After fumbling numerous times to remember the name of the restaurant and how to pronounce it, it dawned on me. Saiguette…Saigon + baguette! Cue the light bulb moment!
Saiguette is a little corner “restaurant” up in the Manhattan Valley, walking distance from Central Park one way and Columbia University the other. I put “restaurant” in quotes because there are only about six stools, tightly packed together, that you can sit at inside. Otherwise, feel free to pick-up or get delivery.
For such a tiny establishment, they do churn out quite a variety of food. Appetizers from crispy fried calamari to BBQ spare ribs, salads like papaya salad and grilled shrimp salad, soups like laksa (the curry and coconut milk soup) and pho, noodles, entrees, and of course, their Saiguette sandwiches, or banh mi. Oh, and don’t forget about their “sweet treats” like the sticky rice banana pouch and peanut mochi!
I knew I was for sure going to try one of their sandwiches, but a few minutes before placing my order, I read about how amazing their steamed moon dumplings were. Here’s how my thought process went:
Am I that hungry? No.
Do I need an appetizer and a sandwich just for myself? No.
If I don’t finish, will I be able to take it home? No.
Conclusion: Get both.
Yes. I know. I’m ridiculous.
I just couldn’t resist! Normally this probably would be solved by having whoever accompanied me to the restaurant split my order with me, but alas, I was alone and as always, wanting to try everything.
I have to say it was a wise decision on my part (yeah, I said it…WISE) because the dumplings were so, so so, good. Now these are some plump dumplings. To be honest though, I don’t know what exactly “moon dumplings” are or why they’re called that. My guess is that it’s because they’re round rather than the typical semi-circle shape you might find. A quick Google search wasn’t too helpful either because it mostly brought up people trying to figure out how to make moon dumplings on the video game Harvest Moon, which, full disclosure, I was completely obsessed with as a child. I knew it was meant to be.
For my sandwich, I chose the grilled lemongrass pork shoulder option because it brought back memories of when my mom and I would go to the same Vietnamese restaurant every Sunday afternoon when I was younger and I would order lemongrass chicken every time, without fail. There are plenty of other choices too like grilled flank steak, crispy spiced chicken cutlet, and pork belly, and each sandwich comes with cucumber, pickled carrot, pickled jalapeno, and spicy chili mayo on their homemade flaky bread.
So after I tackled six dumplings by myself, they placed this giant, over-stuffed sandwich in front of me. Good grief! There was no way I was going to eat it all but I gave it a good go. At the end, I started just eating the pieces of pork alone because I couldn’t fill up on any more bread and the meat was too flavorful and tender to pass up.
Needless to say, I sauntered out of Saiguette totally, incredibly full of food, and full of happiness at finding another one of those places in Manhattan that seems unassuming but turns out to be on another level. New York City, the city that always surprises.
Garlic chives shrimp steamed moon dumpling, grilled lemongrass pork shoulder sandwich
935 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10025