Jalapeño Everything?

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Dinner was banh mi from Nhu Lan. These are the best banh mi outside of Vietnam (and maybe even including Vietnam. I’ll have to go there to find out).

Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich served on French bread. The vegetarian options at Nhu Lan are ginger tofu, lemongrass tofu, and veggie classic (my favorite).

My husband wanted the ginger tofu:

And I got a veggie classic + a cantaloupe avocado bubble tea:

I’m not completely sure what is on the veggie classic, but like the other sandwiches, it includes slightly pickled cucumber, carrots, taro (I think), cilantro, and jalapeño. That is, if you say yes when the lady taking the order asks, “Jalapeño Everything?”

This restaurant is so delicious and so cheap. All the bread is made in-house, and it’s crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The vegetables are flavor packed, and the Vietnamese mayo is just right. Each sandwich is $3.50. The bubble teas are also $3.50 each.

It’s also super small- the ordering/eating/waiting area is approximately 8 feet by 12 feet. Yet there were 16 people there when I was ordering these sandwiches. The only downside is that there have been a couple of times when I wanted to go, but had to skip it because it was so packed, I couldn’t get in the door.

I love taking out-of-town guests there, especially ones who do not generally like trying new foods. Everyone who has gone has been impressed by the quality and taste of the sandwiches.

So next time you’re in Chicago, stop by Nhu Lan. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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10 responses »

      • My mom usually makes them for me. I can see what she recommends and get back to you. I like homemade banh mi because you can control what goes into it, and you know exactly what the ingredients are!

        I know starting with really good, crusty bread is essential. Sometimes we eat ours with good butter and a bit of soy sauce or Maggi sauce (similar to soy sauce – available at Asian grocery store or maybe even a regular supermarket) instead of mayo, but mayo works too. Pickled daikon and carrots are important too.

        This recipe for pickled daikon from NYT is adapted from a good Vietnamese cookbook that I own, so it should be pretty reliable: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/dining/081brex.html

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