Taking a break from all of those desert posts to tell you about some FOOD I actually ate recently. Vietnamese food to be exact! Most of the time I only seem to eat Vietnamese food around Mira Mesa but I was down in Jake’s ‘hood and needed a bite to eat. Jake was doing the Little League thing and I was on my own to grab something before his game started. I decided to go and check out A-Chau which has been on my “to visit” list for quite awhile.
A-Chau is located within one of the craptastic little strip malls on El Cajon Blvd. I made a bad decision and backed up a different way out of my parking spot only to get stuck and blocked in from a large delivery truck and a car who was being loaded up with groceries. I couldn’t back out, either, as cars kept driving in so I just had to sit and wait for awhile until I could get out. I got a few bad looks like I should have known better. I didn’t.
I went in early on a Saturday morning and the place was already bustling. There was a hot line of already prepped foods ready to go and to the left of this was the drink station.
All the reviews on Yelp insisted on getting egg rolls for your belly. I asked for the egg rolls with the crinky crazy rice paper wrapper, not the “smooth” egg rolls which use a different kind of wrapper (research told me the other wrapper is wheat based). I’m not sure of the price on these suckers since my receipt didn’t list out the prices but Yelpers say they are $.55 cents each.
These were surprisingly good for something that had been hanging around under a heat lamp! The outer skin was crispy with a slight chew to it. The rice paper wrapper makes it all crinkly and extra crunchy and they were just a tad on the oily side, but I still loved them. They were filled with pork and veggies and I can only imagine how great they’d taste hot and fresh. Pretty darn good, I must say! I was going to save an egg roll for Jake but then I “accidentally” ate the second one… oops. Maybe next time I can ask for them to fry the egg rolls up fresh for me but the guy working the counter kind of gave me a “just order already” look so I didn’t bother to ask.
[vietnamese iced milk coffee]
One of my favorite coffee beverages is Vietnamese Iced Milk Coffee. It’s espresso with condensed milk mixed together which creates a lovely extra strong, milky sweet drink. I love it! The version here at A-Chau tasted even stronger than the one I usually get at Cali Baguette Express. Still loved it, though I’m always sad that the drink disappears so fast and feels like you’re having a glass full of ice with a tiny bit of coffee.
[pork meatball banh mi / $3.95]
I wasn’t sure which sandwich to order and decided on the Pork Meatball Sandwich.
The banh mi comes with cilantro, onions, those pickled vegetables (which I removed), daikon and loads of pork slices. I was pretty excited to see the addition of onion since most of the other banh mi didn’t have it (and I love raw onions on my sandwiches). The bread was excellent – slightly thick on the top, crunchy, and soft on the inside. The pork meatball slices were delicious, tender, and flavorful – really tasty! I only managed to eat half of it and saved the rest of it for Jake.
I’ll definitely be back to try out more of their sandwiches to see which one I like the best (and to get more egg rolls, of course). Other sandwiches I spied were ham, pork meat loaf, shredded pork, chicken, char-broiled pork, char-broiled meatball, meat loaf + pate, shredded pork + meat loaf, “nem”, and a ham combo. They also sell the rice vermicelli (bun) dishes, rice plates, spring rolls and I’m sure a few other things I didn’t notice.
Menlo Plaza Shopping Center
4644 El Cajon Blvd #111
San Diego, CA 92115