Damn you “Midtown version” of banh mi! Why have you foresaken us??? In the 10 months I’ve been doing this blog, no food item has been requested more than the Banh Mi. Usually it’s dreaming of working in a place where banh mi is plentiful, but more often than not, it’s people asking for banh mi to come to Midtown. Well, Boi to Go has answered our calls… but maybe we should have been more specific. We wanted super cheap, Chinatown style Banh Mi- not overpriced, fancy pants “Midtown Style” banh mi!
If you don’t know what banh mi is, but have still managed to get this far (confusion and all), let me try to break it down for you. Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich, served on a crusty french bread style baguette. In its most basic form, it comes with some sort of meat (pork, vietnamese “salami”, chicken and/or pate), covered in any combination of shredded carrots, daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro and some sort of sauce (sweet, spicy or both.) There are tons of variations- with many different ingredients, including vegetarian versions for people who don’t want meat.
But that description leaves out one key quality of the increasingly popular banh mi. In the most popular banh mi shops, these large vietnamese style “hoagies” sell for an unbelievably cheap $3-4. Understanding this part of the banh mi experience is key to understanding why Boi to Go was not welcomed with opened arms by the clammoring Midtown lunching public.
It may also be proof that the huge popularity of banh mi has just as much to do with price, as taste. If Saigon charged $8 for their sandwiches, I don’t think as many people would trek to Chinatown, and if Boi to Go cut their price in half, than this place might be your new favorite Midtown Lunch. Is it the banh mi we wanted? Maybe not. But it is a good freakin sandwich? You bet.
More on this, pictures and a +/- after the jump… Read more »