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I’ll Keep on Truckin’

Happy to report that my painful 45-minute wait at the Financial District banh mi cart a few weeks ago was likely an aberration. Or maybe the hype has already dissipated (though not banh mi mania in general—I swear in the last 24 hours I’ve read about ten recently opened or about to open Vietnamese sandwich purveyors).

I just picked up a #1 and two summer rolls (which I’m saving for dinner so no word on them) and only spent about three minutes in the process. It should be noted that they now have a $3 shrimp cocktail (six pieces) and a posted phone number for pick up orders made before 11am: 646-996-8990.

I’ll admit that I’m curious about what a Vietnamese shrimp cocktail would be like. I don’t recall ever seeing such a dish on any restaurant menus.

By the way, I’m baffled by commenters (then again, I’m frequently amazed by
the blowhard-ness of commenters
. Yesterday I was supposedly schooled on the
inauthenticity of sweet and sour chicken at a Korean restaurant. Well, duh, and
no amount of culinary knowledge will stop me from ordering non-traditional
dishes if that’s what I feel like eating), specifically the commenters currently
going batshit
over the $8 banh mi at newly opened An Choi (and before that, it
was the $7 banh mi at Park Slope’s new Hanco’s).

Seriously, who cares if someone wants to overpay for a sandwich. If that
offends you, then clearly you’re not their target market and if it turns out to
be rip off they’ll have to adjust their prices to stay in business. It's the evergreen no one will pay good money for "ethnic" food debate. I can see both sides; I'm seriously averse to $15 tacos. I’m well
aware that the $5 Financial District banh mi costs more than a typical
Chinatown version but it’s not Chinatown and I’m willing to pay a $2 premium
for convenience (not atmosphere in this case, obviously) because I have no
other options in this neighborhood. Quibbling between a $3 and $8 sandwich? We’re
talking dollars here, even in a wretched economy I’m not going to spazz over a
few bucks, especially if the sandwich is actually good.

I’m not crazy, however. Yesterday I briefly went insane and made reservations at Per Se for Friday night after reading everywhere how easy it is to now score a table there since the entire world is destitute. But after the reality of a $275 dinner set in, I chickened out and cancelled. That’s a lot of money for a gal with a lower middle class salary (by NYC standards, of course). I'll have to settle for being price gouged on banh mi, instead.

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  1. lisa #

    Our typical banh mi run $2-$4 here on the left coast. (I’m talking your basic working class crowd). There’s a new Vietnamese place I’m dying to try, Fuel, which looks rather upscale (and I fear may not offer banh mi ).

    My mouth is watering… no banh mi vendors within miles of this place… at the risk of “pulling a Jacky”, I’m nibbling on a handful of peanut butter filled pretzels (the provider swears they’re not laden with salmonella…)

    March 5, 2009

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