I have been called a sandwich snob. That accusation is false. However, I do believe in something called sandwich theory. This is my quest to find the greatest sandwiches in Madison. Send me your sandwich recommendations by email or on Twitter or Instagram.
I went back to the food truck well at Saigon Sandwich, a cart located on North Charter Street in the heart of the UW-Madison campus. My sister accompanied me, and we both went with the only named sandwich they have: the banh mi bi. It includes shredded chicken and pork on a French roll, and I chose toppings of mayonnaise, sweet pickled carrots and daikon radish, cucumbers, spicy jalapeños and fresh cilantro.
The roll had a perfect crispy and crunchy outer layer, almost like the outer layer of a pretzel. The bread had great outer stability as a result, which then gave way to a soft and chewy inside.
The balance of flavors really stood out about the makings because no one thing overpowered the rest. The clean, crisp pickled radish helped cut the saltiness of the chicken and pork, while the fresh cilantro enhanced the crunchy sweetness of the vegetables. My last few bites had a late kick of the spicy jalapeño, which I enjoyed and appreciated.
The roll kept things contained and compact, and the stacking of the makings was solid. It seemed like there were some rice noodles snuck in with the chicken and pork, but that helped keep things together. Definitely a sandwich you could eat with one hand while walking to your next class.
You can’t really beat a $5.50 price tag. That covers the choice of one meat with any toppings you want. Pate spread, dehydrated fried onions, and sriracha sauce were also available, but I skipped those. This sandwich was light and filling without dropping into your stomach like a lead weight.
One of my favorite things about food carts is the portability aspect. Not only is it easy to grab a sandwich on the go, but the sandwiches that come from carts generally won’t weigh you down. We waited about 10 minutes for our sandwiches because it was the lunch hour rush — and the first week of spring semester no less. Even given the wait, from top to bottom I found a solid campus sandwich destination.