Get Your Sandwich Fix Via Two Wheels with Banh Mi by Bike
Remember the good old days of Kozmo, where whatever your craving was would miraculously appear at your apartment door, in the arms of a sometimes smiling, often studly bicyclist? Well, Kozmo may have gone the way of other many other dot coms, but there’s a growing new movement of people delivering goods by bike. Among this pack of people pedaling their wares is Jessica Nguyen and her banh mi delivery service, Banh Mi Love You Long Time.
Nguyen started her delivery sandwich service last summer as a way to connect with San Francisco and meet new people. She set up a stand along the Panhandle, near her home, and sold banh mi from the basket of her bike. It grew from there, and she’s now catering events and holding regular court on Tuesday evenings at the Red Devil Lounge on Polk Street.
She also does personal deliveries—just like Kozmo. Send her a Facebook shout-out or tweet (@Eatbanhmi), and on the weekends, Nguyen will pedal a basketful of fresh banh mi sandwiches ($5 each) anywhere in the city. She usually has a five-sandwich minimum, but might make an exception on an especially sunny day.
With the help of her mom, Nguyen spent years developing the perfect banh mi recipe—and it shows. Her simple sandwiches, marinated in ginger, lemongrass and curry are full of flavor. And her coconut Vietnamese waffle recipe hits the spot right around when that third gin and tonic kicks in.
For as much time as she spent perfecting her recipe, she also spent fine-tuning her ride. For small gigs, Nguyen still uses her simple city bike with basket, passing out banh mi sandwiches to happy customers. But for the big gigs, she takes her big ride: a Surly Long Haul Trucker, outfitted with racks and panniers. She carries the fresh baguettes on her back to keep them safe, stuffs containers of marinated tofu and chicken in her panniers, and ties a full-size toaster to the top—for sammies hot out of the oven.
“I love biking, and I love feeding people,” says Nguyen, “so delivering Banh mi on my bike is the perfect combination.” I agree. Chances are that one bite of her fresh curried sandwich or coconut waffle, and you probably won’t be missing Kozmo quite as much.