Tag Archives: banh mi

KILLER Poboys

Killer Poboys
Erin Rose Bar
811 Conti St
New Orleans, LA 70112
Neighborhood: French Quarter

When I think of po’ boys, I think of lots of fried seafood and lettuce in a soft, crusty bread. It’s not my favorite. I need more flavor than mayo and fried seafood. G.B. still feels that way but only because he didn’t go with us to Killer Poboys. After much research on the Internet, I found that Killer Poboys offers some of the best poboys in French Quarter district. To get to Killer Poboys, you have to enter Erin Rose bar and weave through the drunken Nola crowd to the back. There is a room in the back decorated with all kinds of lights and signs reserved for the po’boy craftsmen.

The two men in the kitchen were both very large, jacked, and looked like they would have each owned a Harley or something. Watching them cook was very interesting. They treated their ingredients very delicately (see photo of one of them measuring pork belly on a scale).

LAW and I shared one as a snack before dinner. We got the Coriander Lime Gulf Shrimp Poboy (market price that day was $12 – expensive). The shrimp was some of the freshest I’ve had and was marinated in strong cajun-like spices and grilled to perfection. It had a nice smoky flavor and was so tender, sweet, and juicy. Delicious. Continue reading KILLER Poboys

Sao Mai, perfect for a healthy winter meal.

Sao Mai
203 1st Ave
(between 13th St & 12th St)
New York, NY 10003

These nights have been cold. Normally on a cold winter night, I’ll crave something hot and hearty. But the heaviness of Thanksgiving dinner (with some leftovers still in the fridge, like J.W.’s shepherd’s pie which I had for lunch two days in a row…) has made me crave hot foods that are light. How many of those can you think of?


Vietnamese food is overall one of the healthier cuisines. It uses more natural herbs for flavoring and tends to use water or broth over oil. Pho is the perfect combination of hot and light. A bowl of pho consists of rice noodles in a beef broth made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, ginger, and other spices. Compared to other noodle soups, pho is definitely a much lighter option. The rice noodles are almost airy and compensate by being great soup sponges. The soup is flavorful but still clear, allowing you to drink up every last drop without feeling sick (this also depends on how much MSG the restaurant uses). Continue reading Sao Mai, perfect for a healthy winter meal.

Bao Noodles – most underrated restaurant I’ve been to!

Bao Noodles
391 2nd Ave
(between 23rd St & 22nd St)
New York, NY 10010

Most underrated restaurant I have ever been to. I came here over a year ago and it was empty. I came here again on Sunday after watching a movie in the area and it was again, empty. I didn’t remember my experience from the first time, meaning it couldn’t have been too bad. I was hesitant to go since it was literally empty but we were all starving and just wanted something edible at this point. They have a $9.99 lunch special for an entree and drink, we figured we might as well just eat here. And I’m so glad we did because lunch turned out to be amazing.


We all chose to have Vietnamese coffee over any of the alcoholic beverage options. I expected a pre-mixed sweet coffee beverage but was so happy to see this drip coffee contraption with condensed milk at the bottom. The coffee was strong but not bitter. The roasted flavor of the coffee beans just subtly came through the sweet condensed milk. So good.

Continue reading Bao Noodles – most underrated restaurant I’ve been to!

Num Pang

Num Pang
21 E 12th St
(between 5th Ave & University Pl)
New York, NY 10003

 

That thing up there looks like a banh mi, tastes kind of like a banh mi, but isn’t a banh mi.  Banh Mis are Vietnamese sandwiches that I often get because they taste so damn good and are so damn cheap (see Banh Mi Saigon).  Num Pang is a Cambodian sandwich shop that sells Cambodian sandwiches (duh), which include all the traditional banh mi ingredients such as cucumbers, pickled carrots, cilantro, and baguette.  Cambodia and Vietnam are neighbors so it makes sense that there would be similar foods but what exactly is the difference?  Both Num Pang and Banh Mi mean “bread” in their respective languages.  I googled “Cambodian sandwich” and “Banh Mi vs. Cambodian Sandwich” and “Num Pang” and all the possible combinations in between and could not find anything to help me clearly draw the line between the two types of sandwiches.  Other than the fact that Num Pang sandwiches ($8.00) are on average priced double what banh mis ($4.00) are normally priced at, I can’t seem to figure it out.  Anyone able to help me differentiate?

