Sandwich Week: Wednesday
The Vietnam restaurant is tiny, tiny, tiny.
And the two women who work there are tiny, tiny, tiny.
And the tables and chairs are tiny, tiny, tiny.
But the Vietnamese sandwiches are big, big, big in size. And they are big, big, big on flavor.
Vietnam on Broadway is the best place in Chinatown to get the sandwiches otherwise known as Bahn Mi. At first, I preferred the bahn mi at Little Paris on Stockton Street. But after careful deliberation, and several trips to both, judgment has come down on the side of Vietnam. One of the deciding factors in awarding Vietnam with the Chinatown Bahn Mi Blue Ribbon is that they make their sandwiches fresh to order. Little Paris's bahn mi, while good, are pre-made and then reheated. At Vietnam, you can watch the cook grill your chicken or pork and French roll and then assemble the sandwich.
While you have the choice of pork or barbecue chicken, I usually choose the grilled pork sandwich, which comes with marinated slices of grilled pork, thin strands of pickled carrots and onions, cucumbers, green onions, and cilantro all stuffed into a soft, warm, grilled French roll.
What you get is a smoky grilled pork flavor that is lean, rich, earthy and fragrant; a flavor that dances beautifully with the bright clean zip of the sweet pickled carrots and onions and is lightened by the coolness of the cucumber and cilantro. All of this is lovingly embraced and absorbed by the grilled French roll, which is firm and slightly crunchy around the edges, soft and warm and pillowy on the inside.
Because the restaurant is so tiny, tiny, tiny, I usually get mine to go and either head off to Washington Square Park or back to work.
However, there is usually seating at the tiny, tiny, tiny counter, should you choose to stay.
Pork Bahn Mi / $3.00