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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Duc Loi Kitchen's Excellent $5 Vietnamese Sandwiches

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge BBQ chicken sandwich - LUIS CHONG
  • Luis Chong
  • BBQ chicken sandwich

One-month-old Duc Loi Kitchen seems destined to become the Saigon Sandwiches of the Mission. Last time SFoodie visited this food counter inside Duc Loi Supermarket, we were the last customer of the temporary outpost of Mission Burger back in 2010. 

Duc Loi delivers on both quantity and quality, with each of its five $5 sandos coming out of the kitchen generously packed. Our favorites were the fried chicken breast sandwich (#5), and the cold cuts combo banh mi (#1). All are made to order, so if you don't feel like waiting, call ahead for pickup.

Our first sando was stuffed with three succulent breaded chicken strips, still hot from the fryer. We were soon happily chomping away, each delicious bite only encouraging us to take additional bites, until it was all gone.

click to enlarge Duc_Loi_Supermarket_5777.jpg

The dac biet (cold cuts combo with pickled daikon, carrots, cucumbers, jalapenos, cilantro and mayo) in particular is a step above all other Bay Area versions. The majority of competitors use a trio of factory-made Vietnamese cold cuts: headcheese, pork belly ham, and cha lua (aka Vietnamese pork roll, similar to bologna), plus a chicken or pork liver paté.

Duc Loi's combo is superior, because all the meats and condiments are made in-house. The only thing they don't make is the bread, a La Brea baguette. From the silky headcheese to the robust liverwurst, you can taste the difference. It's also significantly meatier, because it contains a fourth item, a thick slab of pork pot roast.

The sandwich meats are also available for sale at $6.99 to $9.99 per pound. Friendly owner Amanda Ngo explained that customers often ask for the headcheese and liverwurst, but those aren't included in the list, because she barely has enough for the sandwiches.

click to enlarge Packaged salads (left) and housemade cold cuts slices used for sandwiches (right) - LUIS CHONG
  • Luis Chong
  • Packaged salads (left) and housemade cold cuts slices used for sandwiches (right)

Luis Chong
Packaged salads (left) and housemade cold cuts slices used for sandwiches (right)

Usually the display case features additional items like salads, rice rolls, and sweet-paste-filled mochi, for $5 or less each. All packaged items placed on the top counter are vegetarian. The supermarket is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; the food counter is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Amanda added that if she's in the store, she'll gladly make you a sandwich any time.

Duc Loi Kitchen
2200 Mission (at 18th St.), 551-1772
Hours: daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Luis Chong


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