Recession Relief: Kim Long's banh mi

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This bahn mi is for me, get your own...
  • This bahn mi is for me, get your own...

I've been in search of a great banh mi since Vinh Hoa in North Kansas City closed. Though I have yet to find a suitable replacement for David Du's grilled pork offering, I might just have uncovered a budget friendly version at Kim Long's Asian Market (511 Cherry), in the Columbus Park neighborhood.

The banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich on a crusty baguette with a combination of pickled vegetables, meat and a fish or spicy sauce. No two are likely to be the same, and the Kim Long's version is a mixture of cold cuts that's a bargain at $2.50.

Despite being refrigerated, the vegetables (sliced carrots, daikon, cucumber and jalapeno) are crunchy, as is the baguette. On my sandwich, a layer of ham and what I believe was liver pate sat underneath a bright mound of cilantro. 

The sandwich could have used a splash of vinegar -- the vegetables are fresh, not pickled -- and a bit more heat. But this easily beats a packaged convenience store sandwich. And at this price, you'll have enough in your wallet to pick up a small bottle of sriracha from the store shelves.
   

Nearly the size of a racquetball, these sesame balls are a commitment.
  • Nearly the size of a racquetball, these sesame balls are a commitment.

The sandwiches are wrapped and refrigerated, ready to go

from a case about 20 feet back from the cash registers. You'll pass

cellophane encased spring rolls on the way. Don't stop, the three large

rolls ($3.49) are chewy and slightly dried out. But do grab a sesame

ball (50 cents) or two. The fried exterior with a dense sesame paste

will eliminate your afternoon hunger.

kimlong.jpg
While there are plenty of frozen and canned goods, the produce is the reason to go to Kim Long. It's one of the few places in town that consistently carries kaffir lime leaves -- a key ingredient for making Thai curry dishes. 
 
Kim Long is actually a combination grocery store and restaurant, with a kitchen and a takeout counter in the front right half of the store. In addition to banh mi, you can get a bowl of pho, a whole roast duck or bubble tea. 

Kim Long is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday to Thursday. It's closed on Fridays and Saturdays. The grocery store and restaurant accepts cash and major credit cards. Call 816-221-8892 for more information. 

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