Cheap Eats

Lunch Break: Sandwiches for a Song

Look beyond the banh mi (but also, don’t forget the banh mi).

By Alice Levitt and Katharine Shilcutt May 31, 2016 Published in the June 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Sliders at Mexico's Deli

Cali Sandwich

Pork banh mi, $3.25

The marinated meat, the puckery pickles, the flaky baguette… We reckon there isn’t a better banh mi for less cash anywhere in the city. The grilled barbecue pork is our favorite, but the ham, pork meatball, bologna and steamed pork versions are all awfully hard to resist.

Antone’s Famous Po’Boy

Original, $5.75

Grab a ham, salami and provolone-filled Original, heavy on the mayo and sweet chow-chow, and taste Houston’s most enduringly iconic sandwich, an interpretation of the Cajun po-boy through a Lebanese lens.

Mexico’s Deli

Mexican sliders, 3 for $7.99

The sampler plate at this iconic Westside torta shop includes three sliders on mini telera rolls. There’s tender cochinita pibil with achiote-marinated onions; hearty breaded chicken breast with ham and melted cheese; and an even heartier lomito argentino, steak topped with still more ham and cheese, plus an egg and jalapeño mayonnaise.

Manena’s Pastry Shop & Deli

Sandwich de miga, 2 for $4.50

In Argentina, sandwiches de miga are a way of life. This popular little shop sells the crust-less white-bread creations in pairs or in packages of six. The toasted ham-and-cheese version is bound to bring back childhood memories, no matter where you grew up.

Xi’an Noodle

Rou jia mo, $3.50

China’s answer to a pulled pork sammie has existed since at least the Qin Dynasty. This spot may be little more than a counter and a few tables, but it’s the only place in Houston to bite into flaky bread filled with cumin-spiced lamb or rich, anise-flavored pork.

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