Lotus & Light (Burbank) - Vietnamese taste, American price

This place is so good I have to break it out of the SFV thread. It’s in my opinion the best in its class in the 818 - meaning moderately higher class, has an alcohol selection, and costs more.

Everything I’ve had has been authentic (banh mi, com suon, bun), or at least tastes authentic even though it isn’t (Bangkok rolls). I especially appreciate that the banh mi is using OG French rolls and not baguettes. For any complaints about price, I just reflect on the fact that I spent $95 yesterday at Langer’s on 3 sandwiches, 1 fries, and 2 soft drinks.

Pork banh mi and a Kawaba snow weizen is $16 + t/t

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You had me at

Yeah I’m gonna be a lunch time regular for that reason.

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Ns1 handy cheat guide

Things I would recommend to my mom

  • pork banh mi
  • porkchops and rice
  • braised pork belly and egg over rice
  • beef pho (any, but the dac biet is a lot better than the filet imo)
  • wings
  • fried tofu
  • papaya salad
  • ice blended coconut

Things I would not recommend to my mom:

  • Spring rolls
  • Nem nuong
  • Hainan chicken
  • Bun thit nuong
  • chicken pho

Things I would not recommend to my mom but I would eat anyway because Little Saigon / 626 is far

  • Bangkok rolls

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Damn that’s a quite a beer menu for a Viet place!! Lol

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Best beer selection I have EVER seen at a Vietnamese joint.

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Went for lunch the other day after a nice morning picking up some plants at the Theodore Payne Foundation. We started with the summer rolls, then got the banh mi with charbroiled beef, the pho chay (vegetarian pho), filet mignon basil chili over rice, and the charbroiled beef over vermicelli. I tried the summer rolls, the pho, and the filet mignon basil chili (this is a different item on the menu from bun thit nuong fyi and I was steered to it by the waiter).

The peanut sauce for the rolls was pleasantly spicy. I almost never get vegetarian pho, but the broth was actually really really good. I might order it more often if it all tasted like that. The filet mignon basil chili was just the right level of fire. Overall, I was quite pleased, and the people I was with reported that the banh mi was especially good. If I were in the area a lot, I’d definitely give it a look.

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I can vouch for the look of the banh mi at L&L. They are both brimming with delicious proteins. I’ve had a couple of coworkers order them for lunch and when it arrived, they all commented on the sheer size of the banh mi alone…so big they weren’t sure how to attack it. What’s normal to see a Lee’s, Top Baguette, Tip Top, et. al., is likely 3-4 times more at L&L. I took a look at the cross-section when they sliced it in half and it is properly filled with mayo/aioli, pate, pickled vegetables, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno slices and a generous helping of your choice of protein. It looked so good that I might try it next time I find myself there.

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Tried the tilapia letttuce wraps today. Fine if you’re a pescatarian but a far cry from a cha ca Thanh long prep. I think the biggest takeaway for me was the fact that they have at least 4 different fish sauces in the back. This one was SUPER dank and birds eye chili’s galore. I love spice and I was sweating by the end - a true surprise for the area.

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That fish looks super plain. But 4 fish sauces sounds amazing!

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like I said, a far cry from cha ca thanh long…

but with the inclusion of this particular fish sauce I didn’t mind because it was so jam packed with flavor and spice.

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The upgrade in utensils alone is sort of worth the higher price tag.

is this the “bangkok noodle roll”? is it their version of banh cuon?

Yes and no - this would be closer to “pho cuon” - the fillings/taste/eating experience is that of banh cuon, just with much thicker rice paper, similar to the rice paper you would find at kbbq.

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