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Bon Me Food Truck

Mike5966 May 15, 2011 01:44 PM

Just tried the banh mi at the relatively new Bon Me food truck today while at SOWA. Had the regular roast pork banh mi and it was pretty good. My favorite banh mi in town is still the one at Pho Viet at Super 88 in Allston, but this one was also pretty good if a little pricier ($6).

The Bon Me version sandwich is standard size with a crackly and light baguette, and had a nice carrot/daikon slaw, a nice mayo sauce, and good overall balance. Despite it not being spicy enough for my personal tastes, nor the roast pork being as savory as the one at Pho Viet, it was still pretty good and I didn't mind paying an extra $2.50 for the convenience of having banh mi available in a food truck close by. They were plenty busy and service is efficient. They take credit cards with those cool iPhone attachments.

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  1. Beachowolfe RE: Mike5966 May 15, 2011 04:25 PM

    I found the Bon Me to be much larger than normal. Maybe this is a memory lapse.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Beachowolfe
      jgg13 RE: Beachowolfe May 15, 2011 09:23 PM

      It definitely is larger. Maybe the extra size is why it takes them about 5x as long to assemble one as the places in chinatown? I kid, I kid.

    2. davis_sq_pro RE: Mike5966 May 26, 2011 10:46 AM

      I tried this truck today at Government Center. Had the roast pork sandwich, the "Deviled" Tea Egg, and a Vietnamese iced coffee.

      Sandwich: Larger than a typical banh mi (not large enough to justify over double the normal price). Bread, quite nice -- on the soft side, which I prefer so that it doesn't tear up my mouth too much. Meat, quite tender. Slaw and mayo, decent -- not flavorful enough. No cilantro, no fish sauce, little (if any) pate flavor. Overall, not nearly enough punch, even after I doused it with sriracha. As my dining companion mentioned, "this tastes like white people tried to make an Asian sandwich." Indeed.

      Egg: Halved hardboiled egg that had been marinated in tea, topped with a dollop of spicy mayo. Tasty, but basically just an egg and some mayo.

      Coffee: Nice and strong, with some condensed milk at the bottom of the cup. Best thing I tried.

      All in all, given the location and convenience factor I'd make a return trip, but I think that most of the offerings in chinatown are superior.

      Anyone try the sandwiches at the neighboring Momogoose truck?

      13 Replies
      1. re: davis_sq_pro
        MC Slim JB RE: davis_sq_pro May 26, 2011 10:58 AM

        No cilantro? I had a bunch of their banh mi, both before and after my Phoenix review, and never ran into that.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        1. re: MC Slim JB
          davis_sq_pro RE: MC Slim JB May 26, 2011 11:29 AM

          Never ran into a lack of cilantro, or the presence of cilantro? I just verified and no one in my group had any.

          1. re: davis_sq_pro
            MC Slim JB RE: davis_sq_pro May 26, 2011 12:11 PM

            I have never had a Bon Me sandwich that didn't include at least a couple of big sprigs of fresh cilantro. Its omission is a serious error in a banh mi, in my book.

            Maybe it was just an oversight, but if they simply ran out and did not tell you, that would not be cool.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            -----
            Bon Me
            Mobile truck; no formal address, Boston, MA

            1. re: davis_sq_pro
              jgg13 RE: davis_sq_pro May 26, 2011 01:46 PM

              I haven't gone in a few weeks but I've always had cilantro in my Bon Me sandwiches. I do agree that it tastes like white people wanted to make a banh mi though. Also agree on the bread, I prefer banh mi bread to be on the slightly softer side for the same reason.

              I don't really understand why the prices are double and the waits are about 5x as long for those sandwiches compared to banh mi joints in chinatown.

              -----
              Bon Me
              Mobile truck; no formal address, Boston, MA

              1. re: jgg13
                MC Slim JB RE: jgg13 May 26, 2011 04:13 PM

                I understand the price difference: slightly bigger sandwich, premium associated with location. Lots of people are still afraid of Chinatown.

                The slow service issue is a bigger issue, one I think will bite them in the long term if they don't improve. I understand a wait at peak hours, but they're slow even when there's no line.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                1. re: MC Slim JB
                  jgg13 RE: MC Slim JB May 26, 2011 05:21 PM

                  The wait is what bugs me more than the price. The wait goes a long way in closing the time differential for my journey. The extra price doesn't help. Don't get me wrong, I like it but they do annoy me with their slowness.

