Thursday, October 28, 2010

Song Que

We liked our first adventure to Eden Center so much that we were eager to return to test drive the famous banh mi sandwiches. After navigating the crazy parking lot (tip: just park in the far reaches and walk), we headed to Song Que, located in the back corner of the shopping center.

The owners of Four Sisters (Huong Que) moved out of this bustling space a few years ago and moved their tiny deli (Song Que) from next door into the former restaurant location. The result is a spacious deli/market with a small seating area in the back. You might encounter a bit of chaos when you enter, but the staff kept the orders moving rapidly. Our cashier kept apologizing to me because I had to wait about five minutes. Speed is the name of the game at Song Que.

B and I are headed to Vietnam in a few months and are on a mission to become more acquainted with the cuisine before our trip. Trying banh mi was a must. Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich served on a baguette, and stuffed with meat and pickled vegetables. We've been told that they cost less than 75 cents in Vietnam and, after tasting Song Que's version, I have a feeling we'll be stuffing ourselves silly with banh mi during our trip. The bread was warm and toasty, the grilled pork had a wonderful bbq flavor, and the pickled veggies added just the right crunch. I loved the way the jalapeno added a spicy kick to jazz up the overall flavor of the sandwich. While not Vietnam street food prices, they are still a total steal at $3 or less.

Song Que also has an impressively large selection of bubble tea flavors. Nothing pairs better with the toasty banh mi than a cool, slushy bubble tea. If you're like B and don't like tapioca balls, you can order the drinks sans bubbles.

Since we're Vietnamese food newbies, where should we go next? We've got a lot more research to do!

Second Thoughts from B

The bottom line is that I didn't ask for a recommendation. Intimidated by the crowd? Overwhelmed by the vast, yet poorly-described options plastered on the wall? Practicing ordering for myself in preparation for our Vietnamese vacation? Or perhaps distracted by the TV showing an infomercial on the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer? You decide...

Regardless, J's pick (No. 8) was the better selection. Her sandwich had a very pleasing combination of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors, while mine simply didn't fit my palate. The cold slabs of meat on the tasty French bread had that distinct hint of bitterness that is common in Asian cuisine, but is just not my favorite. Not that it was bad, I just ordered wrong. Still, it didn't stop our jaws hitting the floor (in a good way) when we saw the bill. This just means we can afford many more return trips to fine tune my selection.
Song Que on Urbanspoon


Angry Asian said...

this is my fave banh mi shop at eden center. i wish Baltimore had banh mi.

Angela said...

I'm so excited to read about your trip! I LOVE banh mi, and am a recent convert. We never made it over to Eden Center, but those sandwiches look so yum! If you're looking for another great Vietnamese food place, try Present. And don't forget to ask for advice on how best to enjoy the dishes - I wish we had.