Diane Tran’s Pho Banh Mi Is Amazing

Muffins Muffins is a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop down the street from the CHOW offices in San Francisco. It has taken care of me many times, filling the hole when desperate; a splash of color in a sea of suits and sunglasses. There are ex-CHOW staffers who still travel out of their way to get to Muffins Muffins for pork or tofu banh mi. The other day I noticed a sign taped to the window: PHO SANDWICH. Owner Diane Tran explained that she'd wanted to start offering pho, Vietnamese soup, but the kitchen in her tiny shop is too small to handle the huge stockpots she'd need. Instead, Tran combined pho ingredients in a sandwich.

If you like banh mi, Tran’s pho version will be a new obsession. This morning I bought one, unwrapped it, stacked the two halves exactly as you see below (in other words, unstyled). I took the picture and devoured it. If you can’t get to Muffins Muffins, make your own pho banh mi at home.

Muffins Muffins Pho Banh Mi
Layer in order:
French roll bottom half
Mayo
Thinly sliced cucumber
Fresh basil leaves
Thinly sliced beef slathered with a mixture of hoisin and Sriracha
Thinly sliced raw red onions
Thinly sliced jalapeño
Grated pickled carrots
Lettuce
Mayo
French roll top half

Muffins Muffins [SOMA]
123 Second Street, San Francisco
415-882-7355

Photos by Chris Rochelle