The Earl of Sandwich may have invented his namesake in 18th century England.
But it was Vietnamese chefs who really took it to the next level.
Once the French introduced the baguette to Vietnam, the banh mi was born. And they're yours for the taking in West Roxbury this week when Banh Mi Ngon opens.
Like any good sandwich, the banh mi takes a few core ingredients — fresh, crusty French bread, meat, cilantro, pickled vegetables and a light brush of homemade mayo — and turns them into something more delicious than the sum of its parts.
Banh Mi Ngnon offers eight varieties of handheld lunch (and dinner) perfection, ranging from the classic (Vietnamese ham and roasted pork) to chicken, meatballs, shrimp and tofu.
Use your other hand to pair them up with shrimp toast and summer roll appetizers.
With Banh Mi Ngon taking its place among Centre Street's restaurant row, it won't be long before the area learns Vietnamese for "I'll have two."
Banh Mi Ngon
1759 Centre Street (Manthorne Rd.), West Roxbury
Price: 1 (out of 4)
Subway: Commuter Rail (Needham Line) to Bellevue
Scene: Modest, comfy neighborhood spot nestled among other Centre Street restaurants
Best bets: Pork banh mi; shrimp toast; meatball banh mi
Super spice: For an extra kick, try any banh mi with the housemade spicy sauce or fresh chili pepper
Java joint: Try a cold, sweet Vietnamese-style coffee made with condensed milk
Nearby: Thai Spice; Los Amigos; Red-Eyed Pig