A rundown on some of the best Vietnamese sandwiches in town:
P. Punko’s favorite banh mi is at Cam Huong in Oakland. They serve flavorful pork and crunchy pickles on warm, crusty bread, with Japanese mayonnaise. Melanie Wong especially likes their pork belly banh mi, and zippo likes the baked curry tofu banh mi–soft on the inside, like a piece of baked brie cheese.
The pork at Kim’s Sandwiches has a nice burst of five-spice flavor, crunchy daikon in the pickle mix, and nice spicy dressing; P. Punko thinks the secret ingredient is kecap manis (soy sauce sweetened with palm sugar).
Baguette Express has nice, savory meat, a little saucy, with baguette that is crusty on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.
The San Jose branch of Huong Lan serves banh mi with tasty grilled pork in a fried shallot sauce, but it’s very fatty–if that’s not your style, beware.
Wrap Delight has good BBQ pork banh mi, but it’s particularly notable for its vegetarian options, says Pistou–like delicious, fresh-tasting fried tofu banh mi, and hard boiled egg banh mi.
Cam Huong Cafe [Chinatown]
920 Webster St., Oakland
Kim’s Sandwiches [South Bay]
1816 Tully Rd. # 182, San Jose
Baguette Express [Embarcadero]
668 Larkin Street, San Francisco
Huong Lan Sandwich [South Bay]
1655 Tully Rd., San Jose
Wrap Delight [Tenderloin]
426 Larkin St., San Francisco
My personal Mother of All Banh Mi posts, and a note about papaya salad with dried beef