Again, we attracted a good-sized crowd of people as we left the office. It's starting to get hard to tell if people really like us for who we are or just like us for our blog. I guess that's just the price of success... It was next in line and passed rule #1, primary source of income is food, so the six of us had to stop in at the Sun Bakery and have lunch. It looks like this is the last lunch spot on the north side of Jackson inside the DLZ. We have decided on a spiral pattern so we will turn south along the east side of 8th to find our next spot. We rarely venture that far for lunch, so we have no idea what awaits us. It should be fun.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Sui-Kau Dumpling Rice Noodle Soup and a BBQ Pork Sandwich (Bahn Mi) - $4.50 + $2.25
I don't even know where to start with this review. I really liked this place (I'm reserving love for when I rate a restaurant a 5). But, this is definitely a place I would lobby my coworkers/friends to go to for lunch.
Lets start with the Sui-Kau Dumpling Rice Noodle Soup. Until the very friendly owner explained to me what Sui-Kau was, I had no idea. Being a responsible food reviewer, I'm now passing this knowledge on to you: Sui-Kau is a dumpling with shrimp, pork, and mushrooms in it. And wow, this is one delicious dumpling (actually, there were four in my "small" soup). The rice noodles in the soup seemed kind of bland, but that was expected. And as far as asian soups go, this one is a keeper. The broth was rich and savory and matched perfectly with the dumplings.
Just the premise of a "$2 sandwich" makes me think it will be delicious. It also makes me hungry. Anyway, I ordered the BBQ Pork Bahn Mi. This was my first Bahn Mi experience, so I had no idea what to expect. The sandwiches appear to be premade, and refrigerated until served. The BBQ pork was the typical "red rimmed" pork you get at a chinese restaurant to dip awesomely-hot mustard and poppy seeds. Then it was topped with some mayo, a pickle (I think), and some other vegetables. Even for $3, I think I would still buy one of these. They're delicious.
Great prices. Good food. Bright lighting. Friendly owner. Definitely hitting this place again.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Pho Tai, Bo Vien and a Combo Sandwich (Bahn Mi) - $4.95 + $2.25
Since the "two dollar sandwich" place on King and 5th shut down last year, this is one of the only sources of good bahn mi on this side of the ID. Why are these sandwiches always so cheap? You can't get a basic ham sandwich at any local deli for much less than $5 but the bahn mi are consistently under $3. Is this some Vietnamese reverse price fixing deal? Was this part of some secret agreement the US government made with refugees? "We'll welcome you in our country as long as you provide tasty sandwiches at affordable prices." I can't help but think that if the little shop on King had just raised it's prices to $3, it would still be here today. Maybe they hadn't noticed that Paul Allen had built a fancy new office building immediately across the street where Specialties is selling a ham sandwich for $5.25.
There is really no place friendlier then the Sun Bakery. It is a family run joint and they always seem very happy to have lunch guests. I have been a handful of times now and there is rarely anyone else there. Their primary source of business appears to be the bakery, but they have plenty of lunch seating and an ample menu. The only other occupied tables were one with the owners young daughter and her coloring books and another with a single business man who appeared to be very comfortable there. We chatted up the owner and learned that he was born in Vietnam but his grandparents were Chinese. The menu and bakery offerings are a mix of those two cultures.
Since I usually come for the bahn mi, I rarely get to try the other stuff. Today I had the pho, figuring it was a good baseline to judge quality, and, since I was there, a ham-chicken combo bahn mi. Double yum. I was pleasantly surprised by the soup. It had a rich, flavorful broth, fresh meat, and savory meat balls. It was one of the better phos I have had. I had some sips of the dumpling soup as well and was also impressed.
It wasn't clear to me at first how I should rate the Sun Bakery. On the one hand it was a delicious meal in a friendly environment at a great price, but on the other, I have never had a meal at a Vietnamese restaurant that I didn't like. Should I score this as an average Vietnamese restaurant and give it three chopsticks? In the end I came to the conclusion that we are scoring each against all of the other ID restaurants and, on that scale, the Sun Bakery is clearly in the top half.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Sui-Kau Dumpling Rice Noodle Soup and a BBQ Pork Sandwich (Bahn Mi) - $4.50 + $2.25
I ordered the Sui-Kai Rice Noodle Soup and the barbecued pork Bahn Mi. Sui-Kai are dumplings with bamboo shoots, mushrooms, pork, and shrimp, and were quite good. The soup broth was light in flavor, with a nice black pepper taste. All appeared freshly made.
The Bahn Mi (sandwich) was good. The pork was salty and a bit cold, would have preferred freshly barbecued pork. The balance of ingredients in the sandwich was also quite good, with cilantro, carrot, and a starchy white veg of some kind (perhaps Daikon?).
The service was attentive, and the atmosphere was nice and relaxed. Overall I'd give it 3 chopsticks - good food but I wasn't blown away.
Luncher: AlLunch: Egg Rolls and a BBQ Pork Sandwich (Bahn Mi) - $2.95 + $2.25
Luncher: EricaLunch: Won Ton Rice Noodle Soup - $4.50
Luncher: TorreyLunch: Pho Tai, Chin, Bo Vien - $4.95
Sun Bakery & Deli PhotosSun Bakery & Deli
Bahn Mi menu
Won Ton Rice Noodle Soup