Local Eats: Joju Modern Vietnamese Sandwiches in Elmhurst, Queens
If you follow us on Instagram, you already know that we hibernate in the Winter. It'll take a lot of convincing for us to go out. When the warmer months arrive, you can literally see our IG feed become more colorful. It's like we slowly regain feeling from being numb all through the gloomy, snowy days. With that said, we recently kicked off our #BellyFullOfQueens Summer Series on Instagram and our first stop is local gem Joju in Elmhurst, Queens.
I have been meaning to trek to Joju ever since my friend Rina posted a picture of their famous banh mi sandwich on her Instagram last year. I am super happy that I FINALLY went! I guess excitement got the best of me because Michael and I got there 10 minutes before opening time. No worries though, because they actually have a couple of benches right outside (which we took advantage of). Yeah, you bet we were the first customers of the day!
I did what I usually do when I am a newbie at a restaurant- I asked them what they recommend for first timers. The nice lady behind the counter pointed to the following items: #2 Lemongrass Chicken, #4 Beef Bulgogi and #6 Kakuni Pork Belly. I decided to go with #4 and Michael got #6 and we also shared the Loaded Joju Banh Mi Fries. Let me just tell you now, if you're planning to go there (and you've never been), either starve yourself and go later in the day or just get one sandwich to share with a friend. Upon seeing the tray, I got confused because I'm looking at it, thinking to myself "But we didn't order 4 sandwiches". They cut each sandwich in half and that half is filling enough for one person.
Now I stand by what I'm about to say about their sandwiches- the hype does not disappoint. I can see myself going there all the time! I don't know what else to say other than their sandwiches are REALLY good and they know it because why else would they only be serving banh mi sandwiches. The bulgogi banh mi was packed with ingredients, flavors and textures. The bread is amazingly airy, the beef was perfectly marinated, the pickled daikon takes the sandwich to a new level of flavor. I also took a bite of the pork belly banh mi and it was just as amazing as the bulgogi one. I am a fan.
The sandwiches aren't the only things on the menu that will make your belly happy. The Loaded Joju Banh Mi Fries were insanely satisfying. I am a fries fanatic. I always choose fries instead of salad, if given the option. So, I can attest that their fries are ludicrous (in the good way). Now, if you love fries just as much as I do, you'll appreciate the special touch they add to their fries: not only do they top it with pickled daikon, cilantro, spicy mayo and jalapenos but they also put an egg on it (you can choose how you like your egg)! And I hate to say it but those fries defeated me- I couldn't finish all of it and I always eat all of the fries!
Of course, I couldn't eat at a Vietnamese restaurant without getting Vietnamese coffee. That would be criminal. The coffee was also great, I have no complaints. I'll definitely be coming back to this place.