A warm, cozy Vietnamese Food Shop in Chinatown

In the midst of a cold winter afternoon, it was a delightful change to step out from it and entered into a warm cozy Vietnamese food shop on College St. at Chinatown.

The shop formerly known as Rainbow, now under new management and a new name, Jenny Mai’s Fast Food welcomed me with the sound of hot sizzling oil as an elderly woman gently drops in the fresh dough balls into the fryer.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any original photos due to my cellphone’s sudden lost of power, so I’m going to be using mostly photos taken from previous visitors, and my own words to narrate.

Packaged food up front and ready for the hungry customers.
Photo Credit: T.M.
Packaged food up front and ready for the hungry customers.


As I entered further into the shop, I’ve became aware of the packages of food (shrimp and thinly sliced pork spring rolls, sweet sponge cakes, noddle rolls, and Vietnamese noddle salads, to name a few items) are sitting up in front of the counter – all packed and ready to go – for hungry customers who simply wants to pick up, pay, and have their take out meals at their own preferred location.

As I browsed about the shop momentarily, a middle aged Vietnamese woman behind the counter smiled at me as I walked about the shop. She asked politely in English what I like to have today.

In response, I answered I would need a few moments to decide on the order.

After I answered her, I noticed the elderly woman, the same one deep frying the dough balls, was now at the kitchen grill preparing a dish for another customer who’s been waiting at the side of the front counter.

Photo Credit: Jose C. The BBQ Sandwich kicked up with hot sauce.
Photo Credit: Jose C.
The BBQ Sandwich kicked up with some hot sauce.

As the dish became more developed and brought towards the front counter, the customer walked up to the Vietnamese woman, picked up and paid for her order of a special Vietnamese combo sandwich or a Bánh mì combo stuffed with slices of grill pork and cold cut pork and grounded up pork meat, chopped up with chilled and preserved orange and white carrots strips, fresh cilantro, slices of jalapenos, and two long strips of fresh cucumbers, and spread with mayo inside a mid-size toasty French baguette bun..

Seeing how delicious the sandwich was presented, before it was wrapped and rolled into a parchment paper, I arrived at the decision to order the same dish.

Fresh fried sesame balls ready for eating.
Photo Credit: Tea F.
Fresh fried sesame balls made ready for eating.

As the elderly woman took the order at hand, and developed my meal in a similar fashion as with the previous customer’s, she handed her design over to the middle aged woman, who automatically punches in the numbers and rings up the order as she calls to me for pick up. We exchange our gifts, and depart to return back to our paths: her behind the counter, and me returning to the cold afternoon air in Chinatown.

Next post will be on Thursday, Jan. 10 as we leave Chinatown and head over to Downtown L.A. at the Last Bookstore where Zzyzx Writerz are holding their “Three Hours Tour” anthology book launch party! The party will be on Sunday, Jan. 6th from 3pm – 5pm. There will be live entertainment, refreshments, and an opportunity to meet and greet the Zzyzx Writerz and myself. Come and join in all the excitement and activities; see you there!


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