As classic New York sandwiches–the Italian sub, pastrami on rye, cubano–get more expensive, a new contender is giving them a run for their money. Banh mi, a Vietnamese baguette filled with pork and pickled vegetables, is here to stay, and the best budget banh mi I’ve had is in Brooklyn.
Ba Xuyen (4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn–map) brings a taste of Vietnam to Brooklyn’s Chinatown, just east of Sunset Park. For a mere $3.75 you get a freshly toasted 10 inch baguette piled with roast pork, shredded carrots, daikon, green peppers, jalapenos, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and cilantro, which overflows out the top.
The result is an intense mixture of sweet, salty, and spicy flavor. The crisp shredded vegetables are the perfect contrast to the tender slices of meat, and the baguette–crunchy on the outside with a soft middle–wraps it all up splendidly. If you’re not from the neighborhood, the N express train is a quick shot out to 36th St. and 4th Avenue, and the walk from there to Ba Xuyen takes you through hilly Sunset Park, which affords a great view over west Brooklyn to the river and Manhattan.