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Vietnamese Sandwiches

foodio Jul 26, 2006 07:47 PM

I've been hearing wonders about these Vietnamese Sandwiches but have never had one. Would someone be so kind as to tell me what exactly they are, and where to get them?


  1. j
    josamania Jul 26, 2006 07:51 PM

    They are like mini subs with deli meat, pickled vegetables and secret (yummy) sauce that go for less than $2. You can find them in Chinatown at many Vietnamese deli counters or at major Chinese supermarkets (T&T).

    1. j
      jayseeca Jul 26, 2006 08:17 PM

      Hmmm... for some reason I remember the sauce being mayo and fish sauce.
      I find the deli meats in it to be a little odd looking, but the sandwich still tastes great! What really makes it good is the fresh cilantro they put in.. yum.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jayseeca
        Val Jul 26, 2006 08:22 PM

        I agree about the cilantro and lately I've been requesting extra on my Banh Mi sandwich. There is something so delectable about the crusty fresh roll, pickled daikon and carrot, whatever sauce it is, fresh cilantro and then the meat ( and not TONS of it like American sandwiches). We're so fortunate here in SW FL to have a new Vietnamese restaurant recently open.

        1. re: Val
          Yongeman Jul 27, 2006 11:15 AM

          Oh yeah, it's all good. The 'sauce' is a mixture of pate and mayo, to the best of my knowledge. That's the French influence in Viet Nam, along with the great bread.

      2. d
        Debinko Jul 27, 2006 04:17 PM

        Viet sandwich shops are all over Chinatown. Many along Spadina.
        One of my favourites is Roses cafe, but this is in the small Chinatwon @ Broadview/Gerrard. Wonderful place.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Debinko
          julesrules Jul 27, 2006 09:24 PM

          What do I have to do to get mayo and chilis on a Roses' sub? I have started going to the bakery across the street instead.

          1. re: julesrules
            Yongeman Jul 27, 2006 09:55 PM

            Rose Cafe puts the mayo/pate mixture on a regular banh mi. I'm sure of it

            1. re: Yongeman
              julesrules Jul 28, 2006 03:45 AM

              I always thought the pate was just pate. And then there is mayo, or should be. Anyway I guess I don't like their sandwiches and they seemed disinterested when I tried to ask for chilis. But we can agree that banh mi is a delicious thing. I happen to like the ones at the bakery across the street if anyone wants to do a taste-off!

              1. re: julesrules
                sierramum Oct 4, 2006 12:27 AM

                julesrules, where exactly is the bakery across the street and what is it named? I was going to try it on Sunday but the only thing I saw were little grocery shops. I went back to Rose's cafe instead, but am willing to try the banh mi at other places.

                1. re: sierramum
                  julesrules Oct 4, 2006 05:50 PM

                  It might be down (south) the street a little ways. It's a chinese-style bakery where you help yourself to buns onto cafeteria trays. I think it has a red sign with gold lettering - BUT I could be imagining that. I don't know when I will be down that way next to post the actual correct info but I will try.

                  1. re: julesrules
                    sierramum Oct 8, 2006 04:53 PM

                    I found the bakery today. It's called Tung Hing Bakery and it's on the east side of Broadview, just north of Rose's Cafe. I ordered the assorted banh mi ($2) and have to say that I was very disappointed. I didn't really like the bread they use; I didn't really like the roast pork in it; extra coriander wasn't "extra" IMO; I SAW her put the chiles in when I asked for spicy but I couldn't taste any of it or even get a sense of spicy at all; and I'm not sure if there was pate in it or not.

                    But thanks for the recommendation at least, jules. I'm always open to trying out how different locations present their foods. For now, however, I'm happy to stick with Rose's (where I bought 5 banh mi today!).

                    1. re: sierramum
                      julesrules Oct 9, 2006 08:59 PM

                      How odd, most of what you describe is how I would describe Rose's - lack of spice and pate for example! I do usually get the extra meat sub for $2.50 I think. Well thanks for trying it out anyway.

            2. re: julesrules
              Riverdaleto Oct 11, 2006 03:23 PM

              Rose's always has chilis. Just ask. I've been going there about 6 years and never had a problem. They probably leave it off unless you ask because some people can't take the spice. I didn't know the mayo was mixed in with the pate. That wasn't my impression. They don't put pate on all the varieties at Rose's, so again just ask. I find Rose's the best banh my in Chinatown East.

            3. re: Debinko
              munch Aug 4, 2006 05:29 PM

              Anyone know how late Roses is open? I am not in the area often and if I am its usually 10:30-11pm

              1. re: Debinko
                Wiley Oct 4, 2006 09:51 AM

                Meat ball bahn mi at Rose's is great, too! Also had one of their dumplings with meat, sausage sliver and egg in the centre, from the glass case at the bottom..reheated and went well with my morning coffee!

