Midtown Village’s modern Asian restaurant Sampan started offering a delicious lunch menu last week. “Our variety of banh mi sandwiches, noodles and salads are perfect for a fast, affordable lunch,” says Chef Michael Schulson. We had the opportunity to stop by and try all six brand-new delicious banh mi.
Schulson came to Philadelphia roughly twelve years ago and along his many stops to try out the local fare he happened upon the banh mi sandwiches available at a few Vietnamese restaurants and bakeries along Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia. Drawing from these sandwiches as inspiration, he created several of his own using fresh and exotic ingredients to bring about intensely robust flavors. Influenced not only by Vietnamese cuisine, Sampan’s “Banh Midtown” are truly a representation of not only pan-Asian cuisine but domestic offerings such as the cheesesteak and meatball sub. Schulson and his banh mi were recently featured on the NBC’s Today Show and The Philadelphia Inquirer cited Sampan’s version as “one of the wonders of the sandwich world.”
However, now we get to feast upon six wonders. The Pork features Berkshire belly sitting on a bed of lettuce, cucumber and carrot strips. The Chicken, which is decidedly Japanese in origin, contains katsu-style fried chicken breast and Oshinko (pickled Chinese cabbage) with a mustard spread. The Tuna, of Thai origin, is a medley of tuna, pickled cucumber, scallion and Thai basil.
For more of an Asian-fusion experience, Sampan also offers fluke; it completes the flavor of the breaded, fried fish with bacon, BBQ potato chips and tartar sauce. The steak version is truly an exquisite offering with the complement of spicy shallot, tomato and a sunny-side egg. For an Italian spin, the meatball takes red sauce, parmesan cheese with the addition of Thai basil, fish sauce and lettuce.
With lunch offered from 11:30am-5pm, a menu extending well-beyond just these six sandwiches and with prices ranging from $6 to $9, including not only sandwiches but ramen and more, we’re sure Sampan’s new lunch menu will be a hit.