Growing up in a country where “banh mi” is as ubiquitous as internet piracy, I’ve never actually taken a liking to this type of food. There’s something about sandwiches in general that, to me, seems unappetizing no matter how pretty they look.
This, however, changed when I came to the States.
After months and months of “immersing” myself in my unsurprisingly disastrous college food scene, I came to feel that maybe cold sandwiches weren’t all that bad. “Banh mi” suddenly becomes desirable, thanks to the consistently greasy philly cheesesteak that the food provider bombarded us with at school and the mere fact that it was simply inaccessible (in the tiny village of Hamilton). You may have noticed that I have completely gone off topic with the initial purpose of this post, and is probably about to skip these lines to dive into those photos.
So the thing is I & a few friends rented a room in Brooklyn this winter break, and among the numerous food journeys, we “discovered” a small little Banh Mi shop in East Williamsburg: Nam Nam. It might be a challenge to find your way to “Nam Nam,” not so much because of the location as of its serious lack of business sign. I suspected that the shop was relying on some loyalty program, since it didn’t look like they wanted to either impress or attract new customers.
Despite being small in size, Nam Nam’s Vietnamese baguette sandwiches (banh mi) sure pack a punch! We tried the grilled pork banh mi, which is obviously always the best choice.
To my surprise, this banh mi tastes very close to what we have in Vietnam. The baguette’s crust is a little thick, but is made up for my the generous fillings of juicy pork meat and fresh, crunchy vegetables. One very nice touch of Nam Nam’s banh mi is that their carrots are actually pickled, which adds some acidity and provides a clean aftertaste. Still, I feel like the bread could have done with less of them since the carrot-to-meat ratio was about 3:2 …
Just look at how much carrot they got in there…
Vietnamese Spring Rolls, mediocre flavors with small serving size 😦
We also ordered Taro Bubble Tea and Milk Bubble Tea, which actually tastes a lot better than I expected. There wasn’t too much ice and the bubbles were fairly chewy (yes!). I highly recommend their Taro, which is sweeter and has a slightly richer taste.
Taro bubble tea (left) and Milk bubble tea (right) at $3.5 each
109 Montrose Ave