Whenever I walk into Saigon Deli, I’m typically the only American guy in there. And I like that. Any time you’re in an ethnic restaurant and you aren’t one of the few people in there not of that ethnicity, there’ s a good chance that restaurant isn’t too authentic. Well, that is assuming you aren’t right by a college, hungry students get a hall pass… The food at Saigon Deli is awesome. The service is comically terrible, but I’m not going to complain about having to get up to ask for more water at a spot where my bill rarely exceeds ten bucks. They have your typical Vietnamese staples- Pho (soup), Banh Mi (baguette sandwiches), and Bun (noodle vermicelli). Sandwiches come in at a whopping $3, while Pho and Bun will run you an astronomical $6-7. Oh and did I mention it’s all pretty awesome? There are always a half dozen or so different kinds of little styrofoam trays of goodies with no description waiting right in front of the register. I’ll just refer to these as “appetizers”, seeing as how I have no clue what they are. But they’re fun, that’s for sure! From the pork skin on rice (bottom right) to the shrimp/pork summer rolls, to the head cheese (maybe?), so far all the ones I’ve tried have been either tasty or interesting enough to be worth trying, and they’re made fresh and ready to be consumed. From what I can gather that’s a rice paper roll with pork meat and shredded tripe in it? No clue. Diggin’ it though. Most of the food at Saigon Deli has a rich meaty element, a crunchy pickled element (daikon and carrot), and the fresh veggie element (lettuce, thai basil, mint, etc). These rolls are quick and simple, but also quite satisfying while waiting for your soup or sandwich to be prepared. Shortly after sitting down, our BBQ Pork Banh Mi showed up, which was really enjoyable with the smoky, rich pork, the cucumber, carrot, and daikon giving it crunch and a vinegary bite, the parsley giving it an herbal quality, and the perfectly baked baguette rounding the whole sandwich out. Good food for three dollars. Love it. I must admit I load my Banh Mi’s down with all the condiments supplied on the tables by Saigon Deli, Sriracha, Fish Sauce, Spicy Chili Paste, etc. It may not be traditional but I’ll be damned if you’re going to keep me from doing it! That was our Pork Bun (pronounced “boon”I believe). Just like the rest of the food it had a great depth of flavors and textures, and disappeared quickly. Highly recommend. My buddy’s chicken soup- it tasted every bit as good as it looked. And it looked good. That’s a recession-proof meal right there at $6! The deli also has a ton of little pre-packaged items to nibble on, varying from sweet to savory. If you aren’t Vietnamese you very well may not recognize most of it, but don’ t let that stop you, so far 90% of what we’ve tried has been really interesting or really tasty!