Robb Walsh's 100 Favorite Houston Dishes: #42 Banh Mi Xiu Mai at Don Cafe at 9300 Bellaire

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Over the course of the next few months, I'm counting down 100 of my favorite Houston dishes. I chose some because they are such quintessential Houston creations, others for their cultural or historical significance, and others because they are just so damn tasty. Share your own nominations in the comments.

#42 Banh Mi Xiu Mai at Don Cafe at 9300 Bellaire

While I have long been a fan of Italian meatball sandwiches, I only recently discovered the Vietnamese meatball sandwich. It is a delicious departure from my usual Vietnamese sandwich order, especially the way they make them at Don Cafe. And since the words for sandwich (banh mi) and meatball (xiu mai) are among the only words I can pronounce in Vietnamese, I get a real kick out of ordering this one.

There are a lot of excellent Vietnamese sandwiches in Houston. Alpha Bakery in Hong Kong City Mall makes great ones. And so does Thiem Hung at 2108 Pease St. near downtown. But there is something about the sandwiches at Don Café that make them special. Are they heavier on the homemade mayonnaise? Or is it the crunchy bread? I asked the owner where he got his bread, because it looks different from the typical banh mi roll.

He said it came from a bakery far away. Anybody know the secret source?

The list to date:

#100: Green Chile Chicken Kebabs at Chatkhara Grill
#99: The All-Day Burrito at Cherry Top Bakery
#98: "You Buy We Fry" Trout Basket at Hank's Fish Market
#97: Chicharron de Barriga at La Michoacana Meat Market # 10
#96: Pakistani Breakfast at Kings Chicken
#95: Fried Mojarra at Taqueria Jesus Maria
#94: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake Ball at Coffee Groundz
#93:Cheeseburger at Leonard's Famous Burgers
#92: Lasagna at Doyle's
#91: Cochinita Pibil at Tacos La Bala
#90: Fajita Tacos at Taqueria El Charro
#89: Kubideh and Zereshk Polo at Kasra Persian Grill
#88: Trentino Gelato's Dulce de Leche at Shisha
#87: Deviled Eggs at Nielsen's Deli
#86: Italian-Cuban Sandwich at Logan Farms
#85: Vegetable Trio in Sichuan Sauce at Spicy Sichuan
#84: Salchi-Burger at Brisa Cocina
#83: El Ultimo Taco Truck's Breakfast Tacos
#82: Kielbasa on a Sizzling Comal at Polonia
#81: Shrimp and Grits at Bistro Alex, Hotel Sorella
#80: A Bowl of Chili at James Coney Island
#79: Lamb Dumplings at Lucky Pot
#78: Crazy Irishman Sushi Roll at Soma
#77:Tesar's "Magic" Burger
#76: Mac n' Cheese at Two Saints
#75: Spicy Armenian Kebabs at Café Rita
#74: Jalapeño Gefilte Fish at Rustika
#73: Greek Burger at the Hubcap Grill
#72: The Basil Inferno at Thai Bistro
#71: Paella at Rioja on Kirkwood
#70: The Big Adrian Burger at Adrian's Local Café
#69: Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Bar at La Paletera
#68: Indonesian Deviled Eggs at Rice Bowl II
#67: Al Pastor Quesadillas at Tierra Caliente Meat Market
#66: Boudin Kolaches at Shipley's on North Main
#65: Banh Cuon at Tay Ho 18 in Hong Kong City Mall
#64: Cumin Lamb at Chinese Halal Cuisine on Bellaire
#63: Stuffed Artichoke at Mint Café on Sage
#62: Italian Sausage Pie at Russo's Coal Oven Pizza
#61: Tom Kha Gai at Thai Choice on Wilcrest
#60: Torta Cubano Estilo Mexicano at El Amigo Taco Truck
#59: Whataburger Triple Meat, Triple Cheese with Bacon and Jalapeños
#58: The Banana, Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip and Dulce de Leche Empanada at The Original Marini's
#57: The Barbecue Brisket and Egg Breakfast Taco at Plantation BBQ Trailer
#56: Chicken-Fried Steak at Frank's Chop House
#55: Catfish and Grits at the Breakfast Klub
#54: Bun Bo Hue at Kim Chau
#53: Beef Tips at Davis Meat Market
#52: Moules Frites at Jeanine's Bistro
#51: The Fajita Taco at the Taconazo Truck
#50: Frito Pie at the Rio Verde Taco Truck
#49: Ceviche at Yelapa
#48: African-American Beef Links at Bar-B-Que Done Right
#47: Pasta with Fresh Peas, Ham and Mushrooms at Ciao Bello
#46: Ice Cream at Hank's
#45: Oysters with Lardons and Leeks at Brocante
#44: Steak Tikka at Himalaya
#43: Barbacoa Soup at De Buey Y Vaca


Location Info

Don Cafe Sandwich

9300 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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