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How many banh mi shops bake their own bread? Until I visited this Vietnamese deli in Falls Church, I would have said zero, which is strange, if not downright wrong, given the banh mi’s roots in French bread-making culture. Other shops may serve better pâtés or prepare more interesting spreads, but none bake their own mini-baguettes, as do the folks at Banh Mi D.C. Sandwich. Every morning, dozens upon dozens of fresh rolls are pulled from the oven racks, ready to serve as the base for the shop’s 24 different sandwiches. The wheat-flour breads are really more like crusty rolls than baguettes, which is fine. They still serve their purpose, which is to provide that all-important crunch when you bite into them. The key here is to demand that your sandwich-maker add extra garnishes—crisp pickled slivers of radish and carrot, flame-throwing rounds of jalapeños, a small garden of cilantro—to ensure that there is harmonic convergence among protein, vegetable, and bread.3103 Graham Road, Falls Church, (703) 205-9300
Next up: BGR: The Burger Joint (American)