Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banh Mi, Bun Mee, Bunn Mi

When Cafe Bunn Mi opened on Clement Street we didn't run right over. We thought we had the Mecca of  Vietnamese Sandwiches over in the TL, Saigon Sandwiches. In fact, whenever we eat at a new place that serves Banh Mi, it gets compared to Miss Saigon. Considering the price, crusty bread and tasty choices a new-to-us purveyor usually falls short (sometimes they win in the service area though. Saigon is not big on people skills).

One big plus for Cafe Bunn Mi is their array of menu choices! In addition to sandwiches ($4-$6 depending on fillings) they have soups (pho), platters, salads, fresh juice/smoothies and desserts. Anyone can custom make their meal here, be it gluten-free, vegetarian or meat-centric. The to-go service is quick and you can also call ahead for pick-up.

While we love all variations of this Vietnamese Sandwich. Our choices for today were:

5-spice Chicken with the works!--$4

 Now it may seem from the picture below that Angela has a lot of carrots and veg, but that is because of how a banh mi is built. The crusty crispy french bread is split and then spread with Mayo (possibly also pate). Your main meat or veg is shoved down into that crevasse. Next up is your crunchy fresh carrots, jalapenos, cabbage and cilantro, (these veg are pretty traditional, but can vary) which are crammed on the top so that each bite gives you a bit of crust, crunch and full flavor! Angela has come to love 5-spice (although she doesn't like gingerbread, go figure) and it makes chicken taste rich with deep character. Especially if you use it in a marinade or sauce.

Lightly breaded Crispy Duck (no mayo, no jalapeno) --$6

J.K. usually gets pate, but decided against it today, so nothing would compete with the flavor of the duck. The lack of mayo and jalapeno had nothing to do with the duck. She just doesn't like mayo. Or anything too spicy. The duck was excellent, and, as you can see, the veggies were more evenly distributed than Angela's. J.K. is now considering making "5-spice" bread for Christmas, along with the traditional gingerbread. We'll let you know whether this was a good idea.

If you come to visit SF, we'd love to take you on a tour of Vietnamese Sandwich shops. Do you have a favorite sandwich shop or food truck where you live?