Broke, flush, carnivorous, vegetarian—for every type of eater in Seattle there is Saigon Deli, home to the most perfect $5 bánh mì. The sandwich comes stuffed with anything your heart desires, from tofu to grilled chicken to perfect bun cha meatballs. I always get the fresh spring rolls ($3), packed with tofu or shrimp and pork with a delightful herbal kick, and a little cup of peanut sauce with chili paste for dipping. The sesame balls ($1) are similarly wonderful: chewy and sweet and satisfying, as are the hum bow ($4), a huge, glutenous, fluffy version of a sweet stuffed bun with fragrant chicken and egg. All the desserts here rule, as does much of the hot scoop counter (spare ribs, eggplant tofu, caramelized shrimp). There is no seating. You order to go and eat in your car, or on the sidewalk overlooking Saigon Deli's broken jigsaw of a parking lot. The neighborhood flows in and out, a window into the International District as global community, everyone ordering hot, sweet Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk ($2) or packs of smokes from behind the deli counter. I keep coming back. JORDAN MICHELMAN
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