Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Joju: Banh Mi with a Twist

Joju is a fairly new Banh Mi shop here in Elmhurst, and a quick Google search will show you that there is quite a bit of buzz. Naturally The Fisherman and I had to check out since a) it’s right in his neck of the woods, b) it looks awesome and c) it’s banh mi!  So we went, and were joined by some of The Fisherman’s friends.

Disclosure: while the sandwiches were good, The Fisherman and I were trying not to be sandwich beasts and therefore we ordered one sandwich each. The sandwiches were delicious and we even got an appetizer of spring rolls. (Sorry about the lack of spring roll pics, seems I didn't get a shot of those. Next time I'll get fresh ones and photograph them)

Reviews are right in that if you go late and want something other than banh mis, they may run out. They sometimes even run out of meat stuffs for their banh mis, but I guess on a Friday evening that is possible. It is also true that they make the non banh mi stuff early in the day and it sits in the fridge, so keep that in mind. If I went next time, I’d rather go earlier in the day.

Onto the star of the show, the banh mis! One of us got the beef bulgogi (ooo, Vietnamese/Korean fusion!!), and one of us got the pork belly. I believe they were out of the lemongrass chicken, which I read good things about. That could be why.

Beef bulgogi, now found in banh mi form!
Both sandwiches were really good, and I definitely would like to try all of them, maybe have a banh mi-thon, yeah!

Take me to pork belly town!
 We also got drinks, when in Rome. I know I ordered one drink, they didn’t have it, so I ordered the rose and green bubble tea. 

Tea-lightful. But not what I originally wanted...
 Disclosure: I have this knack for ordering stuff that a place doesn’t have. I’m learning to accept my fate, but it really grinds my gears. First of all, when I worked in a really small restaurant on my college campus, if we ran out of something, we 86’d, or removed it from the menu. That way, if for example, we ran out of chicken ranch pizza, you knew before you ordered it and we told you we were out. Why can’t other small places cover those items, or even have a note in a Lucite frame on the counter? Oh yeah, and in restaurant speak, you never run out, you sell out. Boy did I have a blast with learning that little gem of wisdom?

Granted Joju’s fairly new, they haven’t quite gotten into their groove, they haven’t figured out what sells and what doesn’t. I get that. But I go to so many places, order something, and they don’t have it. WTF?? Not cool.

Anyway, minor digression…so I got the rose and green bubble tea by default, and The Fisherman got the three colored drink (also in the fridge, partly made and finished when you ordered). Now, three colored drink is coconut milk, pandan extract, yellow mung beans, and water chestnuts. The pandan is green, mung beans are yellow, and usually the water chestnuts are colored red, but in this case not. This drink was interesting, much like bubble tea 2.0.

Three colored drink, all mixed up and nowhere to go
Overall, I really liked  Joju as a stop for your banh mi needs. With so many Asian restaurants close by, you could easily do a trip all over Asia just walking along Broadway. Definitely a stop to make, preferably earlier in the day.

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