Assessing The Fancy Soft Shell Shrimp Banh Mi At Khe-Yo

I know that paying more than, say, $7 for a banh mi is painful. I also know that I do not regret the amount of money I spent on the soft shell shrimp banh mi at Khe-Yo on Duane St. (near W. Broadway), and you probably won’t either.

There are two choices of banh mi at a time, neither of them vegetarian in case you don’t eat meat. One option involves beer-braised pork belly, green papaya, pickled daikon and au jus for dipping; the soft shell shrimp version has pickled jalapeƱo, sriracha mayo and shredded baby iceberg lettuce.

This is the first banh mi (or sandwich in general) I’ve eaten where the main ingredient was staring at me. Yes, these are head-on shrimp and they’re fried a bit to make them crunchy, much like soft shell crab. There are about six of them nestled atop pickled carrot and daikon, lettuce and cilantro. There’s a healthy dose of that sriracha mayo that has a good kick to it, but beware it getting everywhere as you eat. The bread is not quite as light and crispy as what you get in places like Paris Sandwich or Banh Mi Saigon, but I have no real complaints.

If you work near Khe-Yo and don’t mind spending $11 on a banh mi, you should definitely try one of their varieties. It seems they switch them out every so often so check the Khe-Yosk menu on their website before heading out.

Khe-Yo, 157 Duane St. (btw. W. B’way & Hudson St.), (212) 587-1089


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