Thursday, September 13, 2012

hipster sandwich

I will wager anyone a sandwich that in any major city in north America, you can get a banh mi for less than the cost of one subway ride.  At the same time, in many cities we also have chefs trying to fancy up humble yet tasty snacks or quick meals originated from the foreign streets and charge a lot more, and banh mi has not been spared.

This place called Banh Mi Boys opened maybe 6 months to 1 year ago just a few blocks south of Chinatown, serving nontraditional banh mi style sandwiches filled with duck confit, korean short ribs, pork belly etc ($5.99 - 7.49).  I heard there is usually a line out of the door during lunch hours, but I have not tried it until today (no line at 2 pm).  I got the one with Korean short ribs and kimchi, and I asked for it spicy.   While the sandwich was well constructed and the boneless short rib was flavorful and fairly tender, there were not much kimchi in it, and what pickled vegetable it did have provided no boost nor balance to the deal.  And if this was supposed to be spicy, I wouldn't have guessed it.  The carrots / dikon that came on top pretty much were just raw, they gave you some crunch, but they are nothing like the marinated tart/salty shreds that ride along the traditional sandwiches a couple of blocks north.  The lightly toasted bun was a nice touch though that you won't typically get from the $2 banh mi.

In the end, I just don't see how this is in any way 3 times better than the sandwich you get from the gruff Vietnamese ladies up the street, different yes, but nothing special.

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