Bun Mi is the new kid on the sandwich block in Minneapolis these days. This tiny little shop has been open for a few weeks and kicks out Bubble Tea and vermicelli noodle salads along with their big Vietnamese sandwiches offered at student-friendly prices.
They have a few interesting interpretations on the classic Bánh mì, and since there are few traditional sandwiches that I find more interesting, it was tough for me to stay away for long. I quickly read the sandwich board and spit out and order for the "Bun Mi" Special featuring grilled pork and "specialty eggs" as soon as I read the words (if they go as far as to call it special, I figured they would do their best to back it up).
The Bun Mi construction begins with a pretty standard baguette, nothing incredible, but certainly not detrimental either. The sandwich is generously layered with fresh, crunchy vegetables including pickled carrots, daikon, green onions, cucumbers, cilantro and jalapeños. There is something about the combination of cilantro and jalapeño on a sandwich that just makes it happen for me. I feel that the fresh ingredients they use surpass their local competition while adding some complex flavors to this unique sandwich.
They really pile the eggs on and although they were properly cooked they had a bit of an odd effect on the texture of the baguette, leaving it a bit more moist then I'd like. I would have expected something chopped and integrated with the other warm fillings, but a dense layer of eggs sat on top what I felt was tender, but just average roasted pork. I would have expected the swine to carry the sandwich, but it fell pretty short in my opinion, surrendering to the bright flavors of the vegetables. The range of textures was finished off with a slather of Bun Mi's "special" (they really love this word) mayo which turned out to be about as special as a Kirsten Dunst film.
Sandwich Rating: Tasty. The big sandwich emitted some big flavors, but I was a little dissapointed in the pork and its lack of prevalence in the experience. A good pork presence and a bit more egg integration would have knocked my bib off, but there just wasn't enough to take the rating up a level. I think I'll try the lemongrass chicken on my return visit.
Epic Sandwich copyright 2009 by Teddy Hobbins