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One Great Sandwich: Nhu Lan's Bahn Mi

By Karl Klockars in Food on May 8, 2008 5:25PM

nhulanbanhmi050808.jpgA few months ago, we profiled the bánh mì at Tank on Broadway as One Great Sandwich. After a flurry of comments, Matilda checked in, saying "Ever try the Vietnamese bakery on Lawrence just west of Rockwell? good stuff." Well, we have. It's called Nhu Lan, and they've been a welcome addition to a pretty barren stretch (culinary speaking) of Lawrence Avenue since near the beginning of the year.

We've had the bánh mì from Ba Le at Argyle, formerly the go-to bánh mì spot in Chicago, and weren't really blown away. But the sandwiches from Nhu Lan do it right, and for next to nothing. Choices of meat include chicken, pate, "meatball" (really more like a spicy sloppy joe, but it's delicious), and ham, but you're really cheating yourself if you don't get the roast pork belly. Served in a baguette with a carrot/cucumber/daikon slaw with sprigs of cilantro, sliced jalapeno peppers, and tasty, smooth pork goodness. All for $2.95 (some bánh mì are $2.50) and a buy 5 get 1 free deal gets you 6 days of sandwich - you could get your entire weeks worth of lunch for the price of about two days dining in the Loop.

Spring rolls, some canned iced coffee and mango drinks are on hand, and other bakery items are available, like super cheap baguettes and croissants. The space is small with a couple tables for in-house eating, but it's bright, clean, and the staff is extremely friendly. And as you leave, catch a whiff of the incense they burn at the door in a tiny prayer shrine. Nice touch. Nhu Lan's bánh mì is One Great Sandwich.

Nhu Lan is at Lawrence and Rockwell, two blocks north of the Brown Line Rockwell stop.
Photo courtesy of tapler of LTHForum. Thanks, tapler.