Banh Mi Doc Biet at An Choi, Dish No. 87


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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