Thursday, December 07, 2006

Are You Talkin' to Bánh Mì?

I described this sandwich to Cranky the other day as a "salad sandwich." It was made from excellent barbecued pork, marinated daikon, carrots, cucumber and cilantro. And a tiny smear of something mayonnaisey. On a shatteringly crisp, tender roll.
Well. According to Wikipedia, the bánh mì is, in fact, a Vietnamese translation of the French "salad sandwich." (Remember those pan bagnats on the beach in Nice?)
Upon reading more about this delicious snack, I realized I've only scratched the surface. I don't think I've ever tried one that wasn't made from barbecued pork, but there are so many other combos to try: chicken, egg, even vegetarian.
So I've got some 'splorin' to do.
But I was so, so happy with my sandwich the other day. Cranky picked it up on a whim on his way home from a trip to The City (which is a pretentious way Bay Areans describe San Francisco). The shop was called Them Ky, on Ellis Street, if you're local and so inclined.
I declare it the Best Sandwich Ever.
Oh. And it was only $2.50.
Unheard of.

20 comments:

Dagny said...

I am not a huge fan of sandwiches but that one looks delicious. Actually I take that back. I am not a fan of low quality sandwiches. I had my first sandwich in quite some time from Specialty's on Tuesday. The Cobb. Mmmm.

johng said...

I can't begin to tell you the name of it, but there's a place in Oakland's Chinatown area, just a couple blocks from the Alameda tubes - that sells incredibly good Banh Mi. At least I think they're incredibly good, as I haven't had the chance to compare them with any others.

Mags said...

Ohmahgah. The Cobb from Specialty's is so, so, so good. So is their PB/Banana/Wheat Germ sandwich. Man, I miss working downtown.

I also heard those Banh Mi sandwiches totally rock. I haven't had the chance to have one yet. And I want one. Right now.

Stacie said...

ok, I don't know what makes me laugh/cry harder, Areatha Franklin or your spin on the infamos Taxi Driver line! Gaw! And only $2.50 for the Best Sandwhich Ever! It's a steal!!!

Sam said...

You can get Bahn Mi in San Rafael too. Ok, I don't think they are the best but they are perfectly acceptable and it's a cute little place and the lady who runs it is really sweet. I always ask for extra hot because otherwise they are shy on the chili pepper.

johng said...

For some reason Sam's reply reminds me that you can get a pretty good, cheap, Franco-Viet sandwich at a joint called BaLe on Palani Drive in Kona, HI. With the magnolia tree out back half bent over in the wind, and the rain visible on the horizon, that sounds awfully good about now.

Anonymous said...

I've also had the sandwich from Oakland chinatown, though I don't remember the exact location of the shop. I remember the exact wonderfulness of the sandwich however, and the pickled vegetables and the incredible price $2.50. There is always a line out the door of this place, and it moves very quickly so there's no question about whether to wait or not. I was also fascinated by the glass-fronted cooler with dozens of desserty looking things in wild colors.

Jennifer Jeffrey said...

I've been reading about Banh Mi sandwiches for... oh, years... but have never tried one. Now I have to.

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: I'd never heard of Specialty's until you mentioned it, and now Mags endorses your endorsement. Good.

Johng: Oh, thanks! Very helpful! ;-P

Mags: So try one!

Stacie: I'm just a cheap-ass punster.

Sam: Thanks for that! My first thought on reading your review was that the sandwich costs a whole buck more... But, duh, I save $4 in bridge tolls! Your picture is lovely, BTW. (Everybody go look.)

JohnG: I will meet you there.

Moonbear: Now I'm hungry again. Oh. It's lunchtime.

Thy Tran said...

Banh means "cake" while mi refers to wheat flour, to distinguish this sandwich bread from many other banh--Vietnamese cakes, breads and noodles made from other types of flours.

cookiecrumb said...

Thank you, Thy! I just learned my first two words of Vietnamese.
"Cake" and "wheat flour." Makes perfect sense.

Kevin said...

CC,
Best sandwich ever my ass. You come here ad I'll serve you sandwiches that'll make you cry. And we'll start with a basic grilled cheese using 2-year-old Grafton cheddar on fresh sour-cream white bread. You can help with the baking -- we'll be doing a lot of it.

cookiecrumb said...

Kevin: I *want* to cry! Cookiecrumb's been a bad girl, discipline me!!
:)
Seriously, you don't want me baking.
But I love that your first sandwich is grilled cheese. Isn't that just about everyone's first sandwich?

Kevin said...

CC,
"Seriously, you don't want me baking."

I'll be here. It will be completely safe.

"But I love that your first sandwich is grilled cheese."

Hot bread, butter, and cheese. Perfectly simple, and yet, with the right ingredients, it's one of the most supremely good sandwiches on earth.

After that we'd have to move on to a couple of paninis, then a mufaletta, a Cubano, Pan Bagna, a perfect hamburger. We'd delve into variations on your Bahn Mi. And, of course, at some point we'd have to invent some new sandwiches.

Allison said...

Mmmmm Banh Mi is sooooo good! We go to Lee's Sandwiches which is about a 5 minute walk from my apartment... they have such good (and very inexpensive) Banh Mi! Yum!

cookiecrumb said...

Allison: On Larkin! Home to so many banh mi shops. I hadn't realized Lee's Sandwiches was a chain until I Googled it just now.

Freudian Slip said...

Oh that picture has me quite entrigued! I love it when "salad" type meals are made into other forms like this. Eat up!
Matt

cookiecrumb said...

Hey Matt: Yeah, doesn't it almost look like a tube of food?

Mastermind said...

JUUUUUUUUUMY...JUUUMER ,It's better Vietnamese Sandwich if you try @ Toronto,Canada.It called The Original Banh Mi Factory. Lee's good,but no comparation to its.

Mastermind said...

The Original Banh Mi Factory is located @ 1325 Finch Avenue,West
corner of Keele and Finch
North York,Ontario.