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Banh Mi?

c
cbnyc Apr 16, 2007 11:09 AM

Where exactly can I get good, authentic Vietnamese sandwiches? Addresses or cross streets, please. Looking to relive my childhood in New York. Thanks!

  1. l
    lchang Apr 16, 2007 11:17 AM

    You can probably find lots of posts on this, in fact there's been something of a banh mi blitz on chowhound lately! :)
    But my favorite banh mi under $4 is Bánh Mì Saigon Bakery on 138 Mott and my favorite
    banh mi under $10 is Momofuku Ssam on 13th and 2nd.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lchang
      ronoc Apr 16, 2007 11:51 AM

      Second Saigon. Go at lunchtime, as evening is uncertain and probably not as fresh.

      1. re: lchang
        m
        melc May 18, 2007 05:19 AM

        Okay, I went on a banh mi blitz a few months ago, and here's what I came up with:

        Ba Xuyên - I know it's far, but trust me it's worth it!
        Pho Saigon - in Chinatown, Bowery just south of Canal, I like the BBQ pork banh mi
        Nicky's
        Sau Voi Corp

      2. s
        sam1 Apr 16, 2007 01:19 PM

        i actually prefer nicky's vietnamese sandwiches on 2nd street off ave a over banh mi so 1 on broome east of mott.

        i think the banh mi at ssam bar absolutely is the best though.

        10 Replies
        1. re: sam1
          k
          Kanger Apr 16, 2007 02:14 PM

          I've only had each of them once, but I would say Nicky's is my #1, Saigon Bakery #2, Ssam Bar #3.

          1. re: Kanger
            p
            psawce Apr 17, 2007 10:02 AM

            Nicky's is my #1.

            1. re: psawce
              p
              piccola Jun 24, 2007 05:21 PM

              Nicky's isn't the best for veggie banh mi, IMO. For once, I think the meat substitutes work better than portobello mushrooms, and Nicky's only uses the latter.

              Of course, I can't speak for the meat sandwiches. It may be that Nicky's rules for these guys.

              1. re: piccola
                rose water Jun 24, 2007 05:40 PM

                Nope. I think their mushroom sandwich is better than their others. My favorite of the veggie banh mi options is the one with seaweed and other goodies at Banh Mi So 1, then Nicky's portobello, then Saigon Banh Mi's tofu vegetable sandwich. My favorite overall Manhattan banh mi is the saigon pork, spicy, no mayo.

          2. re: sam1
            m
            Mazzer Apr 16, 2007 03:00 PM

            Momofuku Ssam's banh mi is spectacular, but authentic it ain't.

            1. re: Mazzer
              s
              smon320 Apr 16, 2007 04:44 PM

              Saigon Banh Mi's still reigns supreme. Haven't tried Momofuku Ssam's banh mi yet but heard great reviews.

              1. re: smon320
                Miss Needle May 18, 2007 02:57 PM

                I adore Momofuku's banh mi. It is very pricey and small, but very delicious. Saigon is a second, though I had a pretty dry and flavorless one this week. I then put Nicky's and Number 1third and fourth.

                1. re: smon320
                  d
                  duckfat Jul 3, 2007 08:17 PM

                  if momofuki's banh mi is what you like then try fatty crab , its malaysian food but their banh mi is as good as momofuko..also Province on church st has a few different kinds from pork shoulder to spicy fish

                2. re: Mazzer
                  j
                  josefr Apr 16, 2007 07:03 PM

                  "Momofuku Ssam's banh mi" is tiny and pricey. I live on that block and still order Nicky's delivery. If your going to by the hype of Momofuku Ssam, I would try something more adventure-some and get you banh mi craving filled at Nicky's. We really need a good banh mi shop in midtown for my lunch time pleasure too.

                  1. re: josefr
                    janethepain Apr 17, 2007 08:35 AM

                    Actually, one just opened in east midtown - Boi to go. I've never been, but looking at the menu, it's a pretty pricy bahn mi - $7ish

              2. MBShapiro Apr 17, 2007 09:02 AM

                Count me in as a dissenting opinion on saigon. I really like vietnam banh mi better on broome and mott. and i had the ssam banh mi last night, which is interesting, but three times the price, half the size and not authentic.

                1. g
                  Get In My Belly Apr 17, 2007 09:58 AM

                  it sounds shady, but i really like the one at the vietnamese video/underwear store on lafayette st., about 2 blocks south of canal, SE corner.

                  unfortunately, i dont remember the name (or even if they have a name).

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Get In My Belly
                    janethepain Apr 17, 2007 10:10 AM

                    Haha yeah, it's called Sau Voi Corp. (or at least has those bits in its real name) or something. I used to get bahn mi from there too, pretty cheap and good. I found Bahn Mi So No. 1 a little too greasy for my tastes.

