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15 May 2012

Tonight's Episode: Banh Maniac UPDATED

They roam the streets, day and night. They search high and low, seeking out their targets. When they finally find the perfect spot, they camp out and wait for the unsuspecting people to stumble upon them. I mean Food Trucks, of course.

Charleston has seen a real Food Truck Renaissance the last two years, with some real winners such as Hello, My Name is BBQ, Strada Cucina, and Roti Rolls (check out Charleston Food Truck Federation for more). The newest edition to the family is AutoBanh, a Banh Mi truck. Banh Mi is the Vietnamese street food, and current Charleston up-and-comer, that blends French and Asian cuisine into a hand-held flavor bomb. With Butcher & Bee and Co both featuring the sandwich on their menu, I was excited to see how this one stacked up.

Whats big and purple and full of Yum?

So off their current menu of 4 sandwiches (With more promised to come) I went with the Grilled then Fried Garlic Pork (All Sandwiches $7). This comes on a 7"Normandy Farms baguette that is dug out to get the bread-to-awesome ratio in line, topped with pickled carrot and daikon slaw, spicy sriracha garlic mayo, cilantro, jalapeño, and what tastes like a very mild nuoc cham. The balance of flavor was fantastic! Bright, sweet and salty at the same time, with the pork retaining a nice crispness. If that is nuoc cham, I would prefer more of it as I am a fish sauce fanatic. The jalapeño and Sriracha mayo provide such little heat that I almost thought I had been ripped off on that point, so if you are spice adverse don't worry, it is mild. My one complaint was that the roll was a lithe too dug out, and split on me, making for a little bit of a mess

Grab extra napkins, just n case

For a side I grabbed one of the local shrimp spring rolls ($3 for one, $5 for two). This is a true, traditional Vietnamese spring roll, no grease need apply as these are not fried. In the heat, sitting on the tailgate of Alfred the Rover, this was a refreshing and bright bite, and would be wonderful for a party tray.

Perhaps my favorite part of the meal was the Vietnamese iced coffee ($3). This sweet and mild concoction is usually made with condensed milk, which eliminates any bitter taste. I would buy this by the jug, and I am confident it would make a great Vietnamese-Irish Coffee.

The Girl is down with serious crude, so she couldn't come with me this time, but she promises to give it a try and weigh in on the newest member of the rolling food army.

So finally took The Girl and she had the Crispy Chicken with Sriracha Glaze, and she LOOOOOVED it. My new favorite is the Curry Tofu....OMG. Autobanh is my New Crack. Sorry Crack Classic, we had a good run.

The Scores (Food Truck Rating System:
Facebook/Twitter location updating: 3/5 (No Twitter yet) 
Food: 7.5/10
Ease of spotting the Truck: 4/5
Selection: 3/5
Price: 4/5
Overall: 21 out of 30 Tasty street food begging for more spice

Autobanh Food Truck on Urbanspoon


  1. I had my first Auto Banh sandwich today. You said your roll was "too dug out", but my dining companion and I thought there was way too much bread in our sandwiches. The baguettes were dry and dense, and they overpowered the sandwiches. The slaw was delicious, and we look forward to trying the iced coffee.

    1. I think the roll issue comes from early inconsistency. My roll, as you can see in the picture, split, and broke apart, but the fair amount of sauce and the juiciness of the meat overcame any dryness of the roll. Had my sandwich been like yours, bread heavy, I can see how it would have been too much. Thanks for the comment, hopefully they will see both and make adjustments!

  2. I must amend my original comments. We gave Autobahn another try (actually, we've been back three times!) and, on all visits, the sandwiches were nothing short of perfect!!!

  3. I love when you see someone act on complaints, and provide a better product. Had the Curry Tofu the other day, and it is far and away my favorite now! Glad they made the changes you wanted!



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