I have been in search of banh mi, those tasty Vietnamese salad sandwiches, since coming to Tacoma to be The News Tribune's food editor (2004, if you're taking notes).
I was introduced to them in Seattle by my friend, food writer Matthew Amster-Burton. Just head to the intersection of 12th and Jackson in the International District to find the banh mi collective. On one corner is Seattle Deli. Just steps from there is Saigon Deli. There used to be another shop, Banh Mi 88, but it looks as if it has closed. Of course, there are other shops nearby that sell them, but I like 12th and Jackson, that neighborhood, best.
My operating premise: Grab two sandwiches (both for the low price of under $5, of course) and hoof over to Safeco for a Mariner's game. Forget ballpark dogs, I'll take mine banh mi, thanks (plus maybe barbecued pork from Kau Kau).
I know banh mi hit a frenzy five or so years ago in Seattle, and now the sandwiches are just another cheap bite in the culinary landscape there, but I don't think I have found enough places that make them in Tacoma. With my lunch budget shrinking thanks to (insert generic rising gas price reference here), I'm restarting my prowl for cheap, good sandwiches. So far, I've only found banh mi at Vicala Market (next door to LeLe on MLK) and at the East Asia Supermarket on 38th
So banh mi collective in Tacoma, where is it?