People either like sandwiches or not; that’s what I think. I’m a sandwich liker. They are quick, easy and convenient. Best of all there are hundreds of combinations and one can take any ingredient and turn it into a sandwich, sweet or savory.
One Sunday, we decided to try Banh Mi Coda (aka Lee’s Bakery) for lunch. We heard they have decent Vietnamese sandwiches, the ones with pickled veggies, cilantro and Vietnamese ham. The bakery is located right next to Cafe Trang in the Talin Market shopping center. It’s a small place with only about 4 tables (in a way it’s like being in a Vietnamese version of a Subway sandwich shop).
Immediately inside, there’s a large picture menu of all the sandwiches they offer. I really like grilled pork so I ordered that one. My husband and son ordered the combo which had the Vietnamese ham, head cheese, and pâté, my daughter got the meatball, and her friend the chicken.
The sandwiches were made to order and they even came with fresh jalapeno. The grilled pork was very flavorful, with a soy sauce based marinade. I also tried my son’s combo sandwich. I will admit that I have never been to Vietnam and eaten “authentic” Vietnamese ham, but I have had these sandwiches at other bánh mì shops in the states. This version of ham is different from what I’ve had in the past. It is different in color (paler) and flavor, but the sandwich was still tasty. I really like the pickled carrots and radish- sweet and tangy at the same time. I used to loathe cilantro and would pick every leaf out from my meal, but now I really enjoy the added layer of flavor. The baguette is made there; I prefer a crispier crust (the kind that leaves the hard palate tender after eating it) to contrast with the soft airy insides, which this one was not. My son did not appreciate the combo sandwich because it was too exotic for him but my husband did. My daughter and her friend finished their sandwiches and gave a thumbs up.
This place also sells other food items. In the fridge there was flan, jello, soy milk, and Vietnamese sausage, but not the ham. In the back of the store, one can find the Vietnamese “tamale” which is sticky rice filled with a savory filling wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed. My daughter bought one that contained pork and “wood ear,” an edible fungus, to take home and eat later. The addition of the wood ear was nice because it added texture and an earthy flavor to the tamale. The flavors are less intense compared to the Chinese “tamale,” but still a treat to eat.
It’s great to see that we have a place like Banh Mi Coda to go to instead of the neighborhood Subway. We would go back, especially if we were in the neighborhood.
Date visited: June 3, 2012