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.
I also ordered an iced Vietnamese coffee (dark roast with sweetened condensed milk) and a fresh basil soda limeade. The soda tasted a bit too much like a mojito without the alcohol … if I’m going to drink a mojito, I would prefer to have the white rum in it. Overall, I thought this place was a great lunch spot, aaaaalmost as tasty as the renowned/more authentic Banh Mi Saigon in Chinatown (sorry, still on my to-blog list!).
How can you tell how good bread is without tasting it?
Not the smell, not the look, but the sound of the crust. Listen.
Oh, symphony of crackle. Only great bread sound this way.