If you live or find yourself in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, or the greater Borough Park area, you may want to try Ba Xuyen for lunch. Ba Xuyen is a Vietnamese sandwich shop located at 4222 Eighth Avenue, near 42nd street. For those that haven’t yet had any Vietnamese food, or the cuisine’s tasty sandwiches, they are deliciously different from most others, with strong Asian and French influences.
For example, some of the most common sandwiches, known as Banh Mi, will combine the flavors of Vietnamese style roasted pork or pate with pickled vegetables (such as daikon and carrots), piled into a French baguette. Other common elements include sweet-chili paste and garlic infused mayonnaise, or at least its most reasonable Vietnamese facsimile. Bahn Mi is certainly worth a try, and this may be the best place to try one in Brooklyn, if not all of New York City.
Beyond sandwiches, Ba Xuyen sells other sweet and savory foods and snacks, including soups and, Vietnamese iced coffee and an icy thick avocado shake that will really help balance out some of the hotter foods. For those of you familiar with Vietnamese food, you may be shocked to find that Ba Xuyen does not serve Pho, which is a mainstay in most Vietnamese restaurants (akin to a Thai place not having Pad Thai). Despite Pho’s absence, Ba Xuyen has a tasty Hu Tieu, which is composed of a light soup broth, thin rice noodles, Vietnamese sausage, shrimp and slices of pork.
Moreover, the place is very reasonably priced. The sandwiches will cost you less than $5, with most priced at $4.00. On a price to taste ratio, you will be hard pressed to find a better deal than Ba Xuyen for lunch. Be sure to bring some cash as they do not accept cards.
A word to the wise: if you do dislike cilantro, as many do not, Vietnamese cuisine regularly has sprinkles of the herb in its food. If you are sensitive to the flavor, ask for no cilantro.