Ah, whatever.  Onto the food!  Pictured here is the Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly sandwich.   It is one of their “seasonal” specials so I suggest you go and grab one soon before they rotate to something else!  If you like pork, especially tasty fatty pork, I can’t imagine you would feel anything else other than pure love for this sandwich.  The pork belly was tender, juicy, and almost a little crispy on the edges from the glaze.  Like all great pork dishes, it tasted slightly sweet.  This flavor was heightened from the sweet and slightly tart slice of Asian pear that came with the sandwich.  Yes, the sandwich is overall a bit small as the bread only measures about half a foot.  Though you end up getting about half a foot of pork belly, making the bread to substance ratio 1:1.  The bread is also from Parisi Bakery, meaning it was super high quality.  It made that amazing crunch sound that good bread makes after each bite. Continue reading Num Pang

Banh Mi Saigon, the best banh mi in Manhattan?

  

Banh Mi Saigon
198 Grand St
(between Mulberry St & Mott St)
New York, NY 10013

I posted about banh mi’s a bit ago in my Xe May Sandwich Shop post so you can read the earlier post for more details about the historic Viet-French sandwich.  I mentioned at the end of the post that though Xe May is great, Banh Mi Saigon is slightly better.  Well, after going back to Banh Mi Saigon recently, I decided that I was a fool and that Banh Mi Saigon trumps Xe May by far.

Banh Mi Saigon is a small Vietnamese restaurant bordering Chinatown and Little Italy.  It’s interestingly enough run by Cantonese (southern Chinese) people.  I couldn’t tell you if this has affected the sandwich’s authenticity because I have never been to Vietnam and tried a “real” one* nor do I have Vietnamese friends** who can vouch for it (always welcome to introductions!) but I do know that it is an amazing sandwich shop.  When you walk into the sandwich shop, there are two rows of long tables along each side of the wall and a jeweler who sells Asian jade bracelets and necklaces and such (see top left).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone buy anything there so wonder if it is wasted real estate… perhaps if they converted it to a mini bubble tea seller…  As you continue to walk into this rectangular shaped shop, you approach the cashier and the open kitchen.  Stacks of freshly made baguettes are under the spotlight at a cutting station (see top right, center of photo).  Service is quick and friendly.

A classic banh mi includes fillings such as pork, spreadable pork liver pate, cilantro, pickled and shredded carrots and daikon, chili sauce and homemade mayonnaise.  The essential tastes of a good banh mi need to include a little bit of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and spiciness.  In the US, the chili sauce is often replaced with jalepeno peppers, a type of pepper they do not have in Vietnam.

Pictured above is what Banh Mi Saigon calls “BBQ Pork Banh Mi,” which includes a sweet and salty pork that is crispy on the edges, some kind of ham, pork liver pate, cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, and jalepenos.  The bread at this shop is amazing.  It makes that nice bread sound when you squeeze it.  Because they make their bread at this shop and are always busy, the bread is always freshly baked.

Pictured above is my favorite sandwich to get at Banh Mi Saigon.  They replace the BBQ pork, ham, and pate with juicy, hyper-tender meatballs.  These meatballs are definitely some of the best I’ve had (better than The Meatball Shop though I have friends who don’t think the two can be compared since this one is “Asian”).

Continue reading Banh Mi Saigon, the best banh mi in Manhattan?

Xe May Sandwich Shop: The Hog

Xe May Sandwich Shop
96 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009

 

Banh Mi is a gastronomic example of French colonialism in Vietnam.  The sandwich uses French and Vietnamese ingredients, combined to produce a delectable East-meets-West concoction.  The Hog is a speciality banh mi that Xe May serves up with grilled pork, scallion oil, and fried shallots, all sandwiched between either a white or whole wheat baguette.  Like classic banh mis, this banh mi also includes fresh cilantro, pickled carrots, daikons, cucumbers, and chili mayo.

I was looking for a cheap place for lunch and found Xe May through Yelp as one of the highest rated places in the East Village area.  And though my expectations were high (4.5 stars is pretty significant!), I was not disappointed!  The bread had a nice crisp edge that I’m sure would sound beautiful if I had the chance to listen to it, like how Colette from Ratatouille tells us to listen for the sound of the crust.*  Oh, and the bread comes in whole wheat too if you’d like.  The fillings were tasty: grilled pork tasted a bit like char siu (Chinese bbq pork) and pickles were nice and sour to cut the sweetness of the pork.  The fried shallots were not quite crispy enough as they wilted very quickly after being caught amidst the saucy meat and juicy pickles.

Continue reading Xe May Sandwich Shop: The Hog