Tag Archives: banh

The “Banh Mia” Sandwich

Last night The Cake Dealer put together the most incredible sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life. A successful combination of Vietnamese and Italian cuisines – a “Vietalian” banh mi sandwich that she called the “Banh Mia” sandwich.

Mortadella, prosciutto, pickled carrots, pickled daikon, fresh cucumbers, cilantro, mayo, maggi sauce, sri racha sauce, and nduja on a baguette. If this isn’t a thing, it will be soon – mark my words. She would have lines down the block if she opened up a sub shop with these.

I was pushing for Italian bread to make the circle complete, but the French baguette is a very important part of Vietnamese banh mi, so it had to stay.

We had actually seen something similar before, in Philly, but more along the sausage route.

Although we didn’t try that sausage and pepper banh mi, I think my wife’s is better and actually makes more sense as fusion cuisine for the following reasons: (1) the mortadella is similar to the bologna and head cheese; (2) the prosciutto is similar to the ham, and (3) the nduja is similar to the pate – which are all used in the classic, traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.

Cafe Thanh Truc

My wife and I strolled by this place and picked up a classic sub. It was fantastic, though a bit smaller than I am used to seeing up here in NYC. But for $4.50, it was worth every penny.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it to share, but I did get a shot of the outside.

This was in Philly, by the way, near Pat’s & Geno’s. As such, they had a Vietalian version of banh mi that featured Italian sausage:

Didn’t try it.

CAFE THANH TRUC
1037 S 8th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Paris Sandwich

My wife and I stopped in this little joint to sample some sandwiches. Over the last week I’ve put away six or seven different banh mi sandwiches, and this place served up the best of the lot.

DSC01899

DSC01900

We went with the classic bologna and pate banh mi, as well as the grilled pork. The bread was softer and less flakey than most baguettes, but it was still crisp and delicious.

DSC01907WM

The meats were delicious, and packed well with abundance. The grilled pork had hints of lemongrass, and the pork roll and pate sandwich had great texture. At $5 each, this place is a steal.

PARIS SANDWICH
213 Grand St
New York, NY 10013

Banh Mi Saigon

This no-frills Vietnamese sandwich joint is pretty legit.

DSC01901

DSC01902

They even have the jewelry case in the front of the restaurant as you walk in, which seems to be a somewhat common occurrence in NYC Vietnamese sub shops.

DSC01903

The banh mi were packed with meat. We tried both the classic bologna pate and the chicken. Of the two, my favorite was the chicken. It was nicely marinated in herbs and spices like lemongrass, and the meat was soft and flavorful. The pickled veggies were shredded and remained crunchy, though the cucumbers should have been cut down a bit thinner, with the skin removed.

DSC01912WM

The bread was super crispy, tearing the roof of my mouth up, but such is the life of a banh mi fanatic.

BANH MI SAIGON
198 Grand St
New York, NY 10013

Sau Voi Corp

This little corner Vietnamese bodega was a staple spot for me and my wife when we lived nearby.

SV outside

They sell everything from Vietnamese variety show VCDs to music CDs, over the counter meds to dry goods and trinkets.

SV inside

But they also sell banh mi sandwiches.

SV menu

I grabbed two on my way home from jury duty, which brought me back into my old stomping grounds.

The classic: ham, pate and slices of pork roll with pickled veggies, cilantro, mayo and sri racha.

The spicy BBQ pork: BBQ pork with pickled veggies, cilantro, mayo, BBQ sauce and sri racha.

DSC01789 SV

DSC01792 SV

DSC01795 SV

Both were really tasty and flavorful. The bread here is likely made early in the morning. When I arrived it was still being kept warm in a toaster oven type thing, but it may have dried out a bit in the hours it was there. The French bread was crispy and flaky, so much so that the roof of your mouth gets raped pretty hard, but the sandwich flavors make it worth the pain. These sandwiches are pretty solid for a cheap Chinatown deli shop. Stop in if you’re nearby.

SAU VOI CORP.
101 Lafayette St #3
New York, NY 10013

Pho Vietnam

This little spot is currently my new favorite Vietnamese food joint. It’s nice and clean inside, new-looking, and the food is really tasty. My wife and I tried a few items as a base level test run to decide if we would come back.

