Alright Publix…you got me. You took two of my absolute favorite things (seriously, I ranked them and everything) in the whole world and combined them: your delicious, glorious subs and the equally delicious and glorious Banh Mi, the queen of all bread-borne treats.
Clearly, I had to put this in my mouth. And clearly I had zero shame doing it. I made the poor sub maker woman undo her cleaning at 8:30 at night just to make me one of these things. Anything else, I would’ve felt a bit sorry…but not this. Not the Banh Mi. That sub lady had to take the hit for my flavor experience. And so I could write this.
Let’s start with the good stuff (because you all very well know I’m gonna take a trip into nit-picking hell shortly). As far as the taste goes, it’s spot-on. The pork’s nice and tender, you get the crispness of the veggies (and good job including the radishes, those are crucial), and the freshness of the cilantro. And they put a lot of cilantro on that sandwich, which is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. This ain’t parsley, you don’t just sprinkle that stuff on at the end like it’s on the last page of a damn Southern Home Living issue.
Of course, the bread isn’t the perfect, buttery baguette a proper Banh Mi’s supposed to be on, but we’re meeting at the intersection between Vietnam and the American South, I’m ok with a little lee-way. Plus, their sub rolls are damn good to begin with, especially that underrated five-grain goodness.
Now, the bad.
PICKLE THOSE VEGETABLES. You listening Publix? Not the cucumbers, those gotta stay crisp as humanly possible, but the carrots and the radishes? Absolutely. The whole point to the Banh Mi is that it hits every flavor note perfectly, and without the pickled veggies you’re missing the acidity. It’s not like it’d be hard to keep those around either; you could throw a bunch in a jar and have them ready to go for months. Not that the carrots and radishes aren’t good on there anyway, but they’re raw…I could probably find the same thing by stealing a third-grader’s Lunchables.
You guys did well with the sweet chili sauce, but personally I’d like a little extra heat. Not a big complaint, but c’mon, your customers can handle it. Ideally you’d put some mayo on there (another key component you missed out on) and mix it up with a bit of Sriracha. But hey, what do I know.
Other than those two things, I was pretty damn satisfied. Publix, ya did good. For those of you lucky enough to be near a Publix, they called this an Asian BBQ Pork sub, presumably because the people there would see the words “Bahn” and “Mi” and throw stones at the deli for fear of another Vietnam War. Either way, it’s six bucks for a whole one. Do it.