For more than a decade, petite Borough Park sandwich shop Ba Xuyên has cobbled together some of the city's finest bánh mì sandwiches. Walk past heated and refrigerated cases holding appetizers, such as spring rolls and cassava cakes made with silkworms, to the back counter. Unlike Manhattan's well-regarded Vietnamese sandwich shops, which conceal their work behind closed doors, the cooks here make each sandwich to order in full view of customers. The French-inspired concoction starts with a perfect baguette, chewy and soft with a sturdy crust. Toppings run the gamut — from sardines with chile sauce and butter to dried, shredded chicken to pig products of all stripes: thick slabs of ham, gamy pâté and head cheese, barbecued loin, spongy meatballs. But the key to this shop's success lies in its proportions; Ba Xuyên loads each sandwich with handfuls of pickled carrots and daikon radish, fresh cucumber spears, and cilantro. Bonus: Vietnamese iced coffee often succumbs to a deluge of condensed milk, but the crew at Ba Xuyên balances the creamy java with an even hand.
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