Winner: Teriyaki Meatball Bahn Mi
Restaurant: Pane Pane Gourmet Sandwiches, Seattle
Sandwich creator: Owner Young Chun
Inspiration: “To offer a sandwich that is more flavorful and juicier than a traditional bahn mi sandwich.”
Key ingredients: Italian-style meatballs marinated in teriyaki sauce, topped with pickled cucumbers and carrots, cherry peppers, cilantro, Sriracha mayo and house-baked French bread
Why it’s special: It’s neither a traditional meatball sandwich nor a traditional bahn mi sandwich.
Price: $5.99 (for a six-inch sandwich)
Food cost: 43 percent
What the judges said: We love Italian-style meatballs and we love the bahn mi, but we don’t even consider these two sandwiches kissing cousins. It starts to makes sense after a quick switch of teriyaki for tomato sauce. It doesn’t take a magician to do that. But Chun cleverly pickles the cucumbers and carrots, giving this sandwich a tang and sourness that play well against the sweet teriyaki. The cherry peppers and Sriracha mayo are just icing on the cake. We can’t imagine anyone not loving this sandwich, except maybe Cousin Vinny. Ehhhhh!
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