A Sandwich a Day: Pate and Pork Bánh Mì at Nhu Lan's Saigon Subs

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.


[Photograph: Amy Cavanaugh]

I left Lincoln Square six months ago, and all I've missed from that neighborhood is Nhu Lan. I used to live near the shop at Lawrence and Rockwell, and I would often use the 15 minute walk in each direction to justify getting the bakery's amazing bánh mì. Obviously I'm riding a good karma wave, because last week the bakery opened Nhu Lan's Saigon Subs at Belmont and Broadway—right around the corner from my new apartment.

The menu at Saigon Subs is essentially the same as at the original, but they've tweaked my standard order, the pâté and pork roll ($3.95), just a bit; now the sandwich includes slices of pork roll that are a little bit thicker and fried, which makes it feel more substantial. The meat is tucked into a freshly baked baguette that's soft inside with a crunchy crust, and topped with pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber spears, jalapeño coins, a couple sprigs of cilantro, and a slather of mayonnaise. The combination is simple but nicely balanced between the acidic pickles, spicy peppers, and salty pâté. I'm going to have to start thinking how to justify getting the sandwich each week, because it's impossible to walk by the shop without stopping for my favorite bánh mì in the city.

Nhu Lan's Saigon Subs

604 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL 60657 (map)