Bahn Mi Saigon Bakery
Posted by finechina on March 31, 2007
Bahn Mi Saigon Bakery
138-01 Mott St (at Grand St)
So the word on the street is that this place serves the best Viet sandwich in town. #1? I don’t know if that’s true, but, I’m here to investigate. I’ll rank the sandwich in terms of quality, taste, ease of eating, and the look of the sandwich.
This little shop is hidden in Chinatown but it’s past the marketplace, thank goodness. I always have a problem walking through there because it’s crowded, dirty, and chaotic. If you can avoid going down that section of Mott St, do so.
Upon arriving to this deli you’re going to see a jewelry shop in front. Don’t worry, you’re at the right place because the joint is just straight inside. Now there are a lot of hip, young, good looking people there. I’m sure they are loyal fans who can’t get enough of this deli, but just be forewarn about all the people in side.
My brother who was there ordered the chicken viet sandwich and the pork one. Pork is what I’ve been eating for years, but he wanted to change it up by having chicken. Of course they ask you if you want jalapenos in yours, and of course we didn’t. After waiting for like 10-15mins, and yes it really took that long and I literally have no patience especially at a deli, our sandwiches arrived. For $3.75, that price can’t be beat. We couldn’t wait to go back home in Brooklyn to give it a shot.
Pork Banh Mi Sandwich -
Alright, after taking this baby home, I realized that it was a little cold. Ok, not to worry, a little time with the microwave should help. One it came out, I quickly took a bite into it and first noticed how incredibly spicy it was. I could have sworn I asked for it not to be spicy. The reason why I didn’t want it to be spicy was because spiciness kills flavor and I didn’t want it like that for my first time. Some people like it, some people don’t, but I prefer it without. I took a look inside, and there is it, jalapeños. Lots of it. I’m like, what the f— is this? And you see the this deep dark red color? That’s right, that’s the pork. That is the hardest piece of meat that I have bitten on and it just made the whole experience unpleasant. Very unpleasant. I figured that I probably need to heat it up some more? Well, that didn’t help much either so the entire time it was like eating pork jerky. Yeah, it has like the same texture as jerky, but wrapped up in clumps.
With this and the jalapeño problem aside, I have to admit that the presentation was very good. I love all the nice vibrant colors and how pack the sandwich is. The bread was nice and toasted, the carrots and the salami tasted very fresh, but it was the pork that just threw it off.
Finechina’s Rating: 3.88/5
Quality – 4/5
Taste – 3.5/5
Ease of eating – 3.0/5 (because of me picking out all the jalapeños and gnawing on pork)
Presentation – 5/5
Chicken Banh Mi Sandwich –
Unfortunately, this one has jalapeños in it too, but I’ll overlook it. Look how beautiful this sandwich is. Hands down, I have to say Banh mi can really make their sandwich look drop dead hot and sexy. You see on the right picture that there’s garlic or egg smeared on the bread? That makes a WHOLE LOTTA difference. Most amateur viet sandwich joints don’t put that, but Banh Mi does. But because of my first bad experience with the pork sandwich, I didn’t know what to think about the chicken.
To my surprise, this is an excellent sandwich! Hurrah!! I knew this place has to live up to its expectations. The chicken was moist, juicy and soft, which is how chicken is supposed to be. And its partnership with the other ingredients, salami, carrots, turnips, cucumber and cilantro, resulted in a very mouth-watering…er, droolage moment. The bread was of course nicely toasted, the taste was very sensational where the sauce did not overwhelmed the sandwich, which usually happens with some sandwiches, and it was very easy to eat.
Finechina’s Rating: 4.9
Quality – 5
Taste – 5
Ease of eating - 4.5
Presentation – 5
So to me, this place is definitely not my number one, because of the long wait, putting jalapeños when I specifically asked not to, and the pork jerky-ish pork. I figure the pork sandwich is the signature sandwich. How can they screw that up? But I will still recommend people to come here to try out their sandwiches, especially the chicken one!
Look forward to my next post on Paris Sandwich!
Now the NYC Health Inspection Results!
SAIGON BAKERY INC
138 MOTT STREET, MANHATTAN 10013
Current violation points: 8 – PASSED
Inspection Date: 03/23/2007
No violations that present a threat to the public health or relate directly to factors which lead to foodborne illness were recorded at the time of this inspection.
1.) “Choking first aid” poster not posted.”Alcohol and Pregnancy” Warning sign not posted. “Wash hands” sign not posted at hand wash facility. Resuscitation equipment: exhaled air resuscitation masks(adult & pediatric), latex gloves, sign not posted. Inspection report sign not posted.
2.) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained.
3.) Pesticide use not in accordance with label or applicable laws. Prohibited chemical used/stored. Open bait station used.