Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches: Asian Interior, French Exterior

I love Vietnamese sandwiches, crunchy French baguette, fresh cilantro, pickled carrots, thinly sliced spicy peppers, crisp cucumbers and (for me) grilled chicken. Nothing has topped Paris for a delicious grab and go sandwich. A tiny little mom and pop shop was our daily lunch spot when we visited. Cheap and delicious, it demonstrates not only the quality of French bread but also what occurs due to factors of colonization. The Vietnamese sandwich is a by-product of what happens to food ways when one culture is subjected to the influence of the other.


Ok, so enough colonial talk, let’s talk taste. In Paris, they used some kind of animal fat instead of mayonnaise, which made it decadently tasty. But in order to get my fill here, I head to Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwich Shop in the east village. Like the one’s in Paris, it is tiny with a limited menu. For the traditional sandwich, they combine ground pork, ham and of course pâté with the usual, cilantro, pickled carrots, cucumbers and mayo (which I never get, because I have always hated it.) The meat was tender and flavorful and the bread was fresh and French making it the perfect late night snack (or any hour you see fit.) The spring rolls fall flat, in both dipping sauce and flavor. But if you stick to the sandwiches, you are sure to enjoy.

Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches
150 E 2nd St
New York 10009
212-388-1088
http://www.nickyssandwiches.com/

What's your favorite place for Vietnamese sandwich shop?

15 comments:

Nate-n-Annie said...

I love banh mi! My favorite place in San Jose is called Saigon Bakery. I get the #1 special, with different meats and pate - so yummy. And the bread itself is perfect - crispy crackly on the outside, pillow soft on the inside with nice flavor. Annie likes to get the vegetarian version that comes with fried rice noodles and tofu.

Dee said...

I've had Vietnamese sarnies in Vietnam :) They're everywhere there - the baguette it is served in is amazing. Heard they use rice flour in the bread dough - dunno true that is, but they were pretty spectacular.

Manger La Ville said...

nate-n-annie: I have heard of this place. I really want to try it. Oh...and the vegetarian one sounds spectacular.
dee: I would love to try them in Vietnam, their place of birth. That would be interesting to know, if the baguette does contain rice flour, another mutation to the French baguette

Grace said...

what a great combination of cuisines! unfortunately for me, i live in a hole of a town with no decent ethnic restaurants, so i'll be living vicariously through you. :)

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

There's several places in Chinatown and yet I don't know the name of any of them. I always rely on my mom to take me. There's one that is in the back of a jewelry store. Weird huh?

Maria said...

I haven't had a sandwich like this before, but it looks really tasty!

Manger La Ville said...

Grace: I totally take for granted all the different cuisine and food choices I have in NYC.
Food Mayhem: Next time your mom takes you, write a post, so I can try all of them.

bakingobsession said...

This sandwich makes me hungry. Too bad I don't have Vietnamese cafes nearby.

Anonymous said...

Your descriptions of the sandwiches are appetizing and entertaining. I need to go to NYC or Paris to try them!

Rhyleysgranny said...

This sandwich looks very good. You have a very nice and tasty blog. Thank you for taking the time to comment on mine
x

Alexa said...

That looks so good... My CSA gave out a recipe for this exact sandwich. All those flavors are right up my taste alley. Now my mouth is watering... I need to dig up the recipe and give it a go. Thanks for the inspiration!

cook eat FRET said...

no idea
but i want one
but i don't pickle my own stuff
damnit...

Manger La Ville said...

Alexa: That is so cool that your CSA gave you a recipe for it.
Cook Eat Fret: I think these pickled carrots aren't too pickle-y. They might be really quick to make. Yet, for me these sandwiches are pretty cheap, I always end up purchasing them rather then buying them.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to note the influence on ethnic food once someone moves to the US. My opinion is that smart "foodie" differentiate themselves by adaption not duplication. I believe there is a Japanese restaurant in Manhattan that too has adapted itself and serves what would be non-traditional food (but my memory is fuzzy so it might be another pacific rim country). Keep up the great investigative writing, it is always a pleasure to read your insightful thoughts.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

back in brooklyn, i loved the nicky's that opened a few years ago on atlantic avenue! here in sydney, i'm partial to RedRoll. RedRoll doesn't sell vietnamese iced coffee, though, which is highly unfortunate.