For years Queens,which is renowned for offering food from all over the world, was sorely lacking in one area; the bánh mì,or Vietnamese sandwich. All that changed when JoJu Modern Vietnamese Sandwiches opened a few years ago. The Elmhurst shop offers a whopping 17 varieties of bánh mì. The 17th sandwich on that lineup, which includes everything from pork belly to green eggs and ham, is perhaps tastiest of all. It’s certainly the most modern and the most Queens of them all. The Lin-Sanity ($5.99) is a tribute to one-time Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin. It marries his Taiwanese heritage with one of the tastiest cuisines Queens has to offer, Peruvian.
Tender bits of san bei ji, or three cup chicken, cooked in soy sauce, sugar, and mirin and shot through with Thai basil are slicked with homemade aji verde. It’s surely the first time the garlicky green hot sauce commonly seen at Peruvian chicken joints has ever appeared at a bánh mì shop. The Lin-Sanity is dressed with all the standard bánh mì fixins: pickled carrot and daikon along with cucumbers, cilantro, and mayo.
JoJu’s tribute to Number 17 is a spicy and spirited take on the Vietnamese sandwich. As much as I love to hate the word fusion the Lin-Sanity is that rare instance of fusion that works. It’s a cross-cultural take on a sandwich that is inherently cross-cultural. So there you have it, a Taiwanese-Vietnamese sandwich with a Peruvian accent. Only in Queens kids, only in Queens.
JoJu, 83-25 Broadway, Elmhurst, 347-808-0887