Monday, April 07, 2008

Banh Mi, Oh My

Many years ago as a kid growing up in Texas, my parents introduced me to Banh Mi. I remember loving these Vietnamese sandwiches that were an interesting combination of Chinese roasted pork, some other kind of unidentifiable meat, mayo, cilantro and pickled vegetables on a baguette. Sounds odd, but tastes amazing. From Texas we moved to Maryland where there were no Banh Mi. Or at least, my parents didn't know of any and therefore neither did I. From there Banh Mi became a distant, dormant memory.

A few years back I was working in Soho and a coworker re-introduced me to my beloved Banh Mi! She raved about how good these sandwiches were for months before I ventured to try one. Why? I don't know exactly. I had forgotten all about my childhood introduction to them and her vague description didn't sound all that exciting. I finally caved and went with her to Viet-Nam Banh Mi So 1 and ordered the "#1: House Special." That was it. I was sold.

This brings me to today and this very important review of the Banh Mi at Hanco's on Bergen Street near Smith Street in Boerum Hill. (I was actually headed toward rival, Nicky's on Atlantic but it's closed on Mondays!) I ordered the "Classic: ground pork, vietnamese ham, pate, mayo, butter, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon radish and cilantro on a toasted french baguette." I've had it a number of times and it's consistently good. It's not my absolute favorite Banh Mi in the city, but it's good for a neighborhood spot. Lots of pickled carrots, a small amount of daikon... Pate is not really pate, but flavor is good. Ground pork is seasoned just right (though visually is not so appealing). Baguette strikes me as being more like a hoagie, but its fresh. Overall, a solid choice especially at just $4.25.

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