Let’s do another in the cheap eats department. Although, judging by the constant stream of customers going in and out when I stopped by last Saturday (between lunch and dinner, even), Bánh Mì Coda doesn’t really need the publicity. Located just behind Talin Market and beside the also excellent Café Trang, Bánh Mì Coda specializes in…well, I guess they specialize in tofu, being a “tofu house” and all, but let’s say that most people are probably stopping by to get something on bánh mì. Bánh mì is Vietnamese for bread, most often a baguette. So, yes, we’re talking sandwiches here. Incidentally, baguettes were introduced by the French when Vietnam was a colony. I won’t open that can of worms, but it does give one something to ponder during their meal.
Anyway, there are numerous types of sandwiches on offer. If you click on the photo with the menu on the wall, you just might be able to see some of them. As I said, Bánh Mì Coda is a tofu house (and not exactly one among many, eh?) which means they make their own tofu. So I go with the Bánh Mì Chay, or Coda Tofu. It’s delicious. The bread is fresh and almost light. The tofu is quite savory and there’s something about that mayonnaise that’s pretty special. Oh, and did I mention that all sandwiches are $4.95? Cheap eats indeed.
But why stop there? They also make their own soy milk and it’s rather different than what you would buy at the grocery store. Which means you can easily drink a whole cup and feel like it was worth it. That’s $1.75. Maybe you want a piece of tofu with sauce to take home for later? Fifty cents. Or an unusual pastry ball called a Bánh Cam featuring…cream and sesame seeds and who knows what else? Sixty cents. But, honestly, if you want dessert you really should try the Bánh Kep, a waffle made with green tea. They’re fantastic and will set you back all of $2.00.
If you’re dining in you’re going to have to fight for one of the small tables along the wall. But that somehow seems only right and proper. Or you can always get something to go. I should also mention that just because it says “Grand Opening” on the awning doesn’t mean it really is their grand opening. They’ve been around a little while, as the weathered banner would seem to indicate. In any case, I think you might want to give Bánh Mì Coda a try. Just don’t eat all the Bánh Kep before I get there.
John Mulhouse is an Albuquerque-based frequenter of gravel roads, ghost towns, and empty buildings. His blog, City of Dust, features photos and hidden history from all corners of New Mexico and beyond. He publishes a ghost-town-photo-a-day on Facebook.