              2. Tara9000 Jul 27, 2006 08:46 PM

                Here's a decent review of a few banh mi places around Toronto:


                1. t
                  TwinklyTerrapin Jul 27, 2006 09:25 PM

                  Sadly, my favourite, Co Yen, is no more. They had this Buddha sub that was the BEST -- wheat gluten (yeah, I know -- but wait, t gets better) with garlic, lemongrass and chili. It was amazing. Ohhh, I can almost taste it now...

                  ...does anyone know a place that has anything like Co Yen's Buddha sub?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: TwinklyTerrapin
                    Yongeman Jul 27, 2006 09:57 PM

                    Co Yen was also my favourite, but my new fave is Rose Cafe on Broadview. I never have a banh mi any way except for a standard, spicy one. I don't mess with the fillings.

                    1. re: Yongeman
                      Davwud Aug 17, 2006 04:58 PM

                      Yongeman turned me onto this delicious little treat. I loved it. Listen to what the man says.


                    2. re: TwinklyTerrapin
                      Blueicus Jul 28, 2006 04:12 AM

                      No need to apologize with regards to wheat gluten, I personally like it.

                    3. jennjen18 Jul 28, 2006 12:52 AM

                      My favourite is Nguyen Hong on Spadina, just north of Dundas. They have a variety of banh mi's, and you can order them just how you like them--spicy, non spicy, more cilantro, etc. Of course, you have to pay for more meat! But standard is $1.50/each. Their meat is so tasty! I love love loooooooove their pate though.

                      There's also cold noodles, and spring/noodle rolls that they sell. They have a deli section and sell most of their meats that they put in their banh mi's. And, they have a dessert section (which I've never tried).

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jennjen18
                        peppermint pate Jul 28, 2006 12:27 PM

                        I think this is the spot I go to for their deli treats and sticky coconut rice in banana leaves. My favourite package from the refrigerated section has fried egg and this other fried stuff that's kind of glutinous, like a tapioca or rice flour curd or something like that - it comes with a little tub of soy sauce - any idea what I'm eating? It's so good.

                        1. re: peppermint pate
                          lemonpie Aug 17, 2006 05:57 PM

                          "fried stuff that's kind of glutinous, like a tapioca or rice flour curd or something like that - it comes with a little tub of soy sauce" -- i believe you're referring to the fried turnip. The turnip is mixed with some glutinous flour + corn flour to give that texture (and for easy frying).

                          1. re: lemonpie
                            peppermint pate Aug 17, 2006 10:47 PM

                            Hey lemonpie - thanks for trying to decipher my vague description. And how timely - I just posted yesterday about my first fried turnip cake experience at Congee Wong yesterday and you're right, there is a similarity to the stuff in the package. At the Vietnamese shop, the "glutinous stuff" has a bit more of a solid consistency but both were fried with some bits of scrambled egg and the texture was pretty close. Cool!

                        2. re: jennjen18
                          Jar Aug 4, 2006 01:15 AM

                          Why would one need dessert after such a wonderful sandwich!!!!!! Find mine further away, but have been there often! I do not get downtown anywhere like I used to, but can you even imagine in the Toronto area, millions of people not knowing/loving pho and banh mi??????

                        3. Teep Jul 28, 2006 02:07 PM

                          Also, the bread used is a mini French loaf. The crust should be really crisp and the insides soft and light. That's one reason why the sandwich has to be eaten ASAP and won't keep, in case the crust goes all soggy. I go to Ginger for Banh Mi as they are close to where I work, but they are not the traditional ones with cold cuts, but rather with grilled chicken, beef or tofu.

                          1. c
                            Craig Jul 28, 2006 08:22 PM

                            Both Banh Mi Che Cali and the place immediately next door to it are pretty good. Actually, I think the 'next door' place is a little better, but they always KILL me with the spicy versions. $1.50 either way, with veggie/tofu and meat choices (and others if you speak Vietnamese, perhaps...)

                            They are both right near where Co Yen used to be, on the west side of Yonge north of Dundas.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Craig
                              Teep Jul 29, 2006 03:21 AM

                              YONGE and Dundas?

                              1. re: Teep
                                Yongeman Jul 29, 2006 10:34 PM

                                Teep means Spadina and Dundas (north of Dundas).

                            2. j
                              josamania Jul 28, 2006 08:28 PM

                              I know these wondering things should be consumed immediately after purchase. However since they are such convenient little tasty meals to keep around in the fridge - what is the maximum time do you think they are good for? 3 days?

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: josamania
                                pinstripeprincess Jul 28, 2006 08:40 PM

                                around there.... i wouldn't suggest much longer and ensuring that once they're purchased and safely stowed away in the fridge, they stay there until you're ready to eat.

                                let's just say one day spent staring at porcelain has taught me that you can't carry them very far.

                                1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                  jennjen18 Jul 29, 2006 12:37 AM

                                  Ewwwwwwww. :P

                                2. re: josamania
                                  Tara9000 Jul 29, 2006 12:57 PM

                                  I buy a bunch and keep them in the fridge for a few days while we go through them. I think 20-30 seconds in the microwave softens up the bread nicely before you eat them.

