Sandwich Mish Mash

I like sandwiches, generally speaking. Admittedly, many times I find myself tossing half the bread, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the quality of some good, crunchy bread especially some hot toasted baguettes. I just don’t like to fill my tummy unnecessarily with all the extra carbs.

I decided to highlight two sandwich places in this entry, both quite popular amongst those in the know but also quite different from each other in terms of cuisine and taste.

In my opinion, the best Vietnamese sandwich aka Banh Mi place in the South Bay is Huong Lan Sandwich with locations in San Jose and Milpitas. In addition to a variety of different sandwiches, it doubles as a deli/fast food place where you take hot food to go and purchase a spectrum of different Vietnamese snacks and other edible goodies.  I have really only tried the sandwiches.  My two favorite ones being the Grilled Pork sandwich (aka Banh Mi Thit Nuong) and the Special Combination sandwich (Banh Mi Dac Biet).  I think I’m slightly more in favor the Banh Mi Dac Biet, because I just love the combination of Vietnamese deli meats, housemade mayo, pate and pickled vegetables. A lot of it is in the pate really, and the Special Combo sandwich is just loaded with more than enough of this decadent sandwich condiment.  Praise for the Special Combo aside, I don’t mean to take anything away from the Grilled Pork Sandwich which is still mighty darn good in its own right.  The meat is appropriately grilled so it has that slightly smokey, charred taste and is perfectly complemented by the pickled carrots and daikon radish that truly epitomize each and every Vietnamese sandwich.

Roli Roti is a much raved about mobile rotisserie truck that I often see on Saturdays at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market.  I”m usually able to distinguish it from the various other food stalls in large part due to the long ass line that usually extends from its stand. Although I’m fascinated by the whole chickens and chunks of pork I see roasting on the rotisserie, I’ve never been curious enough to endure the line to give these sandwiches a try.  Fortuitously, in honor of Bike to Work Day, Roli Roti was brought in to cater lunch for everyone at work.  It was AWESOME!  My coworkers and I were supposed to just stop by and pick some free accessories and giveaways. (For some reason, my co workers love the GRide water bottle.)  But once I saw the numerous Roli Roti trucks, I convinced them to stand in line with me.

They were serving the infamous Porchetta Sandwich which comes with garlic and herb-flavored pork tenderloin pieces, a caramelized onion marmalade, and arugula on an Acme roll.  The pork is so surprisingly juicy and succulent considering that pork is normally a very bland and dry.  It almost melts in your mouth.  I’m not sure of all the seasonings, but there was definitely some rosemary, pepper and a good amount of sea salt that you could really taste in some bites of the sandwich. However, the best part of the whole thing was the crispy pork skin with its not-so-thin layer of fat which added a nice richness with each bite.  The crunchy pork skin is not exactly like the kind you get with the Roasted Pork from the Asian markets which has a more crackle quality to it, but it still tastes pretty good and adds a nice crispy texture to the sandwich.  Yummy! I think the Acme bread is too tough for my liking though, so after a couple of initial bites, I ended up leaving most of the bread and going protein-only.  I definitely enjoyed the sandwich, and I’m even more grateful that although I had to wait a 20min line, I got to sample it for FREE!

Overall, both sandwiches were very good, and I would highly recommend either one.  They are both VERY filling, so one sandwich is more than enough for one person.

Huong Lan Sandwich
1655 Tully Rd
San Jose, CA 95122

PAFO Ratings for Huong Lan Sandwich:
Price 1 stars
Ambiance 1 stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 3½ stars

Roli Roti
San Francisco Bay Area

PAFO Ratings for Roli Roti:
Price N/A
Ambiance 1 stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 3½ stars


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