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Best Vietnamese Sandwich.....

misti Dec 22, 2006 01:01 AM

I found a place on Larkin street with great vietnamese sandwiches.

Saigon Sandwich Shop
560 Larkin St Cross Street: Eddy Street

Does anyone else have a favorite. Or a place I just have to try?

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  1. f
    fistalee RE: misti Dec 22, 2006 01:39 AM

    There's a pretty thorough report on the best of the Banh Mi in SF and beyond somewhere on the board. A search should come up with it.

    Myself, I used to really love Saigon Sandwich, but have found them lacking the past few times I've been. I've switched over to Baguette Express, on Larkin just a couple blocks up from Saigon. Although, recently I've been subjected to some really fatty pork in their sandwiches. Like....strips of it. Somewhat less than appetizing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fistalee
      Pei RE: fistalee Dec 22, 2006 01:44 AM

      I'll second the vote for Baguette Express. I also love that in the summer they have fresh sugar cane juice.

      1. re: fistalee
        Carb Lover RE: fistalee Dec 22, 2006 03:37 AM

        You must be referring to P. Punko's "mother of all banh mi" post:

      2. Melanie Wong RE: misti Dec 22, 2006 06:18 AM

        Driving up Larkin yesterday it looked like the new branch of Lee's was set to open, if it hasn't already. It's across the alley from Turtle Tower. Will be interesting to see how the balance of banh mi power in the neighborhood changes.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong
          alpinelight RE: Melanie Wong May 25, 2007 05:04 PM

          Based on 30 seconds of observation while walking around today, Saigon Sandwich still drawing a big line at lunch time, while Lee's seems to be taking business from Baguette Express.

          Which is unfortunate, since I don't think Lee's is as good. My #5 roast pork sandwich today managed to be simultaneously a little greasy and a little dry. Not horrible, and as always good value for the money, but would recommend walking across the way to Baguette Express.

          1. re: alpinelight
            P. Punko RE: alpinelight May 25, 2007 09:59 PM

            I like the fact that Baguette Express' bread is extra toasty, soft and crusty at the same time. I've only been to a Lee's twice and I thought the sammies were a little dry. Lee's does have a wider selection than many places, so I need to work up to all the different kinds.

            1. re: P. Punko
              alpinelight RE: P. Punko May 31, 2007 02:29 PM

              Exactly. Went there today to refresh my memory. The baguette was great, and the inside of the sandwich was pretty decent - which means that it averaged out to really good.

              (But not to the point where my head exploded from the sheer amazingness of it, which is what one might expect from some of the print reviews in the past...)

              I mean, I love baguettes in general, and toasting can make a decent baguette seem absolutely fabulous - thin, crispy exterior just starting to flake off in spots, and warm, soft inside... honestly, maybe I didn't want banh mi. Maybe I just wanted a toasted baguette.

          2. re: Melanie Wong
            kinipela RE: Melanie Wong May 25, 2007 10:37 PM

            are the lee's delis in downtown sf the same as the lee's sandwiches that sell the banh mi (like the ones in sj?)

            1. re: kinipela
              Gary Soup RE: kinipela May 25, 2007 11:02 PM

              No connection.

              1. re: Gary Soup
                kinipela RE: Gary Soup May 25, 2007 11:04 PM

                ahhhh very very very good to know.... thanks! wasn't really a fan of lee's delis (sf), but i like lee's sandwiches (sj), so i was really perplexed for the longest time...

          3. ccbweb RE: misti May 25, 2007 06:16 PM

            I am not at all an expert, nor even very well educated yet, on what makes a great Bahn Mi (or even what constitutes what one would term a Bahn Mi). But, on Irving at around 6th Ave in the Sunset is a place called "Lime Tree" that has a wonderful spicy grilled pork sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and a sauce. They serve it on a pita type bread or on baguette. Its a darned tasty sandwich for $5 however authentic it may or may not be.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ccbweb
              P. Punko RE: ccbweb May 25, 2007 09:57 PM

              In this case, I think for sammies under five bucks, you should go for what you like- what you describe sounds pretty good, although not quite a banh mi. Yelp says Lime Tree is pan asian, and it sounds like they have a very wide variety of things- their website doesn't seem to load, but here's the Yelp link.


              1. re: P. Punko
                ccbweb RE: P. Punko May 25, 2007 11:44 PM

                Yeah, I'm a fan of a few of their dishes and especially the sandwich, mostly because its tasty and will keep for ages (ie, I can take it back to my office and eat it an hour later and its still good).

            2. tacos RE: misti May 26, 2007 05:33 PM

              you're right. Saigon Sandwiches is the best.
              but be careful. one time I was parked on that block and opened my car door just to have it torn off by a passing MUNI bus. But the sandwiches are so good there, I keep going back anyway.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tacos
                cwujd1 RE: tacos May 27, 2007 10:15 PM

                This has been mentioned here before, but Wrap Delight downhill on Larkin from the aforementioned Lee's, Baguette Express and Saigon may have the best banh mi of all. The friendly woman who runs it made sandwiches at Saigon for years. I especially like their chicken.

              2. m
                misspiggy RE: misti May 31, 2007 03:18 PM

                I must also recommend Baguette Express. The bread has a great aroma to it and is toasty on the outside yet nice and soft on the inside. My fav is with the grilled pork but I hear the #1 special is also very good for those who like the pate stuff. This place is definitely better then the LEEs Sandwich chain and Saigon Sandwich. Its also just up the street. They also do very well if you need a lot of sandwiches for a picnic. Bought 30 of them two weekends ago and they stamped all the different sandwiches and bagged it very nicely.

                1 Reply
                1. re: misspiggy
                  P. Punko RE: misspiggy May 31, 2007 08:40 PM

                  So I refreshed my memory a couple days ago hitting both Lee's and Baguette Express in the Tenderloin.

                  BE=as toasty as usual and a lot of carrot and daikon- a substantial sandwich.

                  Lee's= not toasty, on a 10 inch section of a long, thinner width french baguette. Here was the deal- Lee's was super clean and fast and very efficient, but the bread is softer, not a lot of crust and has a bready sweetness that seems almost more like soft Italian bread (without a hint of salt) than a tasty french bread. Less carrot and daikon, but the meats were fine. I really love Vietnamese sandwiches from anywhere, but these Lee's tasted different than the Lee's I've had in San Jose. They are a step down from Baguette Express. Sometimes I like having sandwiches from more than one place no matter what, ad Lee's does have Bubble Tea and smoothies, and of course the Vietnamese deli.

                  I would compare the bread at this Lee's to the bread at King Egg Roll (see link below for comparison). And Baguette Express was more filling.

                  Mother of all Banh mi posts

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