Feast your eyes on the flagship of An Choi’s banh mi fleet.
These days it seems like you don’t have to walk more than a block or two to find the Vietnamese sandwich known as banh mi in many downtown neighborhoods. These are usually rudimentary affairs, with a couple of sliced cold cuts, or sardines, or maybe some homemade sausage and pâté. But An Choi’s tend to be more elaborate affairs.
Take the No. 1 (“original”) banh mi, called Doc Biet. The baguette is light and crusty, with a series of little peaks across the top, like the spines of a dimetrodon. Yes, there are pickled vegetables, mayo, raw cuke spears, jalapeños, and cilantro, but this dreadnought of a sandwich boasts four cold cuts: five-spice ham, pork salami, headcheese, and house pâté, which blend together like the instruments in a string quartet. And it comes with a couple of shrimp chips on the side.
Four cold cuts, a perfect baguette, vegetables — and two shrimp chips
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 12, 2011