Thursday, May 1, 2008

More than just Pho apparently...

The indignant commenter response to an Ezra Klien post lamenting sandwich options in D.C., surprisingly introduced me to a piece of Vietnamese cuisine that I had never heard of (and I eat a lot of Pho):

Meet the Bánh mì, which The Globe, describing the offerings of New Saigon of Chinatown (Boston), characterizes as:
The banh mi roll looks like an undistinguished supermarket baguette, a side split bun, something straight out of the toaster at Quiznos. It's slathered with sweet, slightly garlicky mayonnaise and stuffed with your choice of fillings, which include Vietnamese ham, head cheese and pate, shredded pork, curry chicken, tofu. Then it's topped with matchsticks of pickled carrot and daikon, whole sprigs of fresh cilantro, and cucumber spears. If you say you want it spicy, you won't be disappointed. You'll get thinly sliced jalapenos or small red bird chilies with the seeds intact. After a drizzle of fish sauce or soy sauce, the cook slips the sandwich into a small paper bag, then into a larger paper bag. All yours, amazingly, for about the price of a hot dog.

Interestingly, it appears that the reason I have never encountered this sandwich is because pho and bánh mì don't often mix... I guess you mainly get a little sandwich shop or a full blown pho restaurant, and not often both. (Pho Viet in Supper 88 being the notable Boston middle ground apparently)

Sadly there does not appear to be any Cambridge bánh mì shops that I can find, but we're always looking for an excuse to drive over to Allston for Super 88 and filling baskets full of interesting things whose labels we can't read... now we can make a point to get sammiches too. Not to mention that with the weather getting warmer, a trip to Chinatown for bánh mì followed by a meal and walk in the Common is an attractive idea.

Consider it another food project.

(Photo used under a Creative Commons license by flickr user roboppy)