Bánh mì in Louisville (part 7 of an onging series): No-go at Cafe Thuy Van, Rereturn to Dong Phuong

So I continue to be awfully short on new places to go, at least until that Indocanadian French food truck gets out on the road. I finally got to Cafe Thuy Van several weeks ago: the bad news is that they don’t have most of the traditional sandwiches, although eventually I reckon I’ll go down and have one of their breakfast-like sandwiches. But a few weeks back I went down south on a shopping expedition, and went back to my old haunt, the deli counter at Dong Phuong.

[Photo of a sandwich from Dong Phuong]Dong Phuong (6705 Strawberry Lane) has, as has been discussed here before, a menu board with six varieties of bánh mì on, but they only seem able, at any given time, to make a small sampling of them. On this visit they had the cold-cut varieties which I’ve had before, but they were also equipped to make a xíu mại, which was a pretty solid bargain at $3. I was able to catch the counterworker off the phone early, so I didn’t have to wait around to place my order. Time passed swiftly in the company of an amiable local who was suspicious of the sandwiches but talked the counterworker into splitting a $5 Little Caesar’s pizza and bought my $2 bill off of me when I took it out to pay with.

So, since I was having a different sandwich than on the last two visits, the obvious question is: how was the meat? It was juicy to the point of being nearly runny, leading to a much moister sandwich than the cold-cut varieties, which actually worked out quite well: previous Dong Phuong sandwiches were a bit dry, without aggressive mayo, and with regard to the etceteras (mayo, fish sauce, pickles) this was no different, but the juicy crushed meatballs more than made up for the lack of sauces from a moisture-level perspective. Dong Phuong has demonstrated inconsistency in bread substantiality, and this time I was lucky to get a robust roll, since I imagine some of their “wonderbread-interior” rolls wouldn’t hold up to the liquid elements here. On pickles the sandwich was satisfactory but not inspired: I could’ve done with a touch more daikon. Cilantro was ample, and the overall flavor balance was nicely herbal in a way which worked well on a summer afternoon.

Dong Phuong continues to be a provisionally acceptable place, although in Iroquois that’s not high praise, I’m afraid. Althoguh many other places don’t do xíu mại, so if you’re hankering for that meat, this rises closer to the top. The inconsistency both in menu-item availability and bread quality continues to frustrate, but outside these parameters their sandwiches are actually pretty tasty. I’d actually give their xíu mại the nod over their cold-cut specialties, since it addresses some of the deficiencies I’ve noted before (particularly, the sparingness of the dressing).

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

One Response to Bánh mì in Louisville (part 7 of an onging series): No-go at Cafe Thuy Van, Rereturn to Dong Phuong

  1. Thank you. Now I’m starving.

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