The banh mi sandwich is proof that combining meat, fat and crusty bread is always a good idea.
Located in a small brown building at corner of North Salina and Butternut streets in Syracuse, just on the other side of Interstate 81, Ky Duyen Cafe serves up a top-notch rendition of Vietnam’s favorite sandwich.
The thought of slathering pork pâté and mayonnaise on a roll and then filling it with more pork sounds too rich, but where banh mi shines is in the balance. The pickled carrot and daikon radish serve as a needed acidic punch, while the cilantro, chiles and cucumber cut through the unctuous fat. The crusty roll, warmed in a toaster oven to order, is the perfect foil.
The best part? It's only $5. Tax included.
There are five different banh mi at Ky Duyen: four with pork and one with sardines. They can also be made vegetarian. They're all good, but the No. 1, which comes with grilled pork and Vietnamese sausage, and the No. 3, which has barbecue pork, are the two standouts.
Ky Duyen opens at 8 a.m., making the cafe the perfect place to nurse a hangover with a big bowl of soup or a fatty, meaty sandwich. Though not on the menu, Ky Duyen also serves pho and broken rice, which based on the several plastic takeout containers filled with rice and meat waiting on the counter nearly every time I visit, is a hit for those in the know.
Now you're in the know too.
Address: 488 N. Salina St., Syracuse.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Phone: (315) 471-5207