Excellent Banh Mi in St. Petersburg
I'm a tad obsessed with the Vietnamese sandwich, Banh Mi. Have had excellent Banh Mi in NYC and Toronto, but not much around Tampa Bay - until now.
A little place on U.S. 19 called Thuy Cafe is serving up myriad kinds of freshly made Banh Mi, which if you aren't familiar is served on french bread and made with cilantro, cucumber, shredded carrot, shredded daikon radish, spicy peppers (in this case, sliced jalapenos instead of Thai), some sort of secret sauce, along with meat. It hits so many flavor notes it's amazing.
The classic Banh Mi has pate and Vietnamese ham, but other ingredients include grilled pork, meat balls and chicken. I've been to Thuy Cafe twice now, and both times they have been pretty empty, so I hope people start going so it stays open! It's a pretty slick looking place, just a couple of tables and some couches and coffee tables, so it's more like a coffee house atmosphere (with a flat screen TV that was showing a Beyonce concert video, go figure). The menu has two items - Banh Mi and BoBa tea. So at least it's not confusing! And it's cheap: $3.50 for a sandwich, though that's expensive by Banh Mi standards - which usually go for about $2. Still a bargain, though.
5944 34th St N # 22, Saint Petersburg, FL 33714-1257
I believe Thuy Cafe has been open for some time, although they recently moved from a smaller space in the same shopping center to the new one. I pass by it all the time and finally stopped in about two weeks ago for my first Banh Mi ever.
I ordered the roasted pork and I'm hooked. I wasn't expecting so much heat from the peppers, so next time I'll take those off (a litle juice can soak in from the peppers, but I just can't eat them.)
I want to go back and order several different types of sandwiches to try them out. Anyone have suggestions? The meatball one sounds interesting.