With numerous Chicago snowstorms in full effect this month — fully encapsulating cars and blanketing walkways — I’ve been limited to local eateries and decided to try out a Vietnamese sandwich spot near me for dinner. Eating my way through the Vietnamese restaurants that run the food scene in Uptown, I know a thing or two about a good Bánh Mì. After dredging through inches of street-kissed snow, I arrived to pick up the order I called in at Bon Bon Sandwiches: Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls and a Char Siu Pork Bánh Mì.
Shrimp Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Char Siu Pork Bánh Mì
Delivery Service: Pick-up
Total Price: $17
The meal started with a fan favorite (Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls) and ended with a cult classic (Bánh Mì). Together, these two items made for a wonderful, satiating and tasty dinner for one. Bon Bon didn’t, however. sell bonbons – can you believe it? As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bonbon. Anyway, onto the food.
The Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls were served with a housemade peanut sauce. One appetizer order came with three rolls filled with shrimp and veggies commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine, such as bean sprouts, perilla leaves (Tía Tô) and cilantro. I thought that these were good, but only when dipped into the peanut sauce. There could’ve been something else in the rolls to liven them up and add more flavor and life to the roll itself; perhaps shredded carrot would’ve been a yummy addition. Regardless, when dipped into the sauce, they were a delicious, healthy start to my meal.
When eating a Bánh Mì, there are a few important ingredients that I always look out for and expect. The first, and in my opinion, most important ingredient, is the bread that holds and unifies all of the other delicious ingredients — the famous Vietnamese baguette. A good baguette is one that is crispy and delicate on the outside and soft and airy on the inside. The bread of a Bánh Mì isn’t meant to be dense because it has to marry with all the other ingredients that make the sandwich a Bánh Mì. Crisp, crunchy, sweet pickled veggies are a component of a Bánh Mì that make it stand out against other cultural iterations of “the sandwich.”
And of course, never forget the importance of cilantro. It can make or break your Bánh Mì — although, I would be shocked if there was a Bánh Mì served without cilantro because I’ve yet to see one. The Bánh Mì at Bon Bon Sandwiches wasn’t disappointing and had me walking away with a smile, now knowing that there is a yummy Bánh Mì place down the street from me. It was delicious, from the Savory Char Siu Pork and sweet fresh pickled veggies to the airy, flakey Vietnamese baguette. It was an incredibly enjoyable eating experience.
One thing I did notice that was different compared to the Bánh Mì places I’ve eaten at before was the menu and different sandwich style offerings. Usually, there are options such as Lemongrass Chicken or BBQ Pork, but they didn’t have options like that. It seems this spot has a small vegan/vegetarian focus, offering a lot of meat-less options in placement for tofu or veggies. I think that this balance between offerings for meat eaters and the opposite are why the meat options aren’t as expansive as I’m used to — but that’s definitely a sacrifice I can make for more people to be able to enjoy their delicious food.
Overall, a great takeout experience and a new local favorite food spot of mine. Bon Bon Sandwiches is located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, serving delicious, authentic Vietnamese food that is vegan/vegetarian friendly. I’m eager to go back and try out more food off their menu — especially their Vietnamese iced coffee, an absolute favorite of mine.