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Apr 7, 2010 05:05 AM

Best Bahn Mi?

So after watching no reservations I had to go out and try this Viet hoagie and it is amazing. I have falling in love with this melody of flavors and am wondering where the best place to get one is located. I live in chester county but visit the city frequently so anywhere around that area is great for me.

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  1. My standby is O Sandiches on 9th Street just below Federal (just north of Pats/Genos) but I just read an article somewhere about a bahn mi with actual pork belly rather than the standard ingredients - at Garces trading Co maybe? that I want to try.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Bigley9

      That's Sampan on 13th St. I had it for dinner once and it was worse than the Viet places. Pork was chewy and not good. We removed it from our sandwiches. This was a few weeks after they opened, maybe it's better now, but I'd skip it and go to one of the sandwich shops and buy two for half the price of one at Sampan (which is admittedly a large sandwich).

      Chifa also has a fancy Bahn Mi but I've never had it.

      In South Philly I like Ba Le at 6th & Wash and Viet Huong at 11th & Wash. There are a lot of other, smaller, places with solid sandwiches in South Philly too.

      I had a really bad experience at O recently with a tofu bahn mi. It was drenched in black pepper and mostly inedible. I used to like it; I'd be willing to try it again but with so many other options I don't know when I'll get back. Service has always been inattentive and slow there, though.

      1. re: barryg

        Service has been better at O lately but the pepper would have turned me off too - and Monday they warned me that the peppers on top were jalepenos

        1. re: barryg

          Sorry to hear of your experience, O continues to be my standby and I was there within the last week. I almost always get the pate version, not the tofu so I can't speak to it but I think they have the best bread and they are fairly priced.

          1. re: barryg

            Just wanted to set the record straight. I've had the Sampan banh mi twice now, once over the summer and once in the fall. I'm going to chalk your experience up to their just having opened because both versions that I had were absolutely superb. One of my favorite foods of the last year.

            1. re: kukubura

              Good to hear, I'll have to give it another try.

              1. re: kukubura

                So I take it you've had the chance now to sample some of the other banh mi places in Philly?

                1. re: Buckethead

                  The only other ones I've had are from Ba Le. If O had still been open on my recent return visit I would have tried them. Alas they were gone. I won't pretend to know which is the best based on that limited sampling, but I will say which are damn good (both Sampan and Ba Le. Very different but both great.)

          2. I preferred the one I got at Ha Long Bay in Bryn Mawr to the one I had at O. O forgot the jalapenos.. Both were good though.

            1. Fu Wah Mini Market at 47th and Baltimore in West Philly is amazing! It's a family owned business and everyone who works there is super friendly. They also have a really great selection asian foods and organic products. It is hands down the best corner store in the city.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sdechamp

                AFAIK Fu Wah does not a serve a bahn mi... they have some sort of tofu hoagie that is on an Italian roll, not a baguette. Or am I mistaken?

                1. re: barryg

                  There's just about no way the famous Fu Wah "tofu hoagie" could be anything but the "banh mi sandwich." From the filling and ