Pho AND Banh Mi
- sgordon Sep 4, 2008 07:37 AM
Makes perfect sense - soup n' sandwich. So why is it that of every Vietnamese restaurant I've been to - which is a lot - not one serves both? Anyone know of any? More to the point, that are good? I've been told that out in Dallas, where there's a big VN population, pho/banh joints are very common.
for the most part, in vietnam pho and bahn mi are street foods served from carts (in the case of bahn mi) and small road side stations (in the case of pho). so there would be no sense in serving both considering the limits on the size of the cart/station, and teh fact that you can just go across or down the street to get the other. also, pho tends to be eaten in the morning, while bahn mi seem to be more of a lunch thing.
but that doesnt really answer the question of why its for the most part like that here. Most places that serve bahn mi ONLY serve bahn mi, nothing else (pho or otherwise). places to get pho tend to be your normal vietnamese or panasian places that dont serve any sandwiches (maybe bc they dont fit in with american's traditional view of asian cuisine). also bahn mi here is prob more of a lunch thign, while pho seems more dinnery.
with that said, in boston my favorite bahn mi place also served pho.
Well, pho and a banh mi both tend to be meals of its own -- kind of different than a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup sort of deal. But I'm not sure why you generally don't see these together. Thalthewall is correct -- banh mi places just serve banh mi in NY. The only exception I've seen was the Pho Bang in Flushing (which doesn't exist anymore) -- they had both pho and banh mi. I don't remember if the Pho Bangs in Manhattan do that though.
Nha Trang, on Baxter between Canal and Bayard, serves, or at least used to serve, both. I know this because, before the recent Banh Mi boom of the past few years, NT was the only restaurant I knew of that served them at all. (Now Banh Mi's are everywhere: upscale restaurants, diners, highway rest stops, service stations - it's out of control; it won't be long before you can get them as part of your happy meal). Disclaimer: I won't speak to the quality; it's been a long while, and you can definitely get better Banh Mi (and Pho, for that matter) elsewhere. But, in lieu of any other place that serves both, you might want to give it a try.