Another day, another lunch. Working in Sunnyvale has definitely had its lunchtime limitations, but when I looked hard enough, there was definitely greatness to be found. Asian food has proven itself as the area’s strong suit so it was almost unsurprising that there’s a real, legit, banh mi-slinging hole-in-the-wall in Sunnyvale. This shop, called Cam Hung, is located in an extremely nondescript strip mall parking lot much like every other decent eatery in Sunnyvale and would be next to impossible to spot if you weren’t intentionally seeking it out. It’s literally not visible from the street and has almost no signage to catch the eyes of passerbys so its a little amazing that they get traffic.
But, people seem to have found it — I assume through a combination of word-of-mouth and Yelp. When I’ve visited this tiny non-air conditioned shop, it’s almost always completely jam-packed with both local Vietnamese families and banh mi-starved tech workers alike. But, despite the mass of people and inevitable lines, the staff behind the counter work at a feverish pace to put out those quality sandwiches at an impressive clip. Even with a 15 person line, we all had our sandwiches in hand in under five minutes.
But, the real challenge comes after we all have already received our food — finding a place to eat it. The next step of the process often requires us to hover around the already full tables, eagle-eyeing each one for a few minutes until we have the opportunity to pounce as soon as one is vacated. It’s a slightly unnerving dining experience, but you could always take your sandwiches to-go or eat them in the parking lot like we’ve done on occasion.
But, the annoyance is worth it. For my lunch, I usually go with the #4a, a traditional banh mi known as Thit Heo Nuong filled with BBQ pork and other common sandwich fillings. Value-wise, this big hero sandwich is a steal at only $3.75. And, most impressively, the part that most places usually flop on — the bread — is where they succeed the strongest. The texture of the baguette is exactly as it should be, soft and fluffy on the inside, flaky and crusty on the outside.
The sandwich comes fully loaded with all of the usual accouterments like shredded carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, sliced jalapeños, and a thick swipe of mayo along with a thick breakfast sausage-like patty of ground pork. The meat is always super-tender and flavorful and pairs well with of the fresh, crisp veggies — though I frequently doctor it up with a bit of sriracha and hoisin for an extra flavor boost.
All in all, they make really good Vietnamese sandwiches that can stand toe to toe with the best banh mi sandwiches in San Francisco. So, if you’re trapped in Sunnyvale and are looking for an excellent, cheap, and filling lunch spot, add Cam Hung to the list. All of their offering are dirt cheap and those banh mi sandwiches are always so damn good.
Got another great spot for cheap eats in Silicon Valley? Let me know in the comments below.
903 Reed Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086