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Banh Mi Saigon

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Never Mind an MTA Fare Hike: Price of Vietnamese Sandwiches Escalates!

As if losing the bánh mì counter in the Tú Quynm Pharmacy wasn’t bad enough, there’s still more reason to worry about the state of the Vietnamese sandwich, an institution that Jonathan Lethem told us is “as vital to keeping working artists in the city as are affordable rents.” Cheap Eats favorite Bánh Mì Saigon Bakery celebrated the New Year by raising its prices by 50 cents across the board, bumping certain sandwiches to an unheard of $5.50 (they say the cost of product went up). And just yesterday, Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich (formerly known as Viet-Nam Banh Mi and no relation to Bánh Mì Saigon) upped its prices to as high as $4.25. Employees were apologetically offering sandwiches at the old prices (we were charged $3.50 instead of the new $3.95 for the house special of grilled pork, Vietnamese salami, and sliced pork), but that’s small consolation. This is easily the most disturbing price hike since a Gray’s Papaya dog went to $1.25. Earlier: Chinatown Pharmacy Is No Longer in the Pork-Sandwich Business

Chinatown Pharmacy Is No Longer in the Pork-Sandwich Business

We’re with Jonathan Lethem when he says that bánh mìs — the cheap Vietnamese baguette sandwiches usually stuffed with pork, pork, pork, and some veggies for good measure — are as vital to keeping working artists in the city as affordable rents. Which is why we’re sad to report the removal of the bánh mì counter in the Tú Quynm Pharmacy (also a CD shop) on the corner of Grand Street and Bowery — certainly the most bizarrely situated one if you discount Báhn Mì Saigon, located in the back of a nearby jewelry store. If this was your pâté chã go-to, know there are other sandwich fixes within a few blocks — namely Saigon, Viet-Nam Banh Mi So 1, and Paris Sandwich, which also serves waffles! But really, we’ll miss being able to fill a prescription for our heart meds while loading up on pork. Related: Jonathan Lethem Fuels His Writing With ‘White Trash’ Sandwiches

Bánh Mì, Oh, My: New Shop Challenges the Greats

It takes chutzpa to open up a báhn mì shop around the corner from the beloved Bánh Mì Saigon (not to mention Viet-Nam Banh Mi, which is a couple of blocks down), but newcomer Paris Sandwich is clearly hoping to one-up those cramped storefront operations — the restaurant has a clean, spacious, bright-yellow interior adorned with Fodor's-worthy photos of the City of Light. Despite the chainlike setup (a “fast food” portion of the menu offers comfort dishes like a pork chop on rice and roti-style chicken accompanied by bread and dipping curry), owner Jimmy Ly’s own mother, Kim Phung, oversees a kitchen that bakes crispy, skinny baguettes for twelve types of Vietnamese sandwiches — everything from the usual pork-roll-and-liver-pâté variety to a faux-chicken version made with gluten. Ly also prides himself on the fact that his desserts — Vietnamese flan, green-tea waffles, and the like — are made on the premises and that the coffee beans were chosen only after he and his dad did some extensive research in the homeland. Sounds bon to us. — Daniel Maurer Paris Sandwich, 113 Mott St., nr. Canal St.; 212-226-7221