I have a secret. I don't think anyone knows this about me, even my husband. Ready? I LOVE banh mi. Like really love it. It's probably a top 10, if not top 5, favorite food of mine, which is saying a lot when you consider how much I love food.
About 2 years ago, I came across several reviews praising Saigon Sandwich in the Tenderloin. I had recently eaten at Bun Mee (also quite good) a few times while taking my dog to the vet in Pacific Heights, so I had been given a taste of what delicious banh mi could be. I'm not in the Tenderloin a whole lot these days, but one day I happened to be filing something at the California Court of Appeal for my law firm, and it being just a few blocks away, I thought I would give Saigon Sandwich a try. Now, I try to stop by as often as I can when I am in the Civic Center for work.
Yesterday was one such day. I had planned on taking it easy after hosting a small but still alcohol-filled 4th of July party at our place, but around noon I remembered that I had to file something at court. I begrudgingly threw on some presentable clothes and hopped in my car to do the deed. On my way, an idea occurred to me that would make this trip worth it: the perfect Vietnamese pork sandwich. Yess. Hangover: meet your match.
Full warning: this tiny little shop is located in the absolute WORST part of the Tenderloin, on Larkin Street at Eddy. Parking isn't great, the locals are pretty terrifying, and it smells like human feces just about everywhere you walk. Am I enticing you yet? The point is, despite all this, I still made this my hangover destination. The banh mi here is just that good. In fact, The New York Times mused that it may be THE BEST banh mi in America.
Even at 1:30 PM on the day after the 4th of July, there were about 10 people in the out-the-door line of the hole in the wall that houses Saigon Sandwich. Thankfully, the line goes pretty fast. There are several options for sandwiches, but I always go for the roast pork. If you're not inclined for pork, they have a chicken option, and if paté is your thing, they have that too. They also have a combo which I've heard is delicious, but not being a paté fan, I've never tried it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and the roast pork here is truly my idea of perfection.
The best part? The sandwich is only $3.75. Boom.
I took my sandwich home and paired it with a Coke Zero - consider my hangover extinguished. I HIGHLY recommend this place if you're in the TL, or just if you feel like a delicious and cheap sandwich. Not a bucket list item because of its small size and my frequent visits, but it definitely earns honorable mention and a special spot in my heart.