                  Another minor complaint, I wish they'd fully wrap the sandwiches or something. You can ask for a bag, but it throws them for a loop and is more than necessary. If I'm going back to the office (more likely a month ago than now, as that's typically a colder day), I don't really want to be trapsing around with a half uncovered sandwich in my hand.

                  1. re: jgg13
                    MC Slim JB RE: jgg13 May 26, 2011 08:40 PM

                    It's a bit puzzling, because they clearly have done some homework in trying to approximate the flavors of a traditional bahn mi in their product. But it sure doesn't look like anyone on Bon Me's staff has witnessed first-hand the blur of arms that turns out a beautiful sandwich in under a minute at Mei Sum, or the eminently efficient assembly line process on display at Ba Le Bakery, which they have the headcount in the truck to emulate.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    -----
                    Ba Le Bakery
                    1025 Dorchester Avenue, Boston, MA

                    Bon Me
                    Mobile truck; no formal address, Boston, MA

          2. re: davis_sq_pro
            Bob Dobalina RE: davis_sq_pro May 27, 2011 07:23 AM

            When I have ordered from that truck, they have asked me what I wanted on the sandwich, and I had to specify I wanted it spicy and I wanted the works. So maybe something like that went down...

            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              MC Slim JB RE: Bob Dobalina May 27, 2011 10:30 AM

              This development is confusing. All I've ever specified is "double spicy" (for both the spicy mayo and fresh chilies). I've never had to say, "Be sure to include everything else, too."

              The menu is explicit in describing the ingredients of the basic sandwich: "baguette, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro, red onion, housemade mayo, housemade pate."

              If memory serves, there's a little handmade paper sign at the counter that says, "Ask if you want spicy mayo and/or fresh jalapenos", or words to that effect.

              Now that I think about it, I might also specify "extra pâté" next time.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                davis_sq_pro RE: MC Slim JB May 27, 2011 12:42 PM

                Double-spicy, triple pâté, extra cilantro sounds quite nice to me :-)

                I wouldn't mind a dash of fish sauce too, but I guess that's not in the cards.

                1. re: davis_sq_pro
                  galangatron RE: davis_sq_pro May 31, 2011 09:50 PM

                  i asked for "extra pate" and "extra spicy" and it still wasn't enough

                2. re: MC Slim JB
                  jgg13 RE: MC Slim JB May 27, 2011 02:58 PM

                  They tweeted a couple of weeks ago that they made their spicy mayo the default, so presumably now you just tell them you want jalapenos. I haven't been there since that tweet.

              2. re: davis_sq_pro
                d
                devilham RE: davis_sq_pro May 27, 2011 01:47 PM

                I have had the one from Momogoose and thought it was pretty good....it was a dollar cheaper, had all the right ingredients, and was made super quick, like done before I finished paying! The only thing I can say to detract is that they put a spear of cucumber in it that is just too big for my tastes....a little too much cucmber flavor and texture for my book, but not a show stopper by any means.

              3. k
                kimfair1 RE: Mike5966 May 27, 2011 08:30 PM

                My wife had one yesterday and I asked her if it had cilantro, and she said she didn't notice any.

                1. Mike5966 RE: Mike5966 Jun 1, 2011 08:46 AM

                  I definitely noticed cilantro but the amount of pate was nearly undetectable. I would have also liked it with more heat but the first and only time I went, I just asked for the sandwich without any special modifiers. And on second thought, I kinda didn't like the big huge cucumber spear down the middle. Still pretty tasty overall, though. Would really like it if they could get a brown crust on the pork instead of it looking like it came out of a water bath.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Mike5966
                    a
                    astrid RE: Mike5966 Jun 2, 2011 03:24 PM

                    I have a complaint. They need to rethink their tofu preparation -- the tofu is too soft and the pieces are too small. By the time I've carried my sandwich back to the office, more than half the tofu has slipped out of the sandiwch and is piling up in a messy heap at the bottom of the bag. This is a problem because (i) of the mess and (ii) it takes away from the taste of the sandwich. This could be fixed if the pieces were larger (and in order for this to happen, the tofu must be firmer). Ba Le addresses the tofu problem by using large chunks of cold fried tofu, which do not have the flavor of having been sauteed with shiitakes but never fall out of the sandwich and have a pleasing texture. Someone needs to fix this problem.

                    -----
                    Ba Le Cafe
                    1449 Dorchester Avenue, Boston, MA

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