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Aug 21, 2007 10:30 AM

Bahn mi or summer rolls in Chinatown

Co-workers and I keep talking about taking the short walk over to Chinatown for some lunchtime goodness. The only problem is that we're overwhelmed by the choices, so we just don't go. Can anyone recommend a good place to stop in for lunch take-out? Also, what's good for pho these days? Not a fan of Pho Pastuer's -- I think it has too much five-spice or anise or something. Used to love the place on the corner of Wash. and Kneeland (dirty, yes and long gone).

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      1. re: Dax

        Much of that post is devoted to the Chinatown Eatery (that upstairs food court-like place, right?) -- I used to go there when I was downtown but thought it had closed. Am I mistaken?

          1. re: gini

            Man, I loved that place - used to get the best spicy chicken & broccoli dishes at one of the stalls there... sigh...

      2. Joy Pirate's list is pretty exhaustive, even if a few of those places are no longer in business. Specific to your inquiry: Mei Sum has awesome banh mi and Xihn Xihn has great pho. Sometimes they'll gringo you on the herbs though, so you gotta speak up!

        4 Replies
        1. re: gini

          I am currently digesting a banh mi from Mei Sum, and you are correct: even though I asked for it spicy, it barely made a dent in my spicy-sensors. Good sandwich though. Mmmm pork.

          1. re: Alcachofa

            If the sweet gap-toothed Vietnamese woman is still there, she'll recognize you soon, and give you "very spicy!"

          2. re: gini

            Question re: Mei Sum. I went down there, didn't see a menu of any kind, and ended up with what in San Francisco was referred to as 'fancy pork,' which is so totally not what I was looking for. Even with the rubbery, bologna-like 'fancy pork,' this banh mi beat the pants off the other Chinatown banh mi options. The question is--what do I need to do to find out what my options are?

            1. re: jkv

              There are only three. The fancy pork, is usually referred to here as the 'dac biet', daily special...It's the coldcut and pate mix. there is barbecue beef, but ask for it without the sauce, which rumour has it, is too sweet. And there's tofu, my option. While there, get some shrimp or beef rolls,(cheng fun?), the rice flour tortilla...wonderful.

          3. Just went to Pho Hoa yesterday - I had pho tai and my dining companion had pho ga. Both were very satisfying with just the right amount of spices for my taste. The summer rolls with bbq pork were good, but not the best I've had.

            1. Xinh Xinh for anything Vietnamese (except sandwiches). I love that place.