Posted by: Orlick | July 12, 2010

Judy Ruminates… Banh Mi Saigon – Vietnamese in Lower Manhattan

Here’s Judy’s review of Banh Mi Saigon. She reviewed the shop before they moved, so there may be some architectural inaccuracies, but otherwise should be valid Vietnamese cuisine opinions. I believe it used to be inside jewelry store, so that only added to the lore. Personally, I’m still looking to fall in love with the sandwich. There’s gotta be a luscious one somewhere. Something like this would be good.
— Jeffrey Tastes

Banh Mi Saigon
Categories: Vietnamese
Neighborhood: Little Italy
138 Mott St 198 Grand St.
New York, NY 10013

I decided to trek to the northern realm of Chinatown in search of banh mi rumored to be better than Sau Voi’s. I got there a little past 1:30 thinking it was late enough to guarantee a shorter line. Think again. I forgot the cardinal rule – tourists don’t care that it’s your lunch time. When I say tourists, you know who I’m talking about. Those folks with cameras slung over their necks, looking quite timid among the Asian customers in this shop.

I like that they have seating against the wall since it was going to be awhile before my number was going to be called. I was given #41 and they were only up to #20 when I placed my order. I watched the guy next to me consume his banh mi ravenously. You can see without being told that the bench was not put there for customers to eat their sandwiches in house- it’s way too crowded for that- but he ignored all the signals and was in his own world of happy consumption. I marveled at his enthusiasm and it gave me hope that I would be just as rapturous soon enough.

After 20 minutes, my number came up and I got my pork banh mi to go. I brought it back to the office and realized that the pork was fried and crunchy and kinda sweet? This became an involved meal, demanding lots of chewing on the pork and the bread, and due to its hefty size, even more chewing to be had. At the end of it, my jaws were tired and I was ready to take a nap. Isn’t banh mi supposed to be a light meal? This one is a whole different animal. I’ll come back to try the other flavors, but if I want a plain one, I’m sticking to the one at Sau Voi. —Judy Ruminates

Links:
Feisty Foodie weighs in
What is Banh Mi? wiki
$3 banh mi in North Carolina. Looks the same.
Great looking banh mi in Little Saigon, California

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