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Banh Mi in Richmond, VA?

Hello - I'm looking for a place that sells great banh mi's in Richmond, VA.
Richmond has some great choices for pho, but I'm not sure if they all sell banh mi's...

Thank you,

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  1. Great banh mi in RIC? You'd be lucky to find any kind of banh mi! Tan A used to have banh mi on the weekends a long time ago but I think they may have been dinged for not having the proper license to sell prepared foods. Not sure if Vietnam 1 has it on the menu. It's not really a restaurant dish I guess.

    6 Replies
    1. re: hopkid

      Sorry for the delay on this for I've been out of touch with my chowhounders!

      Just a quick update: absolutely right on with being lucky with any type of banh mi! Checked with Vietnam 1, and they didn't have it... I had to go to Eden to get my craving satisfied! Thanks.

        1. re: RVAwino

          I think the poster is talking about the Eden Center, which is a collection of Asian shops and restaurants off of Wilson Blvd. in Northern Virginia.

        2. re: foodlover123

          UPDATE: There's a small shop on Rigsby Road east of Pinehaven that has banh mi. Unfortunately I can't recall the name. The sandwiches are not bad either. If you go down Pinehaven from Horsepen and then take a right at the end of the street where it hits Rigsby, the shop will be on the left at the end of the street. Very non-descript.

          1. re: hopkid

            I went by there today. The name of the place is Kim's Bakery.

      1. I went to Cafe Gutenburg last week and saw bahn mi on the menu. I don't know how great it is but their other food is quite tasty.

        1. So I just had a $9 (not a typo) pork banh mi from Cafe Gutenberg and it's safe to say that I will never make that mistake again. For that ridiculous price I thought maybe I was going to get the best quality banh mi sandwich I ever had, but no, I was bamboozled. What I got instead can only be described as a banh mi inspired bbq sandwich. It came on a bun. No Vietnamese style mayo, no cilantro (my favorite part), no daikon. It did have julienned carrots but I don't believe they weren't pickled. Honestly, it wasn't a bad sandwich but at the same time it was very disappointing since I felt deceived and the price didn't help. Perhaps I should have known better considering this place doesn't exactly scream authentic Vietnamese street food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dasna98

            Oh wow, dasna98 - cafe gutenberg has banh mi's?! i've tried their vietnamese coffee which was good, but i guess not all of their vietnamese picks are worth praise ;)
            We may be better off making our own at home...

          2. So I just noticed this week that there is a small Asian bakery on Horsepen and Broad, just down Horsepen from the Tan-A Market. Their sign says something like Asian bakery and Bahn Mi. I haven't tried it yet, so I can't speak for the food, but it is definitely open and may be another option.

            As for cafe gutenberg, their banh mi is very good but does not remotely resemble traditional banh mi. I agree with the previous post about it being a "banh mi" inspired BBQ sandwich. It is a good sandwich, though.

            1. Yes the Asian Bakery has good banh mi. I usually get #10 which is grilled pork with carrot and daikon shreds, jalepenos and a mayo-type spread. Its a generous sandwich for $3.50. The bread is fantastic. They also have a small hot bar. I have had the fried sweet potato (i think) and shrimp thing that is usually on offer. Its pretty good and very filling but the sandwich is better. There is also a bakery selling banh mi on the street behind Horsepen (turn at the Full Kee and go to the end of the block then take a right and go to the end - its the bakery on the left, I think its called Kim's Bakery) that makes better, to me, banh mi. I cannot tell you why. Maybe is the mayo-spread stuff. or maybe the meat and/or carrot/daikon is flavored differently - a different marinade or something? They have a large assortment of other baked things - sweet and savory. The owner's English is very good. A teenage boy, maybe a grandson, is often at the counter making the sandwiches, but she usually comes out to greet customers.

              5 Replies
              1. re: katva

                Wow, thanks for the great info. I will have to check out both those places!

                1. re: katva

                  Can't wait to check it out - I've left my banh mi cravings for the bigger cities. Thanks for the tip!

                  1. re: katva

                    After reading about bahn mi on here and other sites for a while now, I decided to try it today for lunch. I went to the bakery mentioned by katva, which is now called VI Bakery. It was very small inside and no menu was posted. I asked for a banh mi and after about 2 minutes the guy came out with something wrapped up and bagged. It was $2.50 so I knew I couldn't lose too badly. I had to eat it in my car but thought it was delicious. Great bread and combo of flavors. Since this was my first time and I wasn't sure what was what, I chose not to even open it up and see what was inside. Whatever it was (carrots, cukes, cilantro, mystery meat, some type of wonderful spread), I loved it. Next time I'll try the place near Tan A. But for a somewhat trepidatious first-timer, I thought it was really really good. And stupid cheap!!

