I've been in search of a great banh mi since Vinh Hoa in North Kansas City closed. Though I have yet to find a suitable replacement for David Du's grilled pork offering, I might just have uncovered a budget friendly version at Kim Long's Asian Market (511 Cherry), in the Columbus Park neighborhood.
The banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich on a crusty baguette with a combination of pickled vegetables, meat and a fish or spicy sauce. No two are likely to be the same, and the Kim Long's version is a mixture of cold cuts that's a bargain at $2.50.
Despite being refrigerated, the vegetables (sliced carrots, daikon, cucumber and jalapeno) are crunchy, as is the baguette. On my sandwich, a layer of ham and what I believe was liver pate sat underneath a bright mound of cilantro.
The sandwich could have used a splash of vinegar -- the vegetables are fresh, not pickled -- and a bit more heat. But this easily beats a packaged convenience store sandwich. And at this price, you'll have enough in your wallet to pick up a small bottle of sriracha from the store shelves.
The sandwiches are wrapped and refrigerated, ready to go
from a case about 20 feet back from the cash registers. You'll pass
cellophane encased spring rolls on the way. Don't stop, the three large
rolls ($3.49) are chewy and slightly dried out. But do grab a sesame
ball (50 cents) or two. The fried exterior with a dense sesame paste
will eliminate your afternoon hunger.