Vietnamese Sandwiches - Banh Mi + desserts in Scarborough?
Hey CHers, thought I would put this one out there because red_dragon and I may be on the lookout of a good Banh Mi sandwich in the neighbourhood (typical price < $2).
We found Nguyen Huong at the corner of Steeles and Middlefield in the T&T mall, but red_dragon had the unfortunate opportunity of trying it. I only managed to get photos of the offerings. Wondering if anyone had any tips on other places to try in the area?
Banh Mi: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2772825302/
Desserts: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-... ($1.50 each
Cheers and Happy Eating!
Gotta jump in on this discussion.
Earlier this year we did a mini-tour of banh-mi joints to determine the best of the bunch.
Taking advice from Chow and some other online sources we selected Nguyen Huong, perennial fave Rose cafe, and decided we'd visit the spadina strip and just 'pick one'.
First up was Rose Cafe - it was mid-day on a nice pre-spring Saturday and I was excited for my first banh-mi, looking forward to what seems to be the consensus fave around here. Sadly, Rose cafe's offering was on a very small bun, and yet still was too bread-y and flavourless. We bought two, so we split both half-and-half to be sure, and yup, same story - even though the bread was tiny, it still managed to overwhelm the sandwich and resulted in a bland, dry, boring sandwich - not impressive at all. I was crestfallen, thinking maybe we're just not banh-mi fans?
We were diappointed, and worried because next up was less-heralded Nguyen Huong (the north Scarborough location up at Steeles & Middlefield). Again we ordered two regular 'assorted' sandwiches and the difference was shocking! Big, crusty, chewy fresh rolls, lots of flavour from the combo of spreads on the bread, (some sort of pate and a mayo-like substance) and a nice balance of meat, pickled carrot & radish, and cilantro. Definitely a home run!
We were eating in the car, and the bread was so fresh and crispy-crunchy on the outside that my shirt and lap were covered in breadcrumb confetti. I could eat this gorgeous bun empty and be a very happy guy.
We actually called off the search at that point, and went back inside to order a couple more to take home, deciding that the trip to spadina was unnecessary, we had a winner.
Since then I've been back more than a dozen times, and only once was I disappointed with a pre-made, still yummy, but slightly less than ultra-fresh sandwich, which must have been what happened to the commentator above.
Make sure they make it while you watch, I now always ask for extra cilantro to get my fix of the yummy greens, and sometimes order it spicy (which can be VERY spicy). I also recommend you try some of the other varieties too - my S.O. swears by their chicken sub and I sometimes have the funky-sweet meatball sandwich (make sure you ask for the meatballs to be pre-heated in the microwave for maximum yumminess.
So, comments above notwithstanding, I emphatically recommend Nguyen Huong and challenge others to check this place out and share your thoughts.
I haven't had the banh mi from the Scarborough Nguyen Huong, but I've had it both from downtown (frequently) and the one near Jane and Wilson (once). They are very good. I'd also put the ones from Rose Cafe in the very good category. Of course each sandwich can vary somewhat (freshness of bread, amount of spread, veggies etc.), but I wouldn't turn a sandwich down from any of those places.
I was pleasantly surprised at how good the banh mi was from the Jane and Wilson location, since I bought it mid-afternoon. The bread was awesomely fresh.
There are the supermarket banh mi's, but I wouldnt recommend those. The supermarket on the north side of Market Village (Fu Wah) makes them. But really, I doubt they're any good, if Nguyen Huong at Middlefield and Steeles wasn't good...
And I wouldnt do the desserts up in Scarborough either, 'coz the traffic for buying those would be low too ...
Thought I'd post an answer to your question (from Samosa King) here, to keep it consistent. Yes, I would consider the sandwich a good buy on both price and taste. It's not the healthiest (white bread, butter, pate), but it makes a good snack/lunch. For $1.50-$2 (price ranges), I would suggest you give it a try.
re: red dragon
Thanks red_dragon. I will probably try the one you suggested is better in Chinatown, as I want the best possible experience the first time, otherwise, I might just be turned off it for life. You should note, however, that the ones in Chinatown have increased their price. I remember they were about $1 a few years back, but now they are $1.50 and thus on par with Nguyen Huong at T&T. Inflation sure did hit them hard, though I guess at $1 was quite ridiculous to begin with.
I hope you received my reply in a comment I left on your lychee drink photo in flickr.
Unless the bread is more crusty during the daytime (ours was soggy and chewy around 6pm), they weren't all that bad, but I've definitely had better (in previous years on Spadina). We did eat them right away. I know when this place is busy, service can be quite abrasive.
Also had the dessert soup(glutinous rice ball with yellow mung bean); it was quite chewy and hard.
Will be interesting to read what our fellow chows have to say. Good inquiry Bokchoi!