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Best Bahn Mi in Puget Sound

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  • urika Jun 30, 2006 06:59 PM
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Who has the best Vietnamese sandwich in the area? For that matter, the cheapest as well?

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  1. Phocyclo on 1st Ave S across the street from Starbucks HQ has the best I've found, ranging from $2.25 to $2.75.

    Cheapest are generally around 12th & Jackson, $1.25-$1.50. My favorite in that neighborhood is a little deli whose name I can never remember. It's in the same block as Malay Sate Hut, around the corner. Seattle Deli, across the street from Malay Sate Hut makes a decent one as well.

    1. Try Tony's Bakery on MLK. I think they're all $2.00.

      1. Near 12th and Jackson, in the strip mall just south of the one that contains Malay Satay Hut, you'll find Saigon Deli. I like the BBQ pork bahn mi there ($1.75 I think), though the tofu one is a decent runner-up (slightly less cost).

        1. SW corner of 12th & Jackson = Bahn mi 88 (though the signs sometimes confuse me).
          The cook took great care and about 15 minutes to make me up a mized bag of bahn-mi, 4, I think for less than 8.00 with a soda. How can this be? They were fine. I agree that Pho Cyclo does a good job, but remember you can't eat them there (maybe the crumbs attract pests?).

          1 Reply
          1. re: mrnelso

            Yes you can eat them there. Banh mi may not be on the menu (although I think it is) but it's $5.75 and comes with some sort of a side. I've never tried it because I'd rather just walk a few blocks to Cal Anderson Park and sit there. Than pay an extra three bucks. Although the ambience at Pho Cyclo certainly is finer than many.
            I believe it's because Pho Cyclo can get so busy that they can't seat you and they'd rather be seating $8.00/$10.00 lunches than $2.00 lunches. No space for customers spending only $2.00.
            I pick up lunch often enough from Pho Cyclo that they all know me and I've even learned how to pronounce banh mi thit nuong correctly. Or at least half correctly.
            In the Twelfth and Jackson area I once asked an old Vietnamese man where I could get the best banh mi and he gladly escorted me to Seattle Deli. He was quite kind and I found that the banh mi was delicious. I think that I still prefer Pho Cyclo though.

          2. I have been sampling over the past few months. First, I tried the chicken banh mi at Buu Dien, 923 S Jackson, which was exceptional; flavorful meat, great bread and crisp condiments. That same day I tried the BBQ Pork at Bahn Mi 88 (discussed above), which was palatable but not worthy of any excitement; the bread was a bit stale and crumbly and there was little or no dressing (butter and or mayo). Later, I had a grilled pork from Saigon Deli (I think at 1237 S. Jackson-there are at least 3 "Saigon Deli" establishments in the vicinity), which was a notch above Banh Mi 88, but again not worhty of a second try.

            More recently, I had a pork from Seattle Deli, 225 12th Ave. S., which was a marked improvement. The bread was nicely buttered and the ingredients appeaered fresh. Last week, I had a fantastic bahn mi from Pho Cyclo on Broadway. As others have mentioned, they aren't on the dine-in menu (perhaps because of an odd fear of crumbs?), and are listed on a sheet taped to the counter, which mentions fresh baked bread. I had a chicken and a pork, which were the best two sandwiches I've had. Of course, they are marginally more expensive than the many Lil' Saigon sopts, but at $2.50, I really don't mind. They also have a beef and mushroom sandwich that I look forward to taking home.

            2 Replies
            1. re: equinoise

              I second the recommendation for Pho Cyclo's BBQ pork banh mi. Fresh, fragrant and the pork was great. Excellent overall sandwich, and a steal at $3.

              1. re: equinoise

                I just wanted to reiterate the quality of the bahn mi at Pho Cyclo (Broaday). Last night I tried the beef and mushroom, and my wife the tofu. The quality is a clear cut above the others I have tried (and enjoyed), and the sandwich a bit larger. The cost is more ($3.25-3.50) than the 12th and Jackson standard, but I think it worthwhile.

              2. Check out this post: http://tastingmenu.com/archive/2007/0...

                1 Reply
                1. re: landguy

                  Good post. I checked out the Seattlist favorite "Saigon Vietnam Deli", 1200 Jackson, and it was really good; alot of fresh condiments, and lusciously slathered with butter. Generous size and super cheap (buck-fifty for seven varieties, $2 for "BBQ pork"). I prefer mayo to butter, a la Cyclo, but this one ranks at the top.

                2. The Vietnamese deli inside the Great Wall Mall in Renton (on the right side of the Thai restaurant and Pho To Chau) are pretty nice.

                  Pho To Chau (the restaurant that likes to operate next to Ranch 99) has wet, stir-fried meat in their banh mi. And it's $3.50 ($4.75 + tips + tax for eat-in). Yuck.

                  1. Not the cheapest but the most interesting, and the most filling: Baguette Box, one outpost on Cap Hill, another in Fremont. Brought to you by the same family who runs Monsoon.

                    1. I like Seattle Deli the best. I went to Saigon Deli for awhile but a few years ago it got a less than desirable health report so I made the switch. The people at Seattle Deli are nice and the BBQ is 2.50. Prices have been rising in the five years since I have been going there so i am wondering the prices at saigon deli, 88 etc.Are they holding steady to the 1.50 range?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mr.chorizo

                        I was at Saigon Deli this weekend. Prices are 1.50 for the tofu, 2.50 for the BBQ pork and grilled pork, 2.00 for the others.

                      2. Just to add to the discussion, the tofu banh mi from Ann's Teriyaki in Ballard is really good. Not saying it's the best, but it's large and the tofu is freshly fried and hot, and everything about it is delicious.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: asha

                          I went to Seattle Deli today and enjoyed it. Still need to try the others to compare.

                          For more info and pics of my visit today, check out www.taoofchow.wordpress.com

                          Billy Bob

                        2. New! Hong Kong Grocery about 38th & Thompson, Tacoma. Bahn Mi Ga $2.50 on a generous baguette.
                          Delicious.