Ok, so. You’re in Vietnam, you’ve got to have a banh mi sandwich, no question. But it’s also 32 degrees from dawn until dusk, and those street carts do *not* look like they have any kind of refrigeration. And while I like to fancy myself an adventurous eater, I restrict myself to the tofu banh mi in Chinatown in Toronto (air conditioned, health inspected, etc.) out of concern for the provenance of the meat. Am I really going to eat one where the meat has been sitting out in the streets of Saigon all day?
Well, I had to work up to it, absolutely. Started (rather embarrassingly) with “New York Style” banh mi by the park, because it was an air-conditioned shop. Not a bad sandwich (45,000D ~$2.10), but hardly classic banh mi. Progressed to an open-air, fixed-location-with-a-fridge stall in the street (24,000D ~ $1.10), which was very good. I was just brave enough to have a bite of Sam’s late-night, straight-from-the-cart, give-me-one-with-everything sandwich (15,000D ~$.75), which was also very good and appears to have made neither of us ill.
Conclusion: no need to go up-market and spend $2+, but do spend the extra 35 cents for refrigeration and peace of mind.