Banh Mi Saigon Bakery is a delightful, spare deli-looking Vietnamese restaurant, really more a takeout counter with a few benches nearby, near the corner of Mott and Hester Streets in Chinatown. In a notable bit of space-saving bricolage, the bakery is simply square at the end of a small corridor full of counters displaying jewelry for sale.
The restaurant has only ten options for sandwiches, which are nearly its entire menu. I ordered #6, the Buddhist sandwich, and an ice coffee. The sandwich came big in two thick baguette cuts which were stuffed to the gills with mushrooms, kimchi-style pickled vegetables, and marinated cuts of tofu. Intermingled with it were what tasted like a chili mayonnaise and another, more piquant hot sauce. The cold of vegetables, the spice of the sauces, the warmth of the tofu, the heartiness of the baguette -- this was a world of variety, taste, texture, and all for $4.50 -- a $4.50 sandwich that could serve two for lunch!
This is clearly one of Manhattan's great lunch deals, and a superb sandwich, period.