The first time I encountered tempeh, I was a high-schooler venturing trepidatiously into a vegetarian restaurant in Atlanta, and the soy patty sandwich blew me away.
Since then, I have never had tempeh that impressed me much, until this tempeh banh mi at Urban Picnic. The protein is savory, spiced, and layered with flavor, like a good marinated meat.
More details and photos after the jump.
To kick off my Dublin sandwich coverage, here's a sandwich that has nothing to do with Ireland. But doesn't it look delicious? On our way to the airport, I made a not-so-quick stop at Saigon Sandwiches in the 'loin, and Andrew swung by to pick me up in a cab.
A bit excessive? Sure. But it beats crappy airport food. After all, it's important to start a vacation off on the right foot, and sometimes, that means starting at Saigon Sandwiches. What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever done to secure good food for a flight?
In New York City, I'm told, banh mi are so 2008, perhaps because the New York Times discovered them? But San Francisco's two-block Vietnamese sandwich mecca, in Little Saigon, is still very much worth a trip. Particularly Saigon Sandwiches, which despite being profiled in Esquire and Yelped silly remains a reliably cheap and unbelievably delicious hole in the wall.
The $3 sandwiches come with a limited number of filling options; the chicken, pork, and pork meatball are too divine for me to ever order the tofu. My favorite is the chicken, pictured here. Check out the mouth-watering details and an indulgent number of pics.
When people ask what my favorite sandwich is — as they often do — I can never really pick a favorite. But one of my standard answers is a chicken banh mi from Saigon Sandwiches in San Francisco. Because when it comes to the ratio of price to deliciousness, the $3 banh mi is pretty much the best sandwich ever. A tasty tribute to the benefits of colonialism, this piece of Vietnamese street food combines unusual Asian flavors like cilantro and rice vinegar with delectably crusty French bread.
A story in this week's New York Times profiles banh mi makers who are turning the sandwiches into cross-cross-cultural delights, using the French-Vietnamese platform for unlikely fillings, like Polish sausage and sloppy joe. Given that a favorite banh mi filling is pork meatball, I can imagine such meaty fillings working well against the hot peppers, crunchy carrots, and Asian mayo that typically dress a banh mi. Much the same way that po'boys and heroes have expanded beyond their origins, the boundaries of a banh mi could be pushed pretty far as long as you maintain the basic definition of the sandwich.