Sacramento, CA 95823
In no dish is the influence of French colonialists on Vietnamese cuisine so apparent as in the banh mi, a baguette-based sandwich that bears a striking resemblance to something you’d order in a Paris wine bar. But the Vietnamese have improved on the simplicity of the French article, which is often merely pâté and some cornichons shoved into a length of crisply crusted bread. You can get pâté (or almost any other meat you choose: roasted or grilled pork, chicken, ham, meatballs or even head cheese) in a banh mi, but you’ll also get pickled carrot and daikon shreds, cilantro and slices of jalapeno, making for an excellent handheld lunch with bright sparks of flavor. They’re turned out with unbelievable efficiency at Huong Lan Sandwiches, a gleaming banh-mi palace where, for less than $5, you can get both a sandwich and a deliciously strong and sweet iced coffee with tapioca pearls—another Vietnamese improvement on something they no doubt got from the French. 6930 65th Street, Suite 109; (916) 429-9999; www.hlsandwiches.com.