Pork, luncheon meats, shredded cured pork skin, pate, mayonnaise, radish, carrot pickles, cucumbers, coriander and chilies in a baguette. This is the BANH MI you often hear about in Vietnam.
As promised in my previous post, here is a list of five banh mis in Vietnam – just Saigon and Hanoi to be exact. Each of them carries their own personalities, like how there’s the meat powerhouse against the minimalist one, and more. Some are worth every cent spent and every fat gained, while you can just don’t bother trying some.
You’ll find below the five banh mis ranked based on my personal tastes. These are the ones that are highly rated and positively reviewed online such as on TripAdvisor. BUT not all of them are as good as raved about.
1. Banh Mi Huynh Hoa
If there’s one thing you MUST try in Saigon, it would be this LESBIAN BANH MI – probably the biggest, thickest, heaviest and most filling banh mi you can find here. Also, THE BEST in my opinion. This was so damn good I ate it twice. There was a queue both times.
This banh mi boasted GENEROUS portions of meat – there were around FIVE TO SIX cuts of meat sandwiched in between. Bite through the layers of meat and savor the symphony of flavors bursting in your mouth like fireworks. The sheer amount of meat makes this every hardcore carnivore’s dream.
Some, however, might think that it’s overly massive with too much meat and too little vegetables.
Slathered with liver pate which elevates the overall flavor, dosed with crazily spicy chili (you have been warned), wrapped with deliciously crusty bread and stuffed with all the meat, this baguette’s GLORIOUS.
Half a baguette and close up of the many different meats.
Meat, meat and more meat!
Address: 26 Le Thi Rieng, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening Hours: 3 plus – midnight
Prices: 35,000 VND (SGD 2.20)
2. Banh Mi 25
The only thing I liked less about this banh mi is the type of bread used – thinner and not as crusty nor fluffy as the rest. Other than that, I totally LOVED every other aspect of it! I ate this twice.
Every single ingredient sliced and stuffed into the baguette was VERY FRESH. The cuts of meat had great texture and flavor, and were not too fatty – this particular point really made this banh mi stand out from the rest. The bread to meat to vegetables ratio was just right too.
Free tea and fresh bananas provided is a bonus.
You gotta try this before leaving Hanoi.
Just by looking at this picture makes me crave for it NOW.
Such a prettily packaged banh mi!
Address: 25 Hang Ca Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening Hours: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Prices: 15,000 – 25,000 VND (SGD 0.95 – 1.60)
3. Banh Mi 37 Nguyen Trai
It was a close fight between Banh Mi 37 in Saigon and Banh Mi 25 in Hanoi.
I would say this is a no-frills banh mi, probably the most minimalist banh mi you can find here. With only pork sliders, cucumbers, cilantro and herbs, it’s really basic yet DELISH.
The minced pork sliders were seasoned and freshly grilled over charcoal before being slid into the bread. The sliders were SUPER well-seasoned, giving it so much flavor. Also, I personally think they have the BEST BREAD of the perfect crustiness (exterior) and fluffiness (interior).
The brown teriyaki-like sauce in it further accentuated the flavor of the meat. Although the vegetables were minimal and pate was absent, it was still yummy! The queue I saw attests to the goodness of this baguette – try it yourself!
There’s a total of five pork sliders inside!
Lady grilling the meat fresh on the spot! And now we know why the bread’s so crusty.
Fresh from the grills!
Address: 37 Nguyen Trai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (walk into the alley and you’ll see this red cart!)
Opening Hours: 4 plus p.m. – 7 plus p.m.
Prices: 17,000 VND (SGD 1.05)
4. Banh Mi Pho Hue
The amount of ingredients stuffed into this banh mi certainly pales in comparison to the lesbian banh mi. But this one here is actually pretty tasty! The various ingredients (pork floss, meat slices, cucumber etc) come together well.
I love the bread too ’cause it’s very crusty!
Decent overall but definitely wouldn’t warrant another visit. Nothing much to shout about. But for those who like a moderate amount of fillings in your banh mi, this one’s for you!
Look at the beautiful golden-brown crust of the bread.
Address: 118 Pho Hue, Hanoi
Opening Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Prices: 25,000 VND (SGD 1.60)
5. Banh Mi Hong Hoa
My deepest impression of this banh mi: It was laden with fats and the pate wasn’t very fresh either. These made me rank this the last out of all five.
I can’t think of anything good about this baguette.
There are people whom I read about who loves this one though!
Seeing the ingredients above made me have high expectations of it but it was a disappointment.
Address: 62 Nguyen Van Trang, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening Hours: Morning around 8 a.m.
Prices: 17,000 VND (SGD 1.05)
The top three ranked banh mis above are definitely worth trying, the one ranked fourth is a good-to-try while you can just give the last one a miss.
Banh mi stalls are ubiquitous in Vietnam and you can’t possibly try them all unless you’re a bottomless pit, so I hope this list helps you out in deciding the ones deserving a part of your limited stomach space! 🙂