I spoke a bit about authenticity and neighborhoods here, and more recently I was grousing about a bánh mì I felt was overpriced. What today’s post goes to show, though, is that neither location nor price are legitimate markers of quality. They may be clues, but in the end only in trying the sandwich can one find its true measure. King Egg Roll is on the Vietnamese side of San Jose, and the sandwiches are a steal at $2.50 each. The problem, though, is that they just aren’t that good.
The bánh mì is somewhat unique in that as a concept it possesses both a very high ceiling and a fairly high floor; there exist truly bad bánh mìs, but they’re somewhat rare. The sandwiches at King Egg Roll aren’t bad, they just aren’t good. As you might surmise from the name, sandwiches aren’t the main attraction at King Egg Roll. Fried rolls and shrimp balls get top billing, and sandwiches appear to be an afterthought. Perhaps someone took the high floor concept for granted, and figured any old sandwich they slapped together would excel. That wasn’t the case, but it’s a testament to the sandwich (as a concept, not in this example) that I still left King Egg Roll satisfied. The BBQ pork was a bit dry, and the shredded chicken not particularly flavorful, but a bit of chili sauce gave both some extra kick. Altogether, it’s just tough to go wrong. For $2.50 you get a balanced sandwich on a crusty roll. There isn’t much room in there for complaint.