The pho: very flavorful, a good size, fresh ingredients. In fact they keep a jar of sliced jalapeños right there on the table next to the chopsticks, spoons, napkins, hoisin and sri racha.

10614106_849496208395279_158762914839165298_n

DSC08927

DSC08929

The banh mi sandwich: nice and traditional, great bread, lots of filling and at least a foot long.

10646713_849496331728600_5271414693836447832_n

10592932_849496285061938_6079937170504908279_n

Next, one of my wife’s favorites: banh cuon. Really good quality shit here. Nicely cooked noodles, ample filling inside, and good slices meats and herbs.

10394610_849496168395283_547949306200932849_n

Last was my noodle dish that had cut up spring rolls and sliced lemongrass BBQ pork chop on top. Simple and delicious.

10678687_849496261728607_6918652307674833246_n

We will definitely be coming back for more. Sit tight until then, when I can supplement the review with more deliciousness.

Okay so here’s the update as of 2/7/15:

Unfortunately this trip was not as good as the last. The avocado shake was less avocado-et, the banh cuon had grainy noodles.

pho vietnam banh cuon

The other two dishes we ordered contained meat that was a bit chewy.

I grabbed the bun bo hue, wanting to sample the more authentic flavors of this dish as opposed to the more fusion style of Obao.

pho vietnam menu

For $7.50 you get a shitload of food. The bowl is huge:

pho vietnam bun bo hue 2

The unfortunate thing about my order, however, was that the noodles were too soft (perhaps overcooked) and most of the meat was very chewy. For a stewed type dish I was hopping for softer meats.

pho vietnam bun bo hue

I had the same issue with the pork casserole, or clay pot pork. The meat was pretty chewy, but the flavor was good.

pho vietnam pork

DSC08934

Egg rolls are decent.

DSC08932

The avocado shake was not as sweet or rich/flavorful as other times I’ve had it:

DSC08930

But my wife had a decent cup of Vietnamese coffee:

DSC08926_2

PHO VIETNAM
87 Chrystie St.
New York, NY 10002

CoBa 53

NOTE: THIS JOINT IS NOW CLOSED

My wife and I came to this joint to try some of the Vietnamese basics. We started with some drinks. I had “33,” which is a beer from Vietnam, and my wife had a lemonade mixed drink.

DSC02912

The first staple item to order is the spring rolls. These were not a hit for us. They were a little bland.

DSC02915

Next, the banh mi sandwich. This had good flavor, but the bread was all wrong (it needs to be a French baguette), and it needed more pate and another layer of meats to really fill it out. I would have liked some more slices of jalepenos and also less cilantro stems and more leaves.

DSC02918

DSC02920

The next big item to get is the pho. I liked the broth. It needed just a slight more oomph, but otherwise it was pretty enjoyable. It had sliced eye round as well as brisket. I added beef balls for an extra $2.

DSC02926

DSC02927

This next items isn’t necessarily a staple item to order, but my wife and I are fond of clay pot dishes. We got the pork belly version and it was really great. It was packed with lots of great porky and fatty meat, a boiled egg, fried tofu, squash and lemongrass.

DSC02923

For dessert we had the coconut lemongrass ice cream. It was a little gummy in texture, but otherwise was an interesting flavor.

DSC02930

Here’s the Willy:

DSC02932

COBA 53
401 W. 53rd St.
New York, NY 10019

Cha Pas

Cha Pas is a pretty good little mostly-Vietnamese restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. They serve up some pretty good food here, but the prices reflect a place that is not like the downtown joints. This is more expensive. For some dishes, it’s worth it, but for others, not so much. That said, everything I’ve had here is very good. I’ve tried the banh mi, the pho, the Vietnamese chicken wings, the clay pot pork belly, and the chicken curry. No real disappointments to speak of, and the Vietnamese coffee is very good. They also have some more difficult to find Southeast Asian beers as well, and a really cool painted, exposed brick wall on the inside.

20140223_162109_LLS

20140223_162004_LLS

20140223_160554_LLS

20140223_161804_LLS

20140223_161224_LLS

beef pho chapas

chicken pho chapas

salad chapas

spring roll chapas

CHA PAS
314 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019