Dish of the week: Grilled pork banh mi

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pork

Gently sweet grilled pork? Check. Tangy, crunchy pickled carrot and daikon? Check and check. Floral cilantro, fierce raw jalapeno and homemade mayonnaise? Check, check and check. Housemade French baguettes? Well, seven-and-a-half out of eight isn’t bad.

This stuffed banh mi sandwich ($6.45) is one of my favorite of its kind in town. There’s probably more chargrilled pork stuffed into that soft roll than any banh mi I’ve had in town. No, the bread is not completely homemade, but they do finish the product they receive par-baked from out of state. Not bad for a trailer.

Tebi Nguyen has been selling banh mi sandwiches and more from his wood-paneled red trailer Saigon Le Vendeur for two years. He previously worked at ramen spot Daruma, but it’s the cuisine of his native Vietnam that is the star here. Saigon Le Vendeur also sells a tofu sandwich, spicy chicken, pork patty and O.G. version. That last one comes with aromatic Vietnamese meatloaf and pate. Today’s special was also a winner: a bowl of springy vermicelli and crisp bean sprouts and lettuce scattered with about a half-dozen grilled shrimp warmed with toasted garlic ($11).

Saigon Le Vendeur (located at 2404 E. Seventh Street next to the MetroRail tracks) is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. If they were located just a little closer to bars, they’d sell a million of those sandwiches at night.

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