I went on a lunchtime adventure in Chinatown today. My purpose was to sample treats at the various bakeries recommended on this board. While the pork buns, duck yolk moon pies, etc. were all quite good, none of them were as good as an impulse buy I made at a Vietnamese (thai?, Chinese?) grocery supermarket just off Beach Street.
As I was hopping from bakery to bakery, I noticed a young Asian construction worker walk out of what appeared to be a watch and jewelry shop with a freshly made Banh Mi. My curiosity piqued, I explored. What I found was a rather dreary looking grocery market, attached to a jewelry store. A very poor man's Super 88. I have never been thrilled by the odor at Super 88, but the fish section of this Chinatown market reminded me of . . . well, let's keep this rated PG.
Anyhow, a large number of the customers (most of whom were Asian) were huddled around a small sandwich counter in the corner. I got in line, and did my best not too rock the boat, as all the other customers were clearly regulars. When I ordered, I pointed at what I wanted. This, I learned, was the "Regular". The only other option is the "barbecued beef", which I intend to try very soon.
Delicious! A crusty French roll with some peculiar cold-cuts, a meat paste of some sort, basil, onions, cucumbers, carrots, and some other stuff I'm forgetting. I presume it was just a "regular" banh mi. Absolutely wonderful. And, as I have been told is true of all such sandwiches, a real bargain. Two bucks.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that this was my first Banh Mi. So, I am no expert. But, man was it good. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the store. The sign above the door had several letters missing so it was difficult to make out. "Thai . . (something)?
Location: Just off Beach Street, down an unnamed alley near Washington Street. Near Tu Do restaurant.