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Saigon Bakery has the #1 Banh Mi

I had to make a rant: I tried Banh Mi So today, and it was bad. Many people claim this to be the #1 Banh Mi joint in Manhattan, but I don't believe those people have ever been to Saigon Bakery. First of all, the banh mi at Banh Mi So was significantly smaller than the huge ones Saigon has that are enough to satisfy 2 people. Also, Banh Mi So's bread wasn't nearly as thick and fresh (leading to the issue of the sandwich not being big enough). I ordered a spicy chicken banh mi, and the chicken was salted way too heavily and was of pretty poor quality. Finally, the sauce they use is fairly heavy, kind of sweet stuff. Now don't get me wrong: 3.50 for a sandwich is still an incredible deal. I just don't see why people would go here when Saigon Bakery is right around the corner (on 138 Mott Street) and has much fresher, larger banh mi's. Enjoy!

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  1. Maybe for some bigger doesn't always equal better. I'm a Nicky's fan so what do I know.

    1. the top Banh Mi in the city right now is at Momofuku Ssam...hands down

      1. I have to agree with the original poster. And I noticed that Saigon Bakery recently added veggie, chicken, and meatball versions of their sandwiches which I'm dying to try..

        1. Hmm, have yet to try Momofuku Ssam. I didn't even know they had banh mi's. I'll definitely try them now! But I bet they're not as cheap as Saigon, and cheapness is a high priority for me.

          1. Is saigon bakery the one inside the jewelry store ? I've gotten prepackaged banh mi's from them and they're not that good. If they do it fresh I'm pretty sure it will be better but Banh mi so #1 on broome always makes it in front of you. I always get the #1, never tried spicy chicken. Ba xuyen in brooklyn a whole lot better than those 2 though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: randumbposter

              Yeah, that's the place. They've always made my sandwich for me while I waited, and it's always been delicious! I haven't been to Ba Xuyen, though, so I can't make that comparison.

            2. Saigon Bakery is the one in the jewelry store.

              I have to be honest, I'm not a banh mi expert by any means, and SB was my first experience with them. I've only ever tried Banh Mi So, and without having anything else to compare it to for authenticity, I found SB superior, but definitely get it made to order. I usually get mine warm and with extra heat, and no coldcut.

              Looks like I'll have to make a trip to Brooklyn.....

              1. I think the last time I went, the man there just gave me one that was already prepared. How do you get one made to order? Specifically request that he make one from scratch?

                1. based on this board's recco's, and my recent fascination with banh mi (only ever had nicky's in the east village), i took a brisk walk today from my office in tribeca to saigon on mott. there was a line of about 5 people in front of me, not too bad. everyone seemed to be ordering "one spicy". i tried an unspicy pork, and an unspicy chicken. for the record, one sandwich is more than enough (and believe you me, i eat). the pork was absolutely delicious. i tasted the chicken which was good, but not as good, and brought the remainder back to my office for a coworker. he seemed to enjoy while wolfing it down in about 43 seconds.
                  i'll def be back for the pork, at $3.75, you really can't beat this for a tasty lunch.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mindloop

                    I actually prefer the chicken but always get it spicy. I'd love to try their Banh Mi Sardine some time.

                  2. Does the "go before 3 p.m." rule stand everyday for Saigon?

                    My friends and I are planning on stopping by after work around 5:30...will we be out of luck for the pork bahn mi by then?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: carlywood

                      No they usually have pork all day and into the evening, but if you go in the evening, they'll give you a pre-made one and it won't taste as good. However they run out of chicken earlier in the day.

                    2. saigon bakery is out of control, yes! I've only gotten the pork one and it was overflowing with ingredients, vegetables and straight delicious. also the best deal, pound for pound or quarter for quarter.

                      as for momofuku, a very different banh mi, like the gourmet street food version and while delicious, not really a contender in terms of the particular class of sandwiches that banh mi generally is.

                      1. I've never had a bahn mi before...so when i go there I just have to say "pork bahn mi, please" and it will come with all the fixins'?

                        Thx!

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: moymoy

                          ya, get the roast pork banh mi. it's almost like sweet crispy pieces of pork, not big slices of pork. but ask for it with some heat (sauce, or jalapenos). although apparently, it seems they have expanded their menu, but this pork one is outta control.

                          as to the original comment by the poster, not only does Saigon Bakery offer superior quantity, it also offers superior quality, so this is really the top choice. they tend to get crowded at lunchtime, but that's also the best time to pick it up because they're making them right there and then. I've never had a pre-made one but I don't think it would make *too* much of a difference.

                          1. re: bigjeff

                            oh, boy sounds amazing. Any special drink to wash this down with? (non-alcoholic)

                            been eating vietnamese for years (original nha trang) don't know how i missed bahn mi's

                            1. re: moymoy

                              At the old location, literally jammed inside the Manhattan Bridge, they served up Vietnamese Ice Coffee. I figure, as long as you're going to go with the heat, why not get your heart bouncing like a basketball as well. Enjoy.
                              P.

                              1. re: moymoy

                                get #1 spicy and you'll be happy

                                1. re: moymoy

                                  They serve Vietnamese coffee (sugar and condensed milk) both hot and iced.

                              2. re: moymoy

                                yes, and definitely get it spicy. the heat is not overwhelming and markedly enhances the sandwich. (i also ask for no mayo, but that's me).

                                and yes, the super-potent iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk and crushed ice is a lovely stimulant with which to wash down all that food. enjoy!

                                1. re: rose water

                                  Ok #1 spicy with iced coffee...I can't wait! You Chowhounds are the BEST!

                              3. I have been trying to get them to make a shrimp version. The guy there said he would think about it....... now please everyone, help me, all go bug them to make a shrimp banh mi. Who knows, maybe it will be great!!!