after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

My Ngoc: Banh Mi Pittsburgh-style

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t says: While we were in the ‘burgh, we had the opportunity to visit the strip district.  They have some cool places on that strip – a variety of foods that were all very tantalizing.  It was very convenient to have such a variety in one location.  What to choose, what to choose … ?  Well, given our obsession with the Vietnamese hoagie, the banh mi (we even did a Chifa and Sampan face-off), that was going to be one of the first things we tried.  We spotted this restaurant named My Ngoc (at least, we think that’s what it was – we had to use google to “remember” it) which had a little outdoor setup with an old Asian man making hoagies on the sidewalk.  And, because we were NOT in a restaurant, I didn’t feel bad whippin’ out the iPhone for a few shots.

This was posted on a nearby lamppost on the sidewalk.

Get ... in ... my ... belly!

5/2010, Noon, Party of 2 … on the sidewalk.  We ordered the pork hoagie.  We watched as the old man assembled the ingredients.  First he hand-split the roll, put on three different sauces, then the meat, veggies, herbs, and then more sauce.  It was almost a Subway-esque experience.  However, unlike Subway [we hope], there was very little regard for … ?hygiene?  ?cleanliness?  ?sanitation?  I don’t know the right word to use, but to sum it up, there was a period of at least 4 minutes that his keys (from his pocket) were ON the cutting board that the food was on – and at least 30 seconds when the roll that was being prepared was ON the keys.  Naturally, g and I raised our eyebrows and looked at each other.  Should we turn back?  We could, but we were impatient and didn’t want to make him start again (and I wondered if he’d even understand what our problem with the sandwich was).  So we chose two different paths.  She chose to mentally monitor which part touched the keys.  I chose to look the other way and forget which part touched the keys – or even that any part touched the keys.  When we finally got our sandwich, she went first … cuz she knew which part would be clean … and kindly handed over the remainder.  Whatever.  I’m sure that worse things are done in the preparation of the meat and veggies and herbs well before we arrived on the scene.  (And she did tell me that was what she was doing – she wasn’t trying to trick me or anything.)

Was it good?  Yea.  It was really good.  It’s far more savory than Sampan’s, which had more acid and more sweet.  The pork was just … porkier.  The bread was softer (i.e. not as crusty) which is good and bad (I like crusty).  The veggies and herbs reminded me of Chifa’s banh mi, as they weren’t really integrated with the meat, rather, distinct flavors on their own.

In conclusion … The sandwich is totally worth $5.50.  Furthermore, as this was our first taste of “legitimate” banh mi (i.e. made by real Asian people at at real Vietnamese restaurant, not white people pretending to be Asian), I’m ready to take on some more “real” banh mi’s in Philly.  Bring it.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

14 May 2010 at 11:45pm

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