Monday, July 4, 2011
I've been going to my favorite banh mi place in Oakland since high school. Until now, I haven't been able to find a place quite like it in New York. Of course in West LA you can drive an hour east or an hour south and find delicious Vietnamese sandwiches in either direction. But with my first visit to Banh Mi Saigon, I finally found a place I can return to regularly.
In a very Vietnamese fashion, Banh Mi Saigon shares its store space with a jewelry shop. The owners are well aware that the sandwiches are the main draw so they make you walk past display cases of jade necklaces and gold bracelets to get to the banh mi. I wonder how effective that is? It seems unlikely to me that a $5 sandwich order would turn into a $200 jewelry purchase.
While the sandwiches are not as cheap as they are in places with a vibrant Vietnamese population and low rent, you can still get a Banh Mi Saigon signature sandwich with grilled pork, pate, pickled daikon and carrot, and cilantro (spicy or not, up to you) for less than $5.
I like my banh mi a little sweet, with an abundance of sweet pickles. The buttered toast is also a nice addition. And of course, you need a flaky, fresh baguette for the proper sandwich. The banh mi here hit all those marks.
Banh Mi Saigon
198 Grand St
(between Mulberry St & Mott St)
Little Italy/Chinatown, NY 10013