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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.

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    thalthewall RE: sgordon Sep 4, 2008 10:36 AM

    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.

    1. Miss Needle RE: sgordon Sep 4, 2008 10:56 AM

      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.

      1. Polecat RE: sgordon Sep 4, 2008 11:21 AM

        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.
        P.

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          SomeRandomIdiot RE: sgordon Sep 4, 2008 06:23 PM

          Nam Son on Grand by Christie serves both.

          1. bobjbkln RE: sgordon Sep 5, 2008 08:39 AM

            Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches in Brooklyn (not Manhattan) serves both banh-mi and pho.

            1. janethepain RE: sgordon Sep 5, 2008 05:16 PM

              So does Bao in Gramercy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: janethepain
                h
                heWho RE: janethepain Sep 8, 2008 12:42 PM

                How is the bahn mi at Bao? I'm used to paying less than $3 for bahn mi in Boston, so paying 6 or 7 is really off-putting, but I still crave a good bahn mi all the time.

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                Lau RE: sgordon Sep 8, 2008 06:19 PM

                not sure about Dallas, but i dont think any of the real good places in little saigon in CA serve both together....either their banh mi places or pho places

                plus most good banh mi places are generally bakeries since u need fresh baked baguettes to make a great banh mi

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lau
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                  androidland RE: Lau Nov 12, 2008 09:08 AM

                  All the Vietnamese restaurants in NYC serve Pho and Banh Mi. But be careful what you wish for - it generally means that the quality of both suffers. If you're really going for authenticity, most of the dishes served at American Vietnamese restaurants are served in Vietnam as street food or market stalls from one person selling one dish. Since there aren't so many Vietnamese markets and Banh Mi stands on every corner (which would be awesome), we make do with retail spaces that sell the greatest-hits of Vietnamese cuisine. Unfortunately, this rather limited menu is repeated throughout most American Vietnamese restaurants. It works in a pinch, however, I will say that the best foods generally come from places that specialize in one item, instead of trying to make pho, bun, banh mi, rice dishes etc. I'm just sayin'.

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                  davisready RE: sgordon Nov 14, 2008 07:24 AM

                  Getting good Pho and Banh Mi at the same place in the city is gonna be tricky. I say going to Cong Ly for pho, then walking around the corner to Saigon Bakery for Banh Mi is probably your best bet.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: davisready
                    MB fka MB RE: davisready Nov 14, 2008 10:13 AM

                    ditto this suggestion. I finally made it to Cong Ly for pho and it's great compared to other places I've tried. Saigon is def. my favorite so far and the bahn mi are big.

                    There's also a little convenience store on Lafayette just south of Canal that does a mean BBQ meatball banh mi for cheap.

                  2. bolletje RE: sgordon Nov 14, 2008 08:22 AM

                    Pho Saigon on the Bowery has both, haven't been by there in a while though so not sure how it is these days.

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