New York City has a reputation for being expensive but there are still great bargains to be had all over the place, if you know where to look or whom to ask. Under $10 is a column dedicated to finding extremely good deals at small businesses in our area and sharing them with you.
For the longest time, the easiest way to tell your friends how to get the best sandwich deal downtown was to tell them to walk down Mott from Grand St and look for the people coming out with paper-wrapped sandwiches from what looked like a shop selling jade. That was the first incarnation of Bánh Mì Saigon, unassumingly tucked away in the back of a jade shop, which rather pleasingly also made the move along with it to its current location mere feet away at 198 Grand.
Their prices have gone up a lot over the years—our favorite sandwich, the #1 (barbecue pork) went from $4.50 in recent years to $7.50 right now—but every single sandwich is under $10 and still very much a steal. A demi-baguette stuffed with the topping of your choice, plus chopped carrots, daikon, and cucumbers, a slathering of mayo, a bit of cilantro, and as few or many jalapeños as you can take is easily a meal for one or a snack for two. The classic order is the #3 (Vietnamese ham & paté), but you can’t go wrong with the #5 (meatball) or #9 (curry chicken). There are pescatarian and vegetarian options, but we’ve never tried them!