I fear I may run the risk of being kicked out of Philadelphia forever by writing this blog post, but the truth must be told. I think I found a better sandwich than a cheese steak. I know. The Pat and Gino's police are probably circling my block as I type, but I have fallen in love with a Vietnamese sandwich and I can't hide it any longer.
Some cheese steak places in Philly have adopted their own slang for ordering. "Wit" means with onions. "Wiz" means with cheese Whiz (an abomination though in my mind...don't get that crap anywhere near my sandwich). However at my new sandwich shop, Q.T. Vietnamese Sandwich, they ask if you would like your sandwich with or without pork pate' spread. I will take pork pate' spread over radioactive orange goo any day of the week!
A Vietnamese sandwich is unlike anything I've ever tasted. All sandwiches on the menu at Q.T. Vietnamese Sandwich are dressed the same way, with fresh sprigs of cilantro, pickled carrots, jalapeno peppers and cucumbers. Then you can choose whether or not you want the pate' spread (who wouldn't!!) and then you choose your filling. They offer fillings like lemongrass chicken, beef or tofu, Vietnamese grilled pork, bbq pork (not the type of bbq you would think) and their House Special which is filled with Vietnamese cold cuts. All are served on a delicious hoagie-type roll (super crispy and flaky on the outside and chewy on the inside). If this doesn't sound like heaven on a roll I don't know what does.
The last time the hubby and I went (by the way, I have to hand it to Nick, he discovered this place at lunch one day and if it weren't for him I would have NEVER found it) we had the House Special (Vietnamese cold cuts) and the lemongrass beef. Here is the House Special. The cold cuts are varied and one of them is reminiscent of head cheese (and some of the best headcheese I've ever encountered). The other types are more typical, but the flavor they bring to the sandwich is unreal. The fatty, flavorful meat mixed with the cilantro and pickled carrots makes the sandwich sing, and the cucumber adds the perfect crunch. No lettuce needed here folks.
This is the lemongrass beef. The hubby loves this one. The beef is chopped and mixed with a sweet and tangy lemongrass sauce. I'm honestly not sure if I can properly describe the flavor. Sweet...yes. Tangy...yes. Rich...yes. Ok, we'll just go with delicious and leave it at that. Oh, and did I mention that they're all under $5! Move over Subway, your $5 footlongs don't stand a chance. They also offer little appetizers like Vietnamese shrimprolls, fried fish balls, etc. We got the shrimprolls which are whole shrimp wrapped in a delicate springroll wrapper and stuffed with some fresh scallion, then quickly fried. They were simple, yummy and cheap! The rest of the menu lists some rice and rice noodle platters and last week they had a Pho special on the menu as well. Pho is another of my fav's. It's a Vietnamese noodle bowl.
I can't say enough good things about this tiny sandwich shop folks so you're just going to HAVE to go and see how good it is for yourself. It's in a small, unassuming space on N. 10th street between Market and Arch. The interior is painted a bright and sunny orange which seems to match perfectly with the super friendly and happy disposition of the staff. It's a block away from the Reading Terminal market so find a parking space and make an afternoon out of it. Grab a Vietnamese sandwich and then mosey over to the market to stock up on some of the best the city has to offer. That's what we did last weekend!
Q.T. Vietnamese Sandwich
48 N. 10th Street