SINGAPORE - When it comes to banh mi, the Vietnamese-style sandwich, both bread and filling are equally important.
At month-old eatery Banh You, Banh Mi, the house-made Vietnamese-style pate is made with beef instead of the usual pork, since this is a Muslim-owned joint. Made with a combination of beef fat and off cuts, the pate is unctuous and flavourful.
The small, hole-in-the-wall joint in a hidden corner of Suntec City's Tower 1 basement offers everything from traditional grilled beef banh mi ($6.90) to its best-selling butter chicken banh mi and rendang banh mi ($7.50 each).
The all-important baguette is not the fancy, rustic sort either. Instead, it is slightly cottony and soft with a thin, crisp crust. According to the owner, it is baked fresh daily by a Vietnamese baker and delivered to the stall.
Re-toasted and warmed up, the 8 inch-long baguette proves to be the real star here.
I try the grilled beef and the butter chicken, and find that I prefer the traditional version.
The pate goes well with the beef, despite the meat being rather fatty and chewy. The pickled carrots in the sandwich help to cut through the richness of the mayonnaise, pate and fatty beef.
The local spin on the Vietnamese staple is less successful.
Instead of being creamy, mild and sweet like the gravy of the North Indian dish, the joint's take on butter chicken is spicy.
Perhaps it should be called curry chicken instead.
But with both sandwiches, the stuffing is generous, making for a light but filling meal.
Bonus points for a stall name that references a Lionel Richie song (Say You, Say Me), intentionally or otherwise.
BANH YOU BANH MI
#B1-144, Suntec City Mall, Tower 1, 3 Temasek Blvd tel: 9089-4655; open: 10am to 9pm, daily. Go to facebook.com/BanhYouBanhMi
Rating: 3 stars