                    1. re: nyctripper

                      I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread as I too have been on a banh mi hunt in Richmond. Over the past week, I've tried banh mi at Asian Bakery, VI Bakery and Pho 79. Based on my taste, I'd probably rank them in that order. Like katva mentioned previously, I had the #10 (grilled pork) at Asian Bakery. All of the elements worked for me. The bread was nice and crusty and the pork, mayo spread and veggies were all very tasty. I had a better feel for what I was ordering there than at VI Bakery. The banh mi at VI Bakery was good too, but, like nyctripper, I'm not sure what was on it. The carrots, daikon, jalapenos and fresh cilantro were there, but I didn't detect much of a mayonnaise spread like I did at Asian Bakery. There was a schmear of what I'm guessing was pate. The meat was cold cuts, probably roast pork and some kind of ham (I think). I'm pretty sure that this is the only version of the sandwich available there, at least I wasn't given any choices. The final sandwich I had at Pho 79 was well below the others. I had the grilled beef version, but the meat and veggies were very sparce. No spread (that I could detect), daikon, jalapeno or fresh cilantro, just shredded carrots and cucumber. This is unfortunate because I thought the grilled beef was pretty good.

                      I'll stick to either Asian or VI Bakery. I don't think you can go wrong at either place.

                      1. re: belsouth

                        I wonder if begging the owners of Saigon Pearl in Williamsburg will get them to put Bahn mi on the menu???

                  2. Upon going to Asian Bakery recently, I noticed that the little place next to it, Catina, also sells banh mi. I tried a grilled chicken today, and it was quite good. Overall, it was pretty similar to Asian Bakery, and it would be tough for me to pick the one I liked better. They serve bubble drinks as well.

                    At least those in the West End of Richmond have 3 good choices for banh mi (Asian Bakery, VI Bakery and Catina) all around the Broad/Horspen intersection. I work just down the street so I'll be hitting each on a regular basis.

                    1. I wish I found this thread earlier. I just came back from a bakery on Horsepen named Catina for the first time. My roommate and I were craving a banh mi. I got the grilled chicken (as always). She got the Vietnamese ham. We were disappointed. We are both from Northern Virginia and always go to Eden. We had no idea where to find banh mi in Richmond until we passed by Catina. They do not give you much meat or veggies. The sandwiches were okay, but next time, we'll try the places mentioned in this thread.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jendc

                        I have been a HUGE fan of Asian Bakery and Cafe (in Tan-A Plaza, between Fasigns and Catina) forever. Unfortunately when I went by yesterday to get either a #10 BBQ Pork or a #14 Lemongrass Sausage, my 2 favorites, it looks like they have had a fire, so I found this thread while looking for news that they will be re-opening (please, please) and to see what my alternatives are here in Richmond. The lady that runs A B and C is so nice, I asked once if I could order then leave and go shopping and that became my habit, paying when I returned. The fillings were delicious,generous and well balanced.

                        When Catina opened next door, I snuck in, hoping the lady next door wouldn't spot me. I went there again today after peeking through the A B and C's smoked up windows. I can't remember the numbers, but I have had a pork belly and grilled pork; like jendc said, they're disappointing, minimal fillings, the pork was a bit dry, but the pork belly one was so heavy on the pate that it was almost inedible (and I love pate). Catina is a satellite kitchen for Vietnam 1, next door and makes food for other markets around town. To me it smells bit funny in there, not bad or totally off-putting, but kind of like a hospital or school cafeteria. Today there were lots of flies too.

                        After I have a moment of silence for A B and C, I guess I'll find something else to eat until they hopefully reopen. Kim's or VI's scares me; I know it's been years since their big salmonella incident, but I still have the willies!

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                        Asian Bakery Cafe
                        6215 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23230

                      2. HELP!! Looks like the two places in the Tan A center have closed and VI looks empty too!! Any alternatives?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nyctripper

                          Vi on Rigsby is open. I was just in there last week. Maybe they are closed for Easter or something. Anyway, I thought I asked for grilled pork, but ended up with meatballs. Good, but I prefer the grilled pork (which is thit nuong, thank you google! i have it written down on their card in my wallet now. Oh and meatball is Nem Nuong, supercombo is Dac Biet). Their bread, and Asian Bakery's bread, is much better than Catina, which for me was too soft and doesn't have the crisp crust. Anyway, a maintenance guy in the ABC shopping center parking lot told me ABC was re-opening, and there are signs of repairs and equipment, but that was back in February so it seems to be going slowly. I will post here if they do. In the meantime, to me Vi is the best/only option in that area. Pho 79 has them, but i would stick to their pho. the banh mi wasn't terrible, just nothing special.

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                          Pho 79
                          6909 Staples Mill Rd, Richmond, VA 23228

                          Asian Bakery Cafe
                          6215 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23230