First there was Hanco’s, then Henry’s, and now there’s Home, the newest banh mi shop in Park Slope. Home opened in the space formerly occupied by Earth Tonez, and it’s been open for about two months. I visited on a chilly winter night a couple of weeks ago. Home makes sandwiches in the mold of those two other places, but not nearly as well crafted. My tofu sandwich, though a bit cheaper than even Henry’s, had way too much mayonnaise, not enough spice, and some limp-looking cilantro. If you’re down on 5th Avenue and you just have to have a Vietnamese sandwich it’ll do in a pinch, but I’d stick with the two places on 7th Avenue.
Home — 349 5th Ave, Brooklyn
When we told our friend Anh that we wanted to get some banh mi, she suggested her favorite place in all of NYC: Ba Xuyen, in Borough Park. We met up with her and two of her friends for lunch there last week. They have (among other things) eight different banh mi on the menu, but none of them are vegetarian. They were more than willing to make one for me though, and they only charged me $2.25 for it.
I’m used to the vegetarian sandiwches at Hanco’s or Nicky’s which have some kind of filling — tofu or portobello mushrooms — that getting this sandwich was kind of a shock. It was just the pickled vegetables with a handful of cilantro and sauce. It wasn’t bad, but not my kind of banh mi. Much better was the excellent jackfruit shake I got along with it.
Ba Xuyen — 4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn
My friend Anh is VERY picky about Vietnamese restaurants. I’m not saying its a bad thing, it’s definitely a good thing since I love Vietnamese food. I trust her when she said something is good and worth her time. Though I am still a big believer that any sort of Asian food should be cheap and comes in large amount. So when she said that, so far in NYC, her favorite Vietnamese place is Bun SoHo I wasn’t sure what to think of it. For $9-$10 you get a small bowl of bun. I get the idea of paying for quality and where the restaurant is situated. Anyways so I found this cheap hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown. I emailed it to Anh and she responded by saying “lets go tonight!” Okay….so I met up with her at 6:30 in Chinatown but what used to be the restaurant is now a jewelry store. Thanks Cheap Ass Food for featuring a place that has been closed for almost a year now. Thanks.
Anh pointed out that there was a place she never seen before so thats how we ended up at Xe Lua on Mulberry St.
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Ever since Hanco’s opened their 7th Avenue branch, I’ve been eating their tofu banh mi at least once a week. Then a few weeks ago I was at the Farmer’s Market and spotted a beautiful daikon radish and an idea began to form in my head. Why not make my own banh mi? I grabbed a daikon, some carrots, a few demi-baguettes, a sprig of cilantro, and some eggplants (among other things) and began to plan.
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Photos provided by Mandoline Grill
1) Please state your name, name your food truck, the type of food you will be serving and when are you planning to officially roll out your truck??
My name is Mong Skillman. My truck is Mandoline Grill and I will be serving traditional and vegan Vietnamese fare, including banh mi, bun (vermicelli noodles), curry, cha gio (fried spring rolls), and goi cuon (fresh summer rolls). I am hoping to get the truck rolling and out by mid November 2009. (Fingers crossed…)
2) When and how did you come up with the idea of serving food in a truck and how did you decide on your menu?
Ever since I moved to Los Angeles 9 years ago from Hawaii, I’ve been trying to convince my mom to move to LA to open up a Vietnamese restaurant. The idea to serve Vietnamese food in a truck came about when Kogi started rolling around LA late last year – it seemed like an easier and less expensive route to take rather than to start immediately with a brick and mortar. My menu consists of my favorite family recipes from my mom’s restaurant, Song Huong, located in Chinatown, Honolulu, HI.
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*Photos provided by Nom Nom Truck
1) Please state your name, name your food truck, the type of food you serve, and how long have your food truck been in operation?
David Stankunas, Captain Commander of Nom Nom Truck. We serve Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) and Vietnamese-inspired tacos…Vietnamese fusion tacos I guess. We’ve been in operation for roughly 5 weeks.
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I remember having frogs for dinner a lot when I was a kid growing up in Hong Kong. Seriously it was one of the dishes that I really looked forward having. Having frog seem such a norm to me. They may be ugly and slimy but once they’re cleaned and chopped and cooked…oh so good. I prefer the dark meat of a frog over the white meat. Can I say that about frogs? Dark and white meat? But ever since I moved to the States I haven’t had frogs at all. Now after 24 years of frogless meals I finally ordered some at Bia Garden. Bia Garden is the brainchild of Michael “Bao” Huynh. I have never been to any of his restaurants nor tasted any food from him. Howard had informed me of this new beergarden and was keeping track of when it was going to open. After much delays it finally opened and we gave it try.
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