Sunday, December 18, 2011

L is for: Little Saigon

On Friday, as my photographer Rob I were covering the sentencing the sentencing of Home Run King Barry Bonds, I noticed we were in a specific section of the Tenderloin called Little Saigon.

I looked it up, and apparently in 2004, the city of San Francisco officially designated the two-block stretch of Larkin Street between Eddy and O'Farrell streets, as Little Saigon. About 15% of the city's Vietnamese-American residents live in that area, and the businesses in that corridor are predominantly Vietnamese. Enter a little hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop called Saigon Sandwich.

It was recommended by the satellite truck operator from our sister station, NBC. It's no doubt well-known by the people who often find themselves covering courthouse proceedings, but I had never heard of it. From the outside, it looks nothing like a place you'd like to eat. An unassuming awning scribbled with graffiti and a tiny little shop with barely enough room for the two ladies making sandwiches. But as they say, don't judge a book by its cover. For starters, there was a line. Usually that's a pretty good sign. And secondly, check out the glowing reviews on Yelp. 4.5 stars in SF is usually a more than solid bet.


Despite Rob's hesitation, and him dubbing it a "death sandwich" before we even got to the front of the line...we were not disappointed. Rob got the roasted pork and I got the chicken banh mi. If you've never had a Vietnamese sandwich, you're missing out. The meat is generally marinated in some sort of lemongrass or five-spice flavoring, and they are served on a perfectly crunchy-on-the-outside-but-soft-on-the-inside roll, and topped with fresh vegetables like carrots, cilantro and jalapeños. I love, love, love them. Rob wasn't AS impressed...I think the exact quote was "I'm not doing backflips or anything, but it's pretty good. Especially the bread." I asked if maybe a half backflip was warranted, and he agreed it was.


OH! And I haven't even mentioned the best part yet. These little sandwiches will only run you $3.25. What a deal! Subway can't even compete with that, and these are ten times better. As you can see, I hated mine. Just kidding...this was all that was left after devouring my precious little banh mi in about three minutes flat. If you don't mind dodging a few crackheads in the Tenderloin, this place is totally worth every penny and more!

6 comments:

  1. Even though I just ate dinner, I'm still hungry after looking at this blog. Oh and I now feel like I'm taking a stroll on "Sesame Street". Ha ha ha! You can bet that whenever I have the time like on a Warriors off day, I'll try to see the blog more Mrs. Sire.

    Wow. I have lived here in the Bay Area pretty much my whole life and I now know that San Francisco has its own Little Saigon. 7 years ago, huh? Not long ago.

    4 1/2 stars on Yelp is a good thing. (Good old Yelp.) The next time I'm in San Francisco, I'll try to remember the place. I usually get the banh mi also and yes, they're good.

    You need to tell Rob that Vietnamese food is one of the healthiest in the world. No way is it a "death sandwich". A quadruple cheeseburger with bacon and steak is what you call a "death sandwich".

    Can't say much else. Keep up the terrific work both here and in the sports world Mrs. Sire. In case I don't return quickly enough, enjoy the Holidays. ^_^

    - Don Umali, San Jose

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  2. Saigon Sandwich easily beats Ikes and the other San Francisco sandwich superstars on my list of favorites. Glad to see it has another convert!

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  3. Hi Jaymee; Saigon Sandwiches are a must for me when I visit; if you haven't tried them yet, their fresh spring rolls with shrimp, glass noodles, veggies, and a peanut dipping sauce is to die for, and cheap.

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  4. I certainly enjoy Saigon Sandwich, its solidly good and impossible to beat for the price. I wasn't a big fan of their chicken though, last one I had came with some bones in it that did indeed try to kill me. You should also check out the off the grid deal in civic center if you're ever around for lunch! I had a banh mi from HapaSF that had adobo chicken in it and was miles beyond the flavor of saigon, though it was more than twice as much in $!

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  6. I certainly enjoy Saigon Sandwich, its solidly good and impossible to beat for the price. I wasn't a big fan of their chicken though, last one I had came with some bones in it that did indeed try to kill me. You should also check out the off the grid deal in civic center if you're ever around for lunch! I had a banh mi from HapaSF that had adobo chicken in it and was miles beyond the flavor of saigon, though it was more than twice as much in $! Latest Nature Pictures

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I would LOVE to hear what you think. I read every comment and get a little giddy when I see someone has left one on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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