BBQ Pork – On A Roll, San Pedro Market, San Jose, CA

There are two bits of context that are essential to understanding this sandwich. The first is that it cost $5, well above the average price for bánh mí in the south bay. Obviously prices are going to vary between neighborhoods, but $5 is steep even for downtown. The second thing you need to know is that my sandwich was the only order On A Roll was processing while I was there, and it still took them more time than is reasonable to make the sandwich. Having established those things, I would like to note what the sandwich did well. The BBQ pork was Xa Xíu, the kind of thing you find in pork fried rice, and it was sweet and moist. The Vietnamese mayo was also choice, a fine buttery example of the type. Both of those things were quite good. But sadly I cannot praise the sandwich as a whole, and here is why:

I draw your attention to the scant strings of carrot on the sandwich. What you see there is the full extent of it, there’s none buried under anything and of course I made no adjustments to the sandwich before photographing it. The daikon and jalapeño weren’t exactly plentiful, but I cannot get over that shortage of carrot. The bánh mí, as an archetype, is excuisitely balanced and included in that balance is a good deal of carrot. So why on earth would you leave it out? Carrots aren’t expensive, and even if they were, On a Roll is charging  almost double what many establishments charge. I know the profit margins in the food game are slim, but there’s got to be room in those margins for a bit more carrot. The only excuse I can think of is sloppy execution, as I’ve found at places doing booming business. But that hardly describes On a Roll, which means that as this sandwich was assembled, someone had the time to look down at it and decide whether or not this was a proper sandwich. It’s too bad, really, because On a Roll gets the hard part of the sandwich wrong. Lackluster execution is lackluster execution, though, and in this case there’s no excuse I can see for what went wrong.


1 thought on “BBQ Pork – On A Roll, San Pedro Market, San Jose, CA

  1. Pingback: Hot Cheesy Steak – Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery, S Market St, San Jose, CA | On Sandwiches

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