                    1. re: janethepain
                      d
                      david sprague Apr 17, 2007 11:18 AM

                      i like the abovementioned catch-all store's banh mi a lot as well. So No 1 is probably my favorite, and Nicky's, in my opinion, just doesn't cut it. not terrible, just a little less oomph.

                      1. re: david sprague
                        k
                        KTinNYC Apr 17, 2007 11:32 AM

                        No. 1 is my favorite as well because they are freshly made.

                        1. re: david sprague
                          d
                          davisready Apr 19, 2007 03:09 PM

                          I actually found my experience to be the opposite. Maybe i went on a bad day, but my banh mi from So No 1 was rather flavorless and the bread was a bit stale. I've been going to Nicky's ever since. Maybe I should try No 1 again.

                      2. re: Get In My Belly
                        a
                        addictedtolunch Apr 17, 2007 04:38 PM

                        People put Sau Voi low on their list of favorite Banh Mi but I like them. Smaller than Saigon perhaps but quite tasty and not as hit and miss, depending on the time of day, as Saigon (which admittedly can be great). And the store is so sketchy and weird that you feel so "ethnic" because you had the nerve to walk in and actually eat food from this place.

                        1. re: addictedtolunch
                          nyufoodie Apr 19, 2007 04:03 PM

                          I'd go for Saigon Bakery for the classic (#1) and Nicky's for the porkchop and sardines!

                      3. m
                        mnguyen Apr 26, 2007 08:25 AM

                        Saigon Banh Mi is really good. The chicken is great, the cha and pate one great, the cha siu pork one is tasty but heavy. Authentic is a tricky word. They are delicious, but they may be a little different then the ones you grew up with, as the couple who runs it are Chinese from Saigon. And So. 1 is right around the corner, so you can just pick up a couple and compare.

                        http://www.themaltesebacon.com

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: mnguyen
                          MOREKASHA Apr 26, 2007 02:20 PM

                          I'll go to Nicky's when in the area, but I don;t think it's worth a detour. I do like the place on Lafayette, though the quality and flavor varies from time to time. The "new place" Paris wasn't bad. Bahn Mi So just doesn't cut it for me, I can't say that I even remember that place when I'm jonesing for a Bahn Mi.

                          1. re: MOREKASHA
                            s
                            stuartlafonda Apr 27, 2007 04:09 PM

                            The sandwich at Paris is indeed not bad, it is in fact terrible, an abomination. Saigon is my place, once a week every week, #1 spicy.Banh Mi Sau Voi Cafe/ Sau Voi Corp, Sandwiches & Records( as the menu explains) is O.K, it was my go to place before Saigon moved from under the bridge to Mott street.

                            1. re: MOREKASHA
                              a_and_w Apr 27, 2007 05:15 PM

                              Pork chop banh mi at Nicky's is worth a detour, imo. I know of no place else in the city that does them using the pork chop.

                            2. re: mnguyen
                              D...DF Apr 27, 2007 02:49 PM

                              Saigon Bahn Mi a.k.a. Saigon Bakery is my go-to, but I don't recommend the chicken. Had it yesterday, and the quality of the meat was terrible. I'd stick with the #1, spicy.

                              1. re: D...DF
                                p
                                Pan Apr 29, 2007 03:44 PM

                                I've never noticed any problem with the chicken. Did it taste too old?

                                1. re: Pan
                                  D...DF Apr 29, 2007 05:52 PM

                                  Texturewise, it was rubbery and had a bit too much skin for my taste. More importantly, no center-stage element on such a flavorful sandwich from such a flavorful enterprise should ever taste bland. I was expecting the slow-cooked BBQ (Nem Nuong?) flavor that permeates and defines the pork. That flavor was present, but way too subtle to compete with the other elements.

                                  There are perhaps some qualifiers I should have put on my 4/27 post. This was my first and only experience with Saigon's Bahn Mi Ga' (by no means a representative sample). Also, it was after the lunch rush. Furthermore, the freaking thing cost $3.75 and, chicken deficiencies notwithstanding, was still probably the best sandwich of my week.

                                  1. re: D...DF
                                    p
                                    Pan May 1, 2007 10:55 AM

                                    I think you should consider giving the banh mi ga another chance. I've had it a bunch of times and never experienced the problems you mentioned. It's true that it's just a bunch of good pieces of chicken and doesn't have a taste similar to the flavor of the BBQ pork, but that's OK with me.

                                    1. re: Pan
                                      D...DF May 1, 2007 12:23 PM

                                      Pan, I'll give it another shot because of your long-standing commitment to Bahn Mi greatness.

                                      1. re: D...DF
                                        p
                                        Pan May 1, 2007 09:52 PM

                                        Well, I hope it satisfies you. If you find it no better a second time, we'll just have to chalk it up to differences in taste.

