can get in the freezer section of good Thai markets) that’s fried and coated in a ginger marinade. And in addition to the traditional cilantro, jalapeño, pickled vegetable toppings, they use a Whole Foods brand vegan mayo on the bread, which most non-vegan restaurants (Hanco’s included) don’t bother to do.
So if you’re in Little Tokyo or our nearby neighborhood of the Arts District, stop by the Sandwich Shop—123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St #108. And yes, that is an awesome street name. If you’re further west in the downtown area, their original location’s at 531 W. 6th Street.
And according to the shop via Twitter, you can sub in the vegan chicken in the miso salad too.
New favorite work lunch spot—check!