Appetizers

Add Selland’s bánh mì to your go-to list

The bánh mì sandwich at Selland’s Market-Cafe is stacked with roasted pork.
The bánh mì sandwich at Selland’s Market-Cafe is stacked with roasted pork. apierleoni@sacbee.com

Our town overflows with terrific dishes that quckly become go-to’s for diners willing to seek them out. “Top dishes,” as we call them, and with good reason.

Examples? Sure, try a trio:

The beer-battered haddock at 36 Handles in El Dorado Hills. The spicy polenta fries with Bolognese sauce at Fabian’s Italian Bistro in Fair Oaks. The ravioli in lemon-scented cream sauce at Piatti in Pavilions Shopping Center in Sacramento.

We were in El Dorado Hills the other day, hungry for lunch. Inside Selland’s Market-Cafe, we spotted a bánh mì sandwich on the menu and veered toward it. In Southeast Asia, the bánh mì is “street food” found at kiosks on any corner of any city. Its equivalent in the U.S. would be the burger.

We expected the typical small sandwich on an individual baguette, as we’ve had so many times in Vietnamese restaurants along Stockton Boulevard. Instead, we were surprised by a two-fisted monstrosity packed with expertly-seasoned roast pork, pickled sticks of carrot and daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno pepper and Sriracha mayo on a perfect roll ($9). The crunch and heat were texturally complemented by the tender pork and the soft roll. We’ve added it to our own go-to list.

A more traditional version is at restaurateur-chef Mai Pham’s Star Ginger (she also has Lemon Grass), served on a mini-baguette made by the estimable Village Bakery in Davis, from a proprietary recipe ($6.50).

Either way, it’s treat time.

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

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