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Banh mi?

houlette Aug 8, 2007 08:19 AM

A year or two ago there was a little Vietnamese cafe near Porter Square called Sweet Tea Cafe. Among other things, they had a great banh mi sandwich. Sadly, they closed after a year and now my wife and I are craving banh mi. Anybody know of a place to find them in Boston?

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  1. AnjLM Aug 8, 2007 08:42 AM

    I like New Saigon Sandwich in Chinatown on Washington St. Can't go wrong for $2.50. I also like their avocado shakes.

    1. MichaelB Aug 8, 2007 08:43 AM

      There are multiple options around Boston - my two favorites are Mei Sum bakery in Chinatown and Banh Mi Ba Le in Dorchester, about a mile north of Fields Corner on Dot Ave. There are also many raves for the sandwiches from the vietnamese stand in the Super 88 food court in Allston, which based on one visit I thought was very good but not quite as good as the two above. There are also two places in Chinatown within about a block of Mei Sum but so far I haven't risked my $2.50 (going rate for the sandwich) on them - hopefully others can comment. There's also Chau's Bakery in Fields Corner, which is good but if you have a car it's worth going the (literal) extra mile up Dot Ave. to Ba Le.

      Place linking isn't quite working for Ba Le - Banh Mi Ba Le is at 1025 Dorchester Ave. in Dorchester - not to be confused with Ba Le Cafe in Fields Corner, which I think is the same people but doesn't have banh mi.

      -----
      Mei Sum Bakery Coffee Shop
      40 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

      Banh Mi Ba Le
      1052 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, MA 02125

      2 Replies
      1. re: MichaelB
        Johnresa Aug 8, 2007 12:02 PM

        The Ba Le in Fields Corner which is like a 2 minute walk from the station does have banh mi. I get it from there all the time.

        1. re: Johnresa
          MichaelB Aug 8, 2007 01:06 PM

          Cool - I didn't realize that. Thanks for the correction.

      2. kobuta Aug 8, 2007 08:45 AM

        You can find them in a lot of little stores in Chinatown in Boston. My favorites are still the ones at Mix Bakery on Beach St (next to the scary dilapidated garage). My next favorite were the ones from the cart - the cat that started it all by introducing banh mi to Boston - that was at the bottom of the building at the corner of Beach & Harrison. I don't know if that is still there though, given that they're converting that building to lofts/condos.

        1. a
          alyssap99 Aug 8, 2007 08:53 AM

          i love the bahn mi at le's sandwich shop in chinatown (just off beach street). i always get tofu and it's better there than anywhere else.

          2 Replies
          1. re: alyssap99
            d
            desuka Aug 8, 2007 01:51 PM

            I've never tried the Le's tofu bahn mi b/c I love the Mei Sum tofu so much, but will try it next time I'm in Chinatown. Have you compared to the Mei Sum version? The $3 tofu bahn mi from Pho Viet in the Super 88 food court doesn't compare at all -- it was totally bland.

            1. re: desuka
              a
              alyssap99 Aug 8, 2007 01:57 PM

              no, i didn't know mei sum had tofu...i'll definitely have to try it! i hated the version from pho viet too. thanks for the tip!

          2. MrsCheese Aug 8, 2007 09:37 AM

            I love the banh mi at the Vietnamese place in the Super 88 food court in Allston.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MrsCheese
              BarmyFotheringayPhipps Aug 10, 2007 12:54 AM

              While I agree with a couple of the earlier posters that the tofu banh mi at Pho Viet is nothing special, I am addicted enough to the grilled chicken banh mi there that I have it for lunch somewhere between one and three times per week.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                MrsCheese Aug 10, 2007 10:22 AM

                I've never had the tofu banh mi at Pho Viet. The BBQ pork is the one I'm addicted to. Got my coworkers hooked too!

            2. maillard Aug 10, 2007 06:53 AM

              Could someone also tell me a bit more about the varieties of banh mi available from these places? I've never had one because I don't like pate or mayonnaise, but if there are versions without these things, I would like to try them! Thanks...

              6 Replies
              1. re: maillard
                j
                joestrummer Aug 10, 2007 07:47 AM

                Places advertising their banh mi's will usually have a decent selection.
                Vietnamese cold cuts (which may be the pate you're referring to), curried chicken,
                teriyaki or BBQ beef and chicken. Pork and Tofu too and I'm sure I'm forgetting others.
                Add daikon, cilantro, onion and carrots. Hots (usually diced fresh jalapenos) also available. On a warm crusty baguette.
                Most places usually put mayo and fish sauce on them.
                Any of these can be ordered without, like a sub order.
                Just make sure it's clear what you want on or off as it's being made.
                Specifics can get lost in the translation at some places.

                1. re: joestrummer
                  Dax Aug 10, 2007 08:17 AM

                  I prefer the bahn mi with the diced thai bird chiles over the jalapenos.

                  1. re: Dax
                    galangatron Aug 10, 2007 10:06 AM

                    what places use jalapenos in banh mi? only had bird chiles. lots of places give jalapenos with soup though. hate that

                    1. re: galangatron
                      Dax Aug 10, 2007 10:44 AM

                      I seem to recall Saigon Sandwich using jalapenos.

                      1. re: Dax
                        galangatron Aug 10, 2007 11:57 AM

                        thanks. haven't had saigon sandwich in ages

                2. re: maillard
                  f
                  fbf242 Aug 10, 2007 10:38 AM

                  I've only had the bahn mi at Pho Viet (Super 88 foodcourt) and it had grilled chicken (nothing pate-like). It did have some sort of suace that seemed to be mayo-based, but I am not a fan of the flavor of plain mayo and I enjoyed the sauce. And the sandwich, too. My sister got their tofu bahn mi, which was tasty, though I preferred the flavor of the grilled chicken.

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