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bahn mi for party

We are having a birthday party picnic for our son. Actually, he is turning one, so this party is really for our friends! I was thinking that a big pile of bahn mi would be fun for a main dish. We would be looking for a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches. Any suggestions of shops that could do this? We have about 30 people coming and are trying to keep prices low. I don't need catering--we can pick it up. We live in the Sunset.

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  1. I don't want to be too discouraging, but I've done this before and the sandwiches suffer when they sit. What tastes so delicious freshly made is not so great cold and messy to boot. A good alternative may be to get fresh shrimp or vegetarian rolls or any of those interesting lunch trays that you can get at almost any Vietnamese deli (insert your favorite). They're about the same price as a sandwich and you can likely get a discount if you buy in bulk.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rubadubgdub

      Very true. The bread for a bahn mi is soft and breaks down sitting. Many sandwiches do this.

      Any way, the place on Clement at 5th is very good. Maybe you can ask them to provide all the set-ups but not make the sandwiches. (might not work)

      1. re: rubadubgdub

        That's true, I'm sure. I'll look into the other options! Thanks.

      2. Although not the best bahn mi Lee's Sandwhiches seems capable of fairly high volume. Other then that I would suggest you just ask your favorite place. As long as you give them enough warning I would guess they'd be happy to put together a couple dozen sandwhiches.

        I actually like old Bahn Mi the same way I like leftover pizza - while there's no argument that it suffers from sitting around somehow it can still really satisfy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: boris_qd

          I've gotten large orders at Lee's on Larkin a few times. While they're better eaten fresh, they were still quite tasty. The only one that isn't good is the meatball, it gets soggy. The combination and the grilled chicken were great. Some friends just ordered a bunch of sandwiches from the new place on Clement and 5th(Bunn Mi?) for a 40th birthday. They were good too. Especially the 5 spice chicken.

        2. The Doc Loi Kitchen has some pretty good bánh mì for $5 each. They have a vegi, tofu, mushroom one on the menu, too.

          I ordered the BBQ Lemongrass Chicken and Mr. scarmoza had the Authentic Vietnamese. We both liked the BBQ Lemongrass Chicken best - very flavorful.

          They were much larger than the ones we usually buy at Pacific Super (no vegetarian) . You might find a lot of people sharing or saving for later as we did.

          1 Reply
          1. re: scarmoza

            Duc Loi Kitchen
            2200 Mission St
            San Francisco, CA 94110
            (415) 551-1772

          2. I was at Saigon Sandwich on Larkin a few weeks ago and someone picked up a to-go order of 30 sandwiches. I personally think banh mi hold up well, but I always have them hold the mayo. For $5, it seems like great, low-cost party food.

            3 Replies
            1. re: TerriL

              At Saigon Sandwich they're only $3.50.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                You're right, it's an even better deal than I remembered.

              2. re: TerriL

                When I go to Saigon Sandwich, I always buy a couple to eat later in the week. They hold up fine and I usually get meatball. They heat up great in the microwave.

              3. One of my friends always buys hers deconstructed and puts the sandwich together when she's ready to eat. She brought a few dozen to us with all the components packed separately, then we assembled them ourselves.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  If I'm not eating them right away, I always request my banh mi order have the veggies packed separately. The place I go to doesn't mind, as it's actually a little less work for them during the assembly process. The reduction in moisture keeps the bread "crunchier", which should help the OP's cause.......

                  1. re: Eugene Park

                    Good idea, a happy medium solution rather than assembling the whole thing. Also, the veggies can be kept cold, as one of the charms of bahn mi is to bite through the (re)warmed bread to the cold and crunchy pickles inside.

                2. If you don't want to make a long trek, irving cafe and deli makes decent sandwiches. I think if you eat them on the same day, they should be fine. You can also pick up vietnamese desserts and cha gio. For the vegetarians, freshly fried felafel can be had at sunrise deli nearby.

                  1. Saigon Sandwich is using bread from Lee across the street, and finishing them/reheating them in their shop.

                    I've saved half a sandwich from Saigon Sandwich to eat later in the day, and it held up fine. A couple times, the sandwich was even better after the flavors had really married. The only issue is, the sandwiches are usually just warm enough when you get them, and cool quickly. Reheating would be tricky. I wouldn't try to assemble these at home either - too many ingredients.

                    For the Sunset, Little Vietnam Cafe is a close option, and their sandwiches seem to have thicker bread (though they might use Lee's too) and are usually dryer, less drippy. I've also left part of a sandwich for later in the day there, and it was good cold.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: sugartoof

                      When did they switch to Lee's bread? My last time there was maybe a year ago and I don't remember it being the longer, thinner Lee's baguette at that time.

                      1. re: drewskiSF

                        I was there the first week of the month. It surprised me too, but the bags were marked.

                        No change in taste from what I could tell so maybe it's been Lee's for a while? Shape was a little different (wider), but I might not have noticed had I not seen the bag. Only two women were running the whole shop instead of the normal assembly line I'm used to seeing. I started scrutinizing little details (like the bread bag) for signs they might have sold, but I think it's more likely they've been using Lee's for a while.

                        1. re: drewskiSF

                          That must be new. In 2010, I spotted them using bread from Bakers of Paris or Paris Bakery or something to that effect. They were also using Wilsey Mayonnaise.