Lee’s Bakery has been hard to find for me. I usually drive up and down Buford, stopping where the CDC has a branch office. It always seemed to me to be the end of all the ethnic stores in the area. Finally, this time, I drove past and kept going south, and I finally found Lee’s Bakery in a strip mall on the left hand side, near a Chevron. Interestingly, there was also a branch of Co’m Vietnamese Grill in the same strip mall.

I came here because Lee’s Bakery is always the store by which Quoc Huong is compared. It’s one of the best known banh mi sources in the city.  And they do have banh mi. $2.50 a sandwich to go, $3.00 on site. They also have some interesting soups, and the crab noodle soup was the one I ordered. The banh mi came first.

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Number 4, grilled pork banh mi (excellent!)

Eating that sandwich was one of two WOW banh mi moments I’ve had. The first was my first Quoc Huong sandwich. And other, later Quoc Huong sandwiches never were quite the same, never matched the freshness of the bread of the original. This sandwich just has good warm bread, warm tasty meat, good balance in its vegetables and then you get hit by a dose of heat and spice. Short version: the sandwich was excellent.

The crab noodle soup had a surprise waiting for me, even though it looks awesome.

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Number 6, crab noodle soup

It’s made using fish sauce (good links on fish sauce are here and here). I hadn’t had any dishes made from fish sauce before, that I was aware of, but you could smell it in this dish. The crab is ground fine and then made into small rounded masses about the size of the end of my big finger. You have to hunt for them through the dish. And of course, the soup has good taste. When I mentioned the scent to my waiter, he replied, “Smells kind of fishy, huh?”

Service, if I haven’t said, was extremely good.

Verdict: Considered a banh mi haven and it is surely that. Other interesting ethnic dishes abound. Highly Recommended.

4005 Buford Highway Suite C
Atlanta, GA 30345
(404) 728-1008

Lee's Bakery on Urbanspoon

One of the more intriguing chapters in Mark Kurlansky’s excellent book “Salt: A World History” was chapter four, which discusses the development of the Roman fish sauce garum, and the independent development of fish sauce in Asia, almost certainly beginning in Vietnam.

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