Not long after, when the deli’s owners realised that they still couldn’t get the type of sandwich that they wanted — one featuring those very same imported ingredients they were already selling, they became sandwich makers and soon hit upon success.
Similar changes have occurred along Xuan Thuy, the street North End lives on. Originally bereft of Western competition, the street has now become a food and drink hotspot for District 2 residents. Several other cafes, eateries, a well-known craft beer pub, plus North End’s neighbouring cocktail bar Aperitivo, all make the street a legitimate place to make a night of it, especially when the city seems far away.
Ultimately, it’s the consistency of its core product that has made the eatery popular. Whether eaten street-side on tables or delivered to your door, North End Deli makes the most filling, best-tasting warm focaccias, with quality ingredients that are all fully imported. It also doesn’t skimp on portions. Co-owner Attilio Bottero believes a good sandwich should fill you up, and that you should taste and enjoy each part of it. Here those parts include mortadella, mozzarella, prosciutto and emmental, which appear frequently on his menu. Thankfully things like provolone, honey-mustard, bacon and smoked ham are also along for the ride.
For mine, the chicken, bacon and Swiss (VND119,000) is a slice of pure sandwich heaven, but now with a 21-strong line up to choose from, everyone will have their favourites. Right up there is the top-selling Hot Italian (VND139,000), in all its meaty, cheesy spicy glory, while the smoked salmon (VND149,000) drips with cream cheese, cucumber, tomato and honey-mustard dressing.
Get Sandwich Happy
It may look easy to Attilio's customers, but the process of getting there has been complicated.
“Only when we become consistent on something can we add something more,” he says. “It took months to get us to this point, but right now I am happy.”
Hungry people outside of District 2 should also be happy from now on. The guys have just opened a new delivery kitchen in Binh Thanh to spread their focaccia love. You lucky devils. — Jon Aspin
North End Deli is at 80C Xuan Thuy, Q2, HCMC, Tel: (08) 3744 2099. You can find them online at facebook.com/thenorthenddelivn