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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ba Xuyên

The good folks at Ba Xuyên call their version of the "classic" the "Bánh Mì Paté Tht Ngui (#1)," but by any name it would taste as good. This is one fine sandwich.

The first thing you notice is the bread. It looks burnt but isn’t; it’s toasted til the last exit on the road to delicious, then buttered like a Frenchman. This is a gutsy move on their part. Right from go they take you to the limit and dare you to bite.
Speaking of which, manageable bites are helpful with the Banh Mi. The best way to get that party started in your mouth is to taste each flavor level simultaneously, and in that regard, the BX's proportions were just right.

As far as taste, quantum thermonuclear motion particle scientists have done extended photosynthetic gamma ray studies and determined that the Banh Mi’s greatest flavor concentrations lie in… hold it, hold it… the meat. So how was theirs?

BX’s so-called "Pork Terriyaki" (Vietnamese ham?) looked and tasted like sliced, fatty Chinese chiar siu, but their chopped BBQ (Nem Nủớng) was more distinguished: a tasty, slightly carmelized roast, livened up by garlic and ground pepper.

Banh Mi meisters sometimes skimp on the cilantro, and I really don’t know why. This fresh herb offers a subtle “yang” oasis of clean flavor in an otherwise savory “yin” meat-field; because whole stems are used, they provide additional crispness; and they naturally freshen your breath, in case a regular Banh Mi excursion turns into a romantic Banh Mi romp.

Fear not, Ba Xuyen passed the cilantro test no problem with a portion that was generous but not overbearing. They also handled the pickle with class (sharp enough, and not overly sweet). A single spear of cuke and a lot of ground pepper sealed the deal.

To be honest, the biggest shortcoming in this sandwich was the lack of heat. There wasn't much hot sauce added, and the jalepeno content was negligible. (When I go back I’ll make it a point of emphasis.) But this is a minor quip. I’m hard-pressed to remember 3 bucks spent better in Brooklyn in a very long time. When you go, splurge for an Iced Coffee and thank Earl you found this spot.




Ba Xuyên
4222 Eighth Avenue
Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY
Classic Banh Mi: $3.00

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7 Comments:

Blogger blue plate special said...

"The path to flavor is never easy."

I couldn't agree more. However, your salacious web-belches have me a little worried. Are you on any sort of cholesterol medication? You need to protect yourself from the ravages of the animal fats you are consuming. It's such that from all the way over here I can almost see the arcus juvenalis in the whites of your eyes.

3:16 PM  
Blogger adam said...

Hey, Slab. Me and the wife rode our bikes to Xuyen and enjoyed Bahn Mi at Ba Xuyen. She had the sardine one. I had shredded pork with fish sauce. Both impressive. Thanks for the tip.

7:14 AM  
Blogger miken said...

Sometimes I wish I still lived in Brooklyn intead of Joisey. Does Ba Xuyên have anything vegetarian? I'll bring my own hot sauce.

10:07 PM  
Blogger J. Slab said...

miken-

sardine is the closest thing to veg at BX. you might want to check out a new spot, Lan Café (342 e. 6th St. betw. 1st & 2nd). they only do veggie, and make a tasty homemade mock 'meatball'. i'll have a full posting up soon....

2:19 PM  
Blogger Nguyen said...

I am Vietnamese and I can tell you that Ba Xuyen makes the best bahn mi me and my crew have ever tasted-and this includes all the sandwiches we ate back home when we were fighting whitey when were in the Viet Cong. Yo, instead of whining about the butter, being so scared of cholesterol and shit like that- realize that Ba Xuyen makes the perfect sandwich- full of meat, greens, and pickles. It does not just taste s dnalgood- it's good for you. And you cheap ass instead of going to McDonald's wasting your money and eating processed SHIT, take a trip to brooklyn and have the best sandwich you will ever taste.

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nguyen is correct.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous fishcado said...

You go here if you want to eat an amazing sandwich. If you want to worry about your cholesterol go eat cardboard.

This site is called the "Porkchop Express" remember? Jeez..

3:58 PM  

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