You know those days, (or, sometimes weeks or months..) where you just have absolutely NO money? Yeah, me too. Whether you just paid off massive credit card debt, splurged on something earlier in the month and are paying the price now, or simply have no income, we all know how it feels to be broke. Feeding yourself during these times of high economic stress can be profoundly depressing. Ramen, pizza, fries, chips, crackers and scrambled eggs: the menu of the impoverished creative person is a tragic one. However, there are a few brights spots in NYCs culinary landscape, places where even a poor person can get something worth looking forward to for an affordable price. My most recent delight, Vietnamese Banh-Mi have been a trendy sandwich for a while now and I have two favorite spots where even the Brokest Ass among you can afford to eat.
For those who don’t know, banh-mi is a sandwich made on a Vietnamese baguette, containing carrots, daikon, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and fillings such as grilled pork and pate. Tofu can often be substituted for meat if you’re vegetarian.
Hanco in Carroll Gardens is my go-to for Banh-Mi in Brooklyn. It’s not a spot you really want to hang out in-just a few tables which are usually crowded with strollers but the sandwich is perfect: not too spicy, not too salty and the summer rolls are an excellent companion.
Across the bridge in Manhattan is Baoguette, with locations in the East Village, the West Village and Murray Hill (ew). Started by the noodle masterminds behind Bao Noodles and Bao 111, these people make one hell of a sandwich. The best part about the Baoguette sandwiches, is that they are so filling that you can have one half for lunch and the other for dinner for only 5 American dollars. I’ve only had the classic so far but the sloppy Bao-only two dollars more, containing spiced beef and green mango is my next stop The appropriately titled food porn section on their website says more than words ever could.
85 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY
EAST VILLAGE – 212-380-1487
37 Saint Marks Place @ 2nd/3rd Ave
Hours: 11-12am (Sun-Thu) 11-2am (Fri-Sat)
WEST VILLAGE – 212-929-0877
120 Christopher St. @ Christopher/Bedford St.
Hours: 11-11am (Mon-Sun)
MURRAY HILL – 212-532-1133
61 Lexington @ 25th/26th Street
Hours: 11-8pm (Mon-Sat) 12-5pm (Sun)