I was over in Oakland a few days ago, driving around looking at houses and thinking about food. Being as it was more or less lunchtime, eating a Vietnamese sandwich seemed like the right thing to do.
When it comes to banh mi, Oakland has lots of credible options, but I wasn’t into cruising for a parking space and/or walking 5 blocks after finding one – so I opted not to head into Chinatown proper, but instead stayed in the less-crowded New Chinatown neighborhood. Besides, I was thinking that I would just grab something and go over to the lake (Lake Merritt, that is) and have a little private picnic.
The obvious choice, then, was Than Thuy which, unlike all the other Vietnamese sandwich shops I know of in Oakland, has its own little parking lot out front.
Than Thuy is toward the northern end of New Chinatown in a somewhat seedy little strip mall. It has a handful of tables outside, which are usually occupied by a handful of Vietnamese guys who always seem to be smoking up a storm.
The menu is the usual selection of sandwiches, as well as some noodle dishes. Prices are reasonable at around $2.75 per sandwich.
If you’re in the mood, you can sit at the counter and check your Lotto numbers, or chose one of the small inside tables, but instead I got mine to go.
I thought seriously about going for a fish cake sandwich, but instead opted for the grilled beef.
Than Thuy’s Vietnamese sandwiches might not be the best anywhere, but they are very good – the rolls seem fresh and the meat and veggies are tasty. Overall, a great value.
Lake Merritt is just a few blocks away, so I headed over there, parked my car and spent 15 minutes or so enjoying my lunch and watching the world go by.