                                  1. re: Tara9000
                                    jennjen18 Jul 29, 2006 06:12 PM

                                    I usually put it in the toaster oven (I guess convection oven would do the same) to toast up the bread to make it semi-crispy again. Putting it in the microwave, I find, actually makes the bread chewy. Perhaps I put it in too long. I like crispy more than chewy.

                                  2. re: josamania
                                    julesrules Aug 4, 2006 03:46 AM

                                    Someone actually told me that his family buys dozens at a time and then freezes them. I haven't tried it but I think I will, now that my office is moving away from Chinatown, what a great lunch to grab out of the freezer!

                                  3. redhead Aug 15, 2006 08:34 PM

                                    I'd just like to thank you all for opening my world to the delight that is the banh mi, and curse you out at the same time...I live close to Rose's cafe so, of course, had to try it out. I now consider myself fully addicted...to top it off, the last time I went, the woman behind the counter talked me into buying **all** the spring rolls she had. My hubby and I ate 10 of them in 24 hours..and they are NOT tiny. Clearly I am an easy mark...or just look hungry

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: redhead
                                      jennjen18 Aug 15, 2006 11:07 PM

                                      Haaaaaaaaahahaha. :) I'm sorry, I had to let that out. Forgive me.

                                      OKay, but on a serious note--what kind of spring rolls were they? Were they spring, as in the fried kind of rolls? Or were they a sort of cold roll, which is a much healthier type when eating in batches?

                                      1. re: jennjen18
                                        redhead Aug 16, 2006 02:23 PM

                                        ..the fried kind (pork and veggie versions)..taste great hot or cold...not the low fat healthly option unfortunately (but darn good!)

                                    2. g
                                      GHound Aug 17, 2006 01:47 PM

                                      There is some excellent pho around the Keele and Finch/Wilson area, but I have yet to try these sandwiches.

                                      Any banh mi restaurants in North York?

                                      1. q
                                        qtxniki Aug 18, 2006 11:38 PM

                                        I did a write up on Nguyen Huong on Spadina. It's no co yen or rose cafe.

                                        (just started, so give some support!)

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: qtxniki
                                          Atahualpa Oct 4, 2006 04:44 AM

                                          You're right that its no rose cafe -- its much better. I've done side by side tastings and Rose's pate is just a little musty to me and their buns can be soggy or too chewy (they seem to be making their stuff a little too far ahead). They also don't give enough of the mayo/fish sauce/sriracha mixture. Nguyen Huong all the way (oh and much better than Che Cali next door too).

                                          1. re: qtxniki
                                            Atahualpa Oct 4, 2006 04:46 AM

                                            I just went and looked at you're blog (nice, by the way) and I must say, that doesn't look anything like a Bahn Mi that I've ever gotten from Nguyen Huong. I think they deserve another go. I always get lots of chilies and lots more pickled veggies, and if you ask you can get lots of cilantro (and once they had ngo gai on the counter and they put that in for me too -- delicious).

                                          2. c
                                            chocohead Oct 9, 2006 01:15 AM

                                            in terms of the joints around spadina and dundas, there is actually a place just west of spadina on dundas on the north side of the street that makes them fresh instead of premade in plastic wrap

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: chocohead
                                              xtal Oct 9, 2006 03:34 PM


                                              How far west is this place? Can you describe it at all?

                                              1. re: xtal
                                                chocohead Oct 9, 2006 06:21 PM

                                                it is maybe the 5th storefront west. not far at all. and as far as descriptions, they just sell sandwiches and some veit groceries. pretty basic. on a side note, there is a dumpling place on the same block a few doors away (downstairs) called 'chinese traditional dumpling" that has wonderful northern chinese food for cheep cheep cheep.

                                                1. re: chocohead
                                                  Delish Oct 9, 2006 07:06 PM

                                                  I've been to this place! It was actually my first experience with these sandwiches - which I was very skeptical about liking - and it was really, really good! Very fresh and tasty.

                                                  1. re: chocohead
                                                    xtal Oct 10, 2006 03:15 PM


                                                    I know where Chinese Traditional Buns is, as it's one of my favourites, so that helps me place the Vietnamese place you speak of.

                                                2. re: chocohead
                                                  missmu Feb 3, 2007 06:22 PM

                                                  Thanks. I ate there today after reading your post. I've passed it a few times before, without going in. It's called Ba Le. I think it now replaces Co Yen as my go to place. (Funny, my sisters have their names - where Co and Ba are roughly 'Miss' and 'Mrs', respectively.) It was delicious and fresh. I like that they use a narrower bun and paper bag as it makes it a little neater to eat. Though, from what I could see they seemed limited with the spreads, which is fine with me since that's how I prefer mine. I also got the rice paper rolls with shrimp and gio. They were tasty too - the rice paper still had a fair amount of moisture, and there were Thai basil leaves inside.

                                                  I was excited to see that they had yellow bean sticky rice on my way out. Don't remember seeing that before in the other stores, but I could be wrong. Will get some on my next visit.

                                                  If anyone's curious, the # 2 sandwich doesn't appear on the English menu board - I think it's pork intestine.

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