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Banh mi blues

elise h | Mar 17, 200201:45 PM

A couple of weeks ago, I tried Irving Cafe & Deli's #37 house special steamed rice noodle, at the suggestion of esteemed Chowhound Limster. It was quite an adventure. Ok, to be honest, it was weird. Croquette like structures filled with mung beans and shrimp with an unusual taste overtone. Thin discs of meat sausages - lots of them. For dessert I had coconut and mung bean pudding. Mung beans sure are popular here. My friend who lived in Vietnam laughed at my description. She said this "weird dish" is very common and she often ate this for breakfast. It was fun to try #37, and I'm glad I did, but it's not something I'll be craving.

Still intrepid, the following week, I ordered their #8 banh mi, filled with BBQ pork. This tasted very different from the banh mi at Vietnamese Sandwich or Saigon Sandwich. The roll was adorned with what looked like margarine, a few sprinkles of carrots and parsley, the pork, and a few drips of sauce. The pork tasted off, like it was going bad, and I saw no trace of BBQ. The sauce lacked sparkle and fire. I was hoping this sandwich would taste as good as those from the sandwich shops in the tenderloin, as an alternative location. Where do Chowhounds go for banh mi in San Francisco, other than the tenderloin?

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