                                2. re: D...DF
                                  rose water May 16, 2007 09:02 AM

                                  I was delighted to hear that they have a vegetarian option, and finally got to try it recently--it was pretty unremarkable. Banh Mi So 1 veggie (noodles, seaweed and indistinguishable goodness) Nicky's mushroom sandwiches definitely beat this vegetarian option. But the Saigon #1 pork, spicy, is still my favorite sandwich in NYC.

                              2. j
                                johleer Apr 26, 2007 02:37 PM

                                I am on jury duty so downtown all the time...funny you should ask now. I am really impressed with banh mi sau voi cafe at lafyette and white. yes, it does double as a video store but it is really excellent anyway. Fresh bread, excellent regular and iced vietnamese coffees, etc. Definitley check it out

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: johleer
                                  greenermjr Apr 30, 2007 10:06 AM

                                  I thought Paris sucked too.

                                  Sau Voi is not a bad lunch stop, and I used to pick up sandwiches before heading to Shea too! The meatball version is pretty good.

                                  No cheap Bahn Mi in midtown makes me sad!

                                  mjr

                                2. m
                                  megphd May 16, 2007 08:15 AM

                                  I was SO disappointed to find that Banh Mi So 1 on Broome was closed by the health department - the window says they're doing renovations, but I haven't been back since (this was about a month ago). And Saigon did nothing for me - I found the bbq pork in the original to be very dry, and I waited 30 minutes for a sardine banh mi and they couldn't seem to locate any sardines, so they just refunded my money. I have been craving this delectable treat and don't know where to go.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: megphd
                                    ow77 May 16, 2007 09:10 AM

                                    Banh Mi So 1 is open. They did renovate, or at least painted the walls. I was there on Saturday (May 12). I had the #1 house special, it was my first tasting of a banh mi and it was one of the best sandwiches I've ever had.

                                    1. re: megphd
                                      m
                                      moymoy May 16, 2007 12:36 PM

                                      what makes you think it was the health dept? i only saw a note about renovations and they have since reopened. tried the #1...great bread and decent but saigon overall tastes better. wish i could take bahn mi so bread with saigon fillings...that would make a perfect bahn mi, imo.

                                      1. re: moymoy
                                        noot May 16, 2007 12:55 PM

                                        initially there was a note saying they were shut down for a health violation but they're back and its not going to stop me!

                                      2. re: megphd
                                        a
                                        alc May 16, 2007 02:24 PM

                                        Are any of these places open late (past 8:30 p.m.)?

                                        1. re: alc
                                          l
                                          LESJojo May 18, 2007 02:34 PM

                                          I've always been a big fan of the Broome St place especially because I live nearby. Recently I've detoured and found 2 outstanding choices. Hanco's in Carroll Gardens and Silent H in Williamsburg.

                                      3. guttergourmet May 27, 2007 09:55 AM

                                        My Banh Mi Ranking: 1.Saigon Bakery (Mott St.)-no contest 2. Momufuku ssam-not traditional but veal head cheese can't be beat notwithstanding ciabatta in lieu of baguette 3. Broome Street 4. Nicky's (but only for the pork chop).

                                        1. janethepain Jul 2, 2007 06:34 PM

                                          I had back-to-back bahn mis from Bahn Mi So #1 and Saigon Bakery this past weekend. I got the same #1 house special bahn mis from each. Bahn Mi So's had a skinnier baguette with liberal amounts of yellow butter soaking into the bread and a stronger-tasting pork presence. Saigon Bakery's had a wider roll chock full(er) of veggies - lots of radish (?) and cucumber with this one. It's the kind of sandwich you need to eat two bites of in order to 'even' out the row and to get both meat and veggie at the same time. Bahn Mi So had a more pronounced meaty taste, due to either the seasoning of the meat itself or the fact that the sandwich has less veggie presence. I thought I had liked Saigon Bakery's version more in general. but this weekend, Bahn Mi So may have won.

                                          On the way back home, I noticed another bahn mi joint called A Chau. Was too full to try that one.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: janethepain
                                            rose water Jul 4, 2007 04:54 AM

                                            More on A Chau:
                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/347952
                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/317771#1817611
                                            http://www.chow.com/digest/773

                                            -----
                                            A Chau Deli
                                            82 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

                                            1. re: janethepain
                                              a
                                              Ang Colette Jul 11, 2007 11:54 AM

                                              I just did the same thing for my lunch hour today, I got a #1 spicy from Saigon Bakery and walked over to Banh Mi So #1 and got the same. While walking over I took a bite out of the Saigon Bakery 1 and it was good, the pork was great and veggies cold and fresh. When I got the 1 from Banh Mi So, to me it was just ok, the pork wasn't that tasty and the veggies was cut bigger than what I wanted.... One other thing, the spicy @ Saigon Bakery was really spicy, I was sweating my a** off.

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