« Analog: Long Expired Kodak Royal-X Pan | Main | Montreal: 7 years later »

Lunch: Banh Mi Saigon


Even though I still have five days left before our trip to Asia starts, my mind has been 8,000 miles away for days. It's pretty much all I can think about.

Yesterday, my mental wandering took me on a trip far out of my usual bounds down to Chinatown to get a Vietnamese sandwich from Banh Mi Saigon, one of the old favorites in the banh mi craze. I'd never been there, but happened upon it a few nights ago and decided I had to return. Having rated first place in the Midtown Lunch Banh mi-palooza in the spring was definitely a good enough reference for me. Read on for the porky goodness.

_MG_0564 - Version 2

Apparently this location is relatively new, having opened in the spring or early summer. Before you get to the main country, you pass a jewelry country. This was a little weird. After I got my food, the lady who took my order went over to the counter and and assisted a salesperson in describing the selling points of the white gold. I didn't check it out, but I suppose shopping for bling at the sandwich shop has its benefits for some.

_MG_0519 - Version 2

I have Vietnamese sandwiches just infrequently enough that I pretty much only ever get the 'classic' pork sandwich, as I did here. One day, I want to check out some of the other sandwiches, but I like to start with a solid baseline my first time. Maybe next time I'll try the meatballs.

If you've somehow missed out on the wonderfullness that is banh mi, the traditional version includes slices of ham, pork pate, pickles veggies and cilantro on a freshly baked baguette.

_MG_0563 - Version 2

It's the crumbly pork that really makes it for me. It's sweet and chunky and gets into every bite.

I asked for it spicy,but after a few bites without getting much heat, I almost got up to reach for the sriracha. Thankfully, I waited as another bite in I reached the long slivers of what must have been a jalapeƱo that left me sweating in moments.

I'm not so much of a penny pincher (as evidenced by my pricey lunch at The John Dory a couple days ago), but I have to say that the fact that the sandwich and a tall can of coconut water only cost me $5.50 is pretty amazing to me. I always knew the places uptown were more expensive, but the value here is really great.

I don't get around Chinatown much. Between the crowds and the distance, I'm only down there when I need to source some ingredients that I can't find at H Mart. That needs to change. Walking down Grand Street, I saw one Vietnamese place after another, and that's not even beginning to consider all the Chinese places with fried delights hanging in the window like at New Kien Tuong just a few blocks away. Given all that, I'm going to have to start making the longer lunch trip more often - or maybe just start shopping more in the area on the weekends. Either way, I need more of this.

Two weeks from now I'll be in the real Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and I hope to be stuffing my face with even more of these delicious sandwiches. Once I get back, I know I'm going to need Vietnamese food more often and of better quality than the meager offerings I've found in midtown.

Banh Mi Saigon, 198 Grand St, Chinatown, NYC. 212.941.1541

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from ultraclay!. Make your own badge here.
Bookmark and Share
Add to Technorati Favorites