My version of a perfect sandwich is a delicious Vietnamese banh mi on a crusty french roll, spread with a bit of mayo, stuffed with marinated pork, pickled cucumber and radish salad, a few sprigs of cilantro and a couple jalapeno peppers. One bite of my first banh mi and I was instantly in love with possibly the single best thing to come out of France's colonization of Vietnam.
There are several great places to get a banh mi in the SF bay area, but one of my favorites is at Banh Mi Ba Le in El Cerrito. It's dangerously close to the Richmond border, one of the most dangerous cities in the entire US, but it's totally worth a visit.
The perfect sandwich
Shrimp dumplings in translucent rice skin
Food rating: **** and a half
Bang for buck rating: 5
Location: 10174 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, California
Average price of lunch for two: $10