Hot Plate

Two-Minute Drill: Banh mi. That's Vietnamese for a sandwich -- ubiquitous in Little Saigon, on the south side of Midtown -- and no one does the humble sandwich better than Givral's [2704 Milam (713)529-0462; and 9308 Bellaire Boulevard, (713)988-7275]. At lunchtime the line can run out the door of the tiny Milam storefront, and for good reason. The made-to-order sandwiches start out with a super-crusty nine-inch French roll, from which the doughy center has been removed. A slather of homemade mayo is quickly followed by your choice of ten different ingredients. My favorites are the charcoal pork, more charbroiled than smoky, and the intensely flavored pâté. Julienned carrots, cucumber strips, cilantro, jalapeño and a dash of a dark seasoning sauce will awaken even the most moribund of taste buds. Two bucks and two minutes is all it takes.

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Paul Galvani