Vietnamese food is great. The end.
I should probably write some more, seeing as how this is supposed to be a review of the “Paris Sandwich” truck. With a pair of restaurants and now a food truck, “Paris Sandwich” brings distinctly Vietnamese flavors across Manhattan and into your stomach. This particular vehicle hauls the French-inspired traditional Vietnamese baguette sandwiches around the city at an affordable price. Yes, before the word “fusion” ever rolled off of a food critics tongue, Vietnam was immersed in the French culture from years of being a French colony.
A diverse and small menu keeps things simple for this truck, but don’t be fooled by the size of it. Strong flavors are balanced playfully with each other to make for a one-of-a kind experience that you typically expect when you order Vietnamese food. Let’s dig in to one of the five sandwiches that this truck has!
The Canh Chua Fish Baguette ($8) consists of a fried whitefish filet, slathered in a sticky and tangy tamarind sauce, and topped with pineapple, basil leaves, garlic crisps, and sliced tomatoes. These is a lot of contrasting flavor happening with this sweet and spicy sandwich, tied together on their fresh-baked Vietnamese baguettes, which uses a combination of rice and wheat flour. The bread is quite stellar, reminding me of the kind of bread you would get from an authentic Philly Cheese Steak place in Pennsylvania, with a supple interior but a crust that is just firm enough to hold its shape and contents and give you a wonderful crunch, without chipping a tooth or making your sandwich crumble apart.
I need to apologize for the photos in this review, as they do not do justice to how good it tasted. Sometimes, food just is not photogenic, and this was one of those cases. With that disclaimer out of the way, here is a look at the interior of this sandwich. You can see the tamarind sauce forming a wall on the opposite side of the fish, sticking the toppings to the bread in a way that does not look too pleasing. However, the Canh Chua fish baguette is a great sandwich to try and one of the more adventurous ones on their menu. If you are not a fish fan or want something meatier, try their soy-marinated grilled chicken, spicy shrimp with lemongrass and caramelized onions, or the spicy coconut curry beef (each one is also $8). If you are vegetarian, there is a stir-fry lemongrass tofu baguette just for you, too.
I genuinely wish I had better pictures of the sandwich because I liked it that much, but what can you do when you got bread and meat to work with? “Paris Sandwich” has some great options, and this fish baguette was an exceptional one worth trying. Strong and diverse flavors that play well with each other are what make this such a unique and delicious bite to eat, and with a price that can not be beat for such quality. I look forward to trying more baguettes from this truck, and maybe venturing to their store for their full menu.
“Paris Sandwich” has the truck that I visited that travels around NYC, as well as two brick-and-mortar stores, one on 113 Mott Street, and the other on 213 Grand St.