Bahn mi yum!
Yesterday, lashed with wind and rain, I gave up my usual good-lunch treks in favor of a quick pre-made sandwich from Java City. Blech! $5.50 for a skimpy, bland cheese sandwich on dried-out baguette...
Today, with the sun out and my appetite whetted by all those taco-truck postings, I headed up to Saigon Sandwich. It was jammed, as usual, but in just a few minutes I had my own warm, neatly wrapped chicken sandwich--warm, crisp-crusted roll soaked inside with chicken juices and stuffed with moist shredded carrots, onions, cilantro,jalapenos, and lots of savory chopped chicken redolent of five-spice powder, plus that ineffable slightly sweet, slightly tangy vinaigrette (no mayo for me.) YUM--and all for a whopping $2.25. Very curious about the various unlabeled pastel-colored jellies/puddings in the cooler--but I hate coconut, and figured that most would be coconut-based.(True?) On my way back, I stopped in at Vietnam Sandwiches, just to case the joint, and ran into Pointybird and Juniper, on their own lunchtime bahn mi run.
Yes, I had been wondering about those alluring desserts myself. The problem is that they are unlabeled and often the staff is unable to communicate well in English.
However, at Vietnamese Sandwiches, they are all labeled. The very friendly woman who owns the store was more than happy to explain to me how much coconut was in the desserts. In my case, I wanted maximum coconut! I tried the 3 to a package leaf wrapped rice flour and coconut dessert. There is a similar dessert with sweet bean, I believe. Good luck in your discovery!
Banh you, bahn mi: Vietnam Sandwiches were pretty much the same quality as at Saigon. I think they toast the bread longer at Saigon. The sandwich menu is more extensive at Vietnam -- including egg, tuna and veggie-only. INN-teresting. My baseline, the BBQ pork, was tender and flavorful.
I haven't tried the puddings, but if you like banana, look for the Saran-wrapped yellow burrito-looking dealie near the cash register at both sandwich shops. It's a banana-sticky rice roll, quite sweet, no coconut, most tasty.