Friday, March 25, 2011

Food Photo Friday - Thanh Nhi


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In general, I'm not a sandwich lover. I mean, they're fine, but given the choice, I'd rather have an entrée that didn't involve such a high proportion of bread. I make an exception for banh mi, though, and the ones at Thanh Nhi are my favorites in town. For just $3.50, you get this huge, fresh thing of beauty stuffed with Vietnamese lunch meat, spread with paté and a thin layer of mayo, drizzled with just a smidgen of what I think is balsamic vinegar, and garnished with fresh cucumber and jalapeno, cilantro, and pickled carrots and daikon. So. Good.

Despite the size of these babies, I usually have to start out with an order of grilled pork paste spring rolls ($3). I'm honestly entirely unclear what exactly "grilled pork paste" is. There's a slab of pork substance inside these that, texture-wise, lands somewhere between sausage and spam (but it is much, much tastier and less salty than the latter). And then there are some strange little crunchy things inside that are clearly grain-based and deep-fried, but beyond that, I can't really tell you much. Does anyone know? I've been operating on blind faith and the acquired conviction that these are wonderful enough to eat in ignorance.

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What's your favorite sandwich?

13 comments:

  1. There is, in Albuquerque, a newish place called Banh Mi Coda. It exists in a town with quite good Southeast Asian restaurants, and even one or two that have banh mi on the menu, albeit as an appetizer. Coda wandered into unchartered territory, where the small sandwich shop is almost unheard of. The result is some 8 or 9 banh mi, a smattering of cold dishes to be taken away, and perhaps the most delicious of francoviet negotiations: the pork pate chaud. I was just there earlier this week, and now your beautiful pictures have triggered a serious craving. Thanks!

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  2. i loveee Thanh Nhi. the lady there is incredibly sweet, right? I now have a craving.

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  3. Real Simple has a recipe for something similar that I make all the time. I'll have to share it with you! So easy and so delicious. You're making me want Vietnamese tonight...

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  4. Peter, there is a place in Austin that sells pork pate chaud. I've had their banh mi, but only once, and didn't get a pate chaud on that visit. Now I know to do so next time - thanks for the recommendation!

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  5. Linda, yes! The woman who (I guess) owns the place is SUPER sweet.

    L. Shanna, I'd love that recipe! Although I am not convinced that I could make one of these for less than $3.50...

    TMoline, you have fine taste; that may well be my second favorite sandwich in town.

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  6. I was sitting across from Ms. FoodieisthenewForty and her husband when she took that photo and I can attest to how good the sandwiches and the rolls were. My first time having Banh Mi as a matter of fact. Thanks Michelle for expanding my food horizons!

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  7. That is a gorgeous looking sammie! Now putting Thanh Nhi on my to do list.

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  8. Michelle, I LOVE BANH MI! I have never been to Thanh Nhi though, but will go now since it's your fave. And I know you have GREAT taste in food =)

    My fave banh mi would have to be with shredded chicken. Unfortunately, every banh mi place I've been to in Austin doesn't have shredded chicken =/

    I think pork paste is pork that's super grounded til it's like moosh and then it's fried and/or grilled. Kinda like the shrimp balls / fish balls found in some soup dishes. I'm not sure, so please don't take my word on that. That's just my guess

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  9. banh mi usually has maggi sauce sprinkled on it which i think you're thinking is balsamic vinegar

    the crunchy cigar is a cha gio or vietnamese egg roll (not fresh rice paper) wrapper that is rolled around a piece of chive then deep fried.

    pork paste is what julie tran says.. super fine ground pork with fish sauce and seasonings, then baked/fried/grilled.

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  10. I love Thanh Nhi and their spring rolls! I think the crunchy stuff is a eggroll wrapper rolled up and fried

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  11. Michelle: Your recommendations are always on the mark. I went there with friends for lunch today, and as soon as the banh mi arrived, our animated conversation fell silent as we wolfed down the pork sandwiches--with fresh dill instead of cilantro. So satisfying and so cheap. Best lunch ever. Thanks!

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  12. Anon, Julie and Jane, thanks so much for the very useful information! Much appreciated! I always love being educated on food-related stuff.

    And Zia, so glad you & your friends enjoyed! I love that place and wish it were a little closer to town - I would be there ALL the time, I feel sure.

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