Cleavers and a sandwich
But I wanted something heavier to cut crab and lobster shells, chicken bones and spare ribs more easily. At Action Sales, a cookware supplier on Atlantic Boulevard, not far from the intersection of Atlantic and Garvey, I found what I was looking for, a handsome, indestructible cleaver made in Hong Kong. It's called Kow-Kong No. 1 and it's a beauty for $42, something I'll have all my life.
While there, I also picked up a thin-bladed cleaver for thin-slicing pork belly or anything else. That one's the Song No. 2 and it's just $27.
These are both serious cooking implements, to be used with care and caution.
Afterward, I headed across the street to the newish branch of Mr. Baguette for a Saigon-style sandwich on their own freshly baked baguette. (The original is in Rosemead; there's also a brand new branch in El Monte.) I like the traditional Vietnamese sandwiches, such as the "Special" piled with thinly sliced housemade pâté, ham, head cheese and their own pork meat loaf for $2.85. But you can also get more familiar sandwiches — roast beef, ham, tuna or turkey breast, say, with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and American cheese. They're all made to order and, needless to say, a bargain. (For more banh mi shops, see Amy Scattergood's story in this week's Food section.)
Action Sales, Food Service Equipment & Supplies, 415 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park. (626) 308-1988, (800) 328-6688. Mr. Baguette, 400 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park. (626) 282-9966. Classic sandwiches, $2.45 to $4.45; contemporary sandwiches, $4.15 to $4.55. Open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photo of heavy Chinese cleaver (Kow-Kong No. 1) by S. Irene Virbila