Duc Loi Kitchen serves up bitchin’ banh mi sandwiches on opening day

duc loi, banh mi, vietnamese sandwich, mission district, san francisco, duc loi kitchen

Duc Loi Market at 18th/Mission officially kicked off its brand new kitchen today, and the star of the show is the “Authentic Vietnamese” sandwich, which owner Amanda Ngo serves piled high with cured ham, pork belly, chicken liver pâté, and head cheese. How does it compare with the $3.50 banh mi’s you’ll find elsewhere in the city? The quality of ingredients, proximity to the Mission, generous portions, and overall flavor package make it well worth the extra buck and change.

The menu also has a good breadth of variety – including a fried chicken sandwich, a BBQ menu, and a veggie portobello tofu sandwich that can be made vegan if you ask for no mayo. According to Helen Tseng, “It’s as big as your head and contains about half an avocado”. Hit the jump for a closer look!


Banh mi arrives at Duc Loi Market

These days, I can’t go a week without hearing someone lament the lack of a steady banh mi source in the Mission (usually, those rants are from Andrew Sarkarati). Lament no more, for starting tomorrow, Duc Loi Market will be selling five delicious Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches for $5 a pop, 11am-7pm every day.

And if you can’t wait until tomorrow, there’s an opening tasting party tonight, 3pm-6pm.

[via Rice Paper Scissors]

Banh Mi in the Mission?

I happened upon a photo this morning that threatened to turn the whole Mission upside-down.  Geographic cues indicated that it was taken merely down the street on Valencia, so I just had to investigate, questionable grammar aside.

First, a little back story:  I’ve been searching for a dependable Vietnamese sandwich spot in the Mission for quite a while now, but to no avail.  My interest was especially piqued by the whole street cart movement that started last summer, but the hours of the mobile banh mi vendors were just a little too irregular for my taste.  Which brings us to today . . .

The mystery spot in question predictably turned out to be Thanh Tam II, the other Vietnamese restaurant.  You know, the one you go to on those rare days when the wait for Sunflower looks to be over 30 minutes.  The host gave me the choice of chicken, beef, or pork, but informed me the price would be $5.50 rather than $5.  Nonetheless, I ordered a pork to go and headed back home.

The sandwich was amply packed with a generous assortment of carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapenos, and onions (but no daikon).  Also absent was any sort of pate lining, which would have deftly complimented the well-marinated, tangy pork cuts.  Instead, only mayonnaise coated the bun, which was a perfectly flaky roll similar to those used by the Saigon ladies.  Size-wise, the sandwich looked to be about the same as its Tenderloin counterpart, although it didn’t feel quite as hefty.

To be fair, it was their first day serving banh mi, so they still have some time to work out the kinks.  I do see a lot of potential, however.  All in all, it’s definitely nice to finally have a go-to Vietnamese sandwich alternative here in the Mission, even if we have to pay an extra $2 convenience fee.

[Initial Photo by pagedesign]


Inside the Banh Mi Cart Test Kitchen

Banh Mi by Mai

Saigon Sandwich Serving Spring Rolls


At $4 a pack, they’re competitive with LEE’S up the street, but they taste so delicious!  The shrimp is lightly seasoned to subtly augment the flavor while the lettuce, noodles, and rice paper impress with their freshness.  I only tried a package with the peanut sauce (which was fantastic, BTW), so no verdict yet on the delectableness of the fish sauce.

When is someone in the Mission going to get their act together and open a banh mi shop?


Inside the Banh Mi Cart Test Kitchen

Banh Mi by Mai

Snacking on Cushman Banh Mi