When most Penn students think about getting a sandwich their top choices probably come down to Geno's, Pat's, or Koch's.
That's a shame, because one of the best sandwiches in Philadelphia is the banh mi, or a Vietnamese hoagie offered at many small eateries.
Banh mi sandwiches come with different meats, but most are served on a baguette with shredded carrot, pickled radish, pƒté, and cilantro. While not a comprehensive list, the following three places are safe bets for good hoagies:
Cafe Nhu Y
Tucked around the corner from the Italian Market, Cafe Nhu Y is easy to miss.
There's no inside seating and the staff speak minimal English.
The special Banh mi comes with pork, ham and all the fixings. Although a little on the salty side, the Banh mi here are filling and cheap at $2.75. Vegetarian options are also available.
Cafe Houng Lan
Just down the street from Cafe Nhu Y is Cafe Houng Lan, a larger shop with a more expansive menu.
In addition to bahn mi, Café Houng Lan offers pho and other popular dishes.
There is ample seating, but the Vietnamese pop music and videos complete with sing-a-long lyrics playing on two large televisions could get annoying.
The hoagie here is fairly similar to the special at Cafe Nhu Y and it's the same price, but far less salty.
The bread at Houng Lan is noteworthy; it's toasted to perfection on the outside but still soft.
Fu-Wah Mini Market
If going all the way to the Italian Market for a sandwich seems excessive try the tofu hoagie ($3.50) at Fuh-Wah Mini Market.
This sans-mayo vegan sandwich comes with large pieces of fried tofu and sriracha sauce.
Bad fried tofu tends to be soggy and oily, but the tofu at Fuh-Wah is lightly cooked and crisp. The sriracha sauce can be overpowering, so if you're not a fan of spicy food ask for less.
Unlike other places Fuh-Wah is a market with groceries in addition to prepared foods. The aisles here are loaded with ingredients unknown to larger stores.
Vietnamese hoagies are a cheap alternative to pizza and wings, and easy to cut up for a group. So when you finally get sick of gyros, burritos and chicken parm take a trip away from campus for some banh mi.Comments powered by Disqus
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