Just outside of Little Saigon in the Tenderloin is Saigon Sandwich, a cash-only institution that’s been around for decades, and for good reason—it’s home to the best bánh mì in San Francisco.
The Vietnamese counter-serve spot on Larkin runs a tight ship. There’s usually a line around lunchtime, but it moves pretty quickly. And after you place your order, your sandwich will be made, tightly wrapped, and handed to you, seemingly within seconds. The short menu consists of bánh mì with different fillings, from roast chicken or tofu to a special combination with ham and thick pâté, plus a swath of creamy mayo, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, and jalapeño.
We’re not being hyperbolic when we say we’ve never been disappointed with anything here. The proteins are tender and well-seasoned, the French rolls are crackly and fresh, and each sandwich is loaded with an impressive amount of filling. It all adds up to a fantastic lunch that we consider picking up at least once a week. Plus, at around $5 each, one bánh mì will cost you less than an hour of parking on Hayes St.
Roast Chicken Bánh Mì
The best option on the menu. The chicken is always juicy and flavorful, and it’s balanced out really nicely with the crunchy veggies and creamy mayo.
Roast Pork Bánh Mì
Our other go-to. They don’t skimp on the pork, and for that, we are very grateful.
Combination Bánh Mì
The combination comes with steamed pork, roast pork, and a generous helping of rich pâté, which we wish we could save to spread on every sandwich and charcuterie board we encounter for the rest of our lives.
Meat Ball Pork Bánh Mì
If the sandwiches on this menu had superlatives, this xiu mai one would be crowned Sauciest Of All Time. The meat is tender, salty-sweet, and soaks up all the mayo.
The iced Vietnamese coffee works wonders as a midday pick-me-up. It’s strong, creamy, and on the sweeter side.