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Jan 9, 2002 04:58 PM

NEW "Saigon Sandwich"

  • j

One of the wonderful ladies who has run/managed Saigon Sandwich on Larkin st since the days it first opened years ago has taken the leap and opened her own place, she's owner/boss, down the block at 426 Larkin St at Golden Gate. It's called Vietnam Sandwiches and/or New Vietnam Sandwiches ,this is only her third day and it's all handmade signs on the front window. She's even dropped the prices back and is selling the Xui Mai , roughly translated as Meatball Pork , for $1.75. I realize this is a matter of taste/choice but this is their/her speciality sandwich , kind of a vietnamese sloppy joe. If all you've tried is the chicken or roast pork give it a go. And all sandwiches come with a free glass of hot tea if you eat there. Five or six seats and it looks like room to add more as she gets organized. She'd be estatic to see famaliar faces, or new faces for that matter, and the vietnamese for "congradulations" is roughly "Juk Moon". And tell her you saw it on the internet, I told her I'd do my part to help get the word out.

While I'm promoting people , next door at 448 Larkin St , PHU HUONG , The Pink Flamingo, is owned and run by a mother and daughter who make a wonderfully mellow Hot and Sour Prawn Soup for $4.50 and they'll throw in a free side bowl of rice or rice noodles if requested. It's a LARGE bowl of soup and I always dump one of them in. Really nice people and a GREAT soup.

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  1. thanks so much for the tip, i've always wanted to try that place out. Now, i'll try this new store!

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I work in the neighborhood and usually end up around Larkin/Golden Gate/Turk for lunch. In fact, I had the vegetarian hot and sour soup at Phu Huong Monday (a change from the seafood noodle I usually have) and it was disappointingly neither hot nor sour. It was just like the free appetizer soup they give at Golden House around the corner, which made me think it came out of a can. I will try the hot and sour prawn now, though. And a sandwich from Vietnam Sandwich, of course :)

      Thanks again.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Millicent

        I hope you'll tell us about some of your favorites in the neighborhood. There are so many that look interesting and we've hardly heard about any of them.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          You want favorites? I always liked the combo rice plate at Pacific Restaurant (kitty corner to Saigon Sandwiches). It has an imperial roll, shredded BBQ pork, and 5-spice chicken with "broken" white rice. Tab: about $5.50

          1. re: Random1

            Thanks for the tip! Tried the pho? Is Pacific Restaurant open for dinner too? I've noticed that a number of the restaurants in that area are not, or hours are erratic at best.

      2. Just a note of caution I should have included about ordering sandwiches if you're new to these places. Unless you've been weined on Jalopeanos or have a polyp or growth you need removed it's safest to order "with everything but peppers". These do my taste buds in and everything else is lost. But, then again maybe I'm just a wimp.

        1. I'm all for supporting any alumna of Saigon Sandwich, but we have nothing against the original, do we? I mean, I wouldn't want them to die now if we all defect...

          2 Replies
          1. re: heidipie

            I"m hoping there's enough to go around for everyone. I've now got three restaurants in about a block where they wave to me when I walk by , I'm going to have to start wearing disguises otherwise I'm going to be putting on weight. I can't eat three meals everytime I walk down Larkin. And no , nothing against Saigon, I've been eating there for over 15 years, probably longer. But right now I'm probably going to throw most of my buisness to Vietnamese Sandwiches to help her get started. In fact my going there yesterday happened after I walked past Saigon as the line was tooooo long to wait for. Point taken.

            1. re: heidipie

              Saigon Sandwiches always had a line out the door, so I'm sure they won't be hurtingf too much from a new store.

            2. I decided to support the new business and just popped in. I got a few things: the vietnamese sloppy joe sandwich, the BBQ chicken sandwich, and one bun with the little "eggrolls". And I did opt for everything including the peppers.

              The vietnamese sloppy joe, aka the meatball pork on the menu, was delicious. I liked it much better than the BBQ chicken. It had a nice soft texture but there were still hunks of meatball here and there. And I just love that hot pepper kick! My only wish was that the bread was crunchier. At Saigon, the bread crust shatters all over the place when you bite into it and personally, I quite enjoy that.

              What I really enjoyed though were the egg rolls that came with the bun. Perhaps these rolls were not goi cuon but whatever they were, they rocked! I liked the crunchy lacy exterior as opposed to the customary egg roll wrapper. The exterior looked like shredded wheat and it made me wonder if it wasn't actually fried taro. If so, WOW! It was not greasy at all and was an excellent conduit for the noc cham dipping sauce as the sauce was able to fill in all the nooks and crannies left by the lacy exterior of the wrapper.

              Also, the proprietor was so sweet. Very helpful and friendly. It was a very nice lunch. Thanks a lot for the recommendation!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Tida
                Rochelle McCune

                Excellent report! I have friends that work around Civic Center that complain about lack of good lunch food but now they have two versions of Saigon Sandwiches and I have NONE!

                1. re: Tida

                  Tida, I stopped by this morning before 8am and was happy to see that the new entrepreneur is the same sweet woman I was used to dealing with at SS. I wished her good luck and ordered one meatball sandwich for breakfast and a pork combo to have for lunch later. Normally, I would be with you on preferring the extra crackly shattering crust on the bread, but I'm wearing a black sweater today and appreciated the crumb control of this crust. The other advantage, as I've noted before, is that these sandwiches hold up much better if you're not eating them immediately. The ones from SS turn to mush after an hour or so.

                  The meatball was tasty and had more filling than other siu mai sandwiches I've gotten elsewhere. Likewise the pork combo was well stuffed with good quality char siu, pate' and steamed pork roll.

                  Regarding the jalapenos, your Thai genes are showing. (g) I order with the peppers, then remove about half of them before consuming. Enough of the juice has been absorbed to give me the amount of kick I need.

                  I also tried a dessert, a clear plastic cup of coconut tapioca pudding with chunks of ripe banana. Yum!

                  Again, the address for Vietnam Sandwiches is 426 Larkin at Golden Gate in SF. The weekday hours are 6:30am to 6:30pm, Saturday 6:30am to 6:00pm, and Sunday 7:00am to 5:00pm.