Along with soup dumplings, what was long most sorely lacking in Berlin’s fast-food landscape was bánh mì, or Vietnamese sandwiches. It felt odd in a city with so large and lively a Vietnamese population that this delight was kept from us (or most likely we just weren’t looking well enough). In its ideal state, a well-stuffed bánh mì is a perfect combination of French baguette and Vietnamese crunch, spice, and meat–and at Cô Cô they come real close.
My favorite is the ‘special’ which adds chicken pâté and marinated pork to the regular toppings of homemade mayo, cucumber, tomato, carrot, cilantro, pickled veggies, and liver pâté. Now that might seem like a lot of meat, but unlike a Reuben sandwich, this better-portioned bánh mì balances out the hearty meatiness with the crisp, tangy, and sweet flavors of all the vegetables. I haven’t tried the vegetarian option, I must admit, and I did miss the crazy punch that a (larger?) dash of fish sauce and more chilies would have given these, but if you’re even a moderate meat-eater, you’d be amiss not to try one of these.
Unlike the Vietnamese sandwich places I used to frequent almost daily in Chinatown, Cô Cô offers plentiful and well-lit seating, so you can enjoy your lemongrass green tea, yogurt shake, or a vegan banana gâteau looking out at the passing trams and the unceasing stream hipsters coming in and out of laptop-mecca Oberholz across the street.