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BANH ME!

by Britt Chester

High Point Road is the golden arrow in the Greensboro’s quiver when it comes to hidden gems that often go under the radar in the grand shuffle of eateries and diners. Banh Mi Saigon Sandwiches and Deli seems to have skirted its way under such radar, which is precisely why we visited the location.

The humble deli sits in the corner of a shopping center next to a billiard hall and across from a men’s clothier. The deli counter greets you right when you walk in, as does the smell of the fresh bread for the sandwiches, which we’ll get to in a minute.

On the counter rests a spread of various appetizer items; spring rolls with a ginger peanut dipping sauce, Vietnamese salads, and a handful of imported beverages.

The smell of fresh bread, though, is what immediately draws you to the menu. Fresh baked baguette wraps itself around your choice of meats and vegetables, depending on what sandwich option your go with.

There are barbecue options, meatballs, ham, turkey, and other staples of a typical deli menu. The additional items included in the sandwich range from a host of vegetables, namely jalapenos, carrots, cucumbers and onions.

I started with the spring rolls featured on the counter “” if it’s at the front we’re pretty sure it’s going to be the best. The ginger peanut dipping sauce that accompanies the sandwich could easily go with any item on the menu. Its subtle viscosity carries a sweet and tangy flavor, which mixes perfectly with the chilled temperature of the shrimp wrapped course.

For the sandwich, I went the route of barbecue, one, because it’s the south, and two, because Asian flavor profiles in barbecue always have an extra kick that I like. The beef option seemed to be the best, rather than chicken or pork, and before I could even get part of the way through the second spring roll, the sandwich was on the table.

The portion size is deceiving because at first it looks like the meat is overpowered by the fluffy baguette. Alas, it is not. Instead, the fresh bread, which is what “banh mi” is actually the Vietnamese translation for, compresses and breaks as you eat the sandwich, giving each bite equal parts protein and carbs.

Perhaps it’s my USA goggles, which are used to getting too much instead of just the right amount, but the sandwich just didn’t look like it would be able to shake a stick at any new chargrilled, bacon wrapped, cheese-filled American option, but this sandwich can shake said stick.

Dipping the beef ends of the 10-inch sandwich into the ginger peanut sauce was also an option, but the flavors being soaked into the baguette from the barbecue and pickled vegetables in the sandwich made any addition a travesty, almost disrespectful.

What’s even better about this place, aside from the fresh bread? It’s the prices. Sandwiches on the menu barely, and rarely, exceed $4. This means you can get a full meal, sandwich and drink, for about the same price as a menu sandwich from a fast food joint, and you know McDonald’s isn’t exactly making headlines with fresh ingredients in anything. !

WANNA go?

Banh Mi Saigon Sandwich and Deli is located at 3808 High Point Road, Greensboro. The deli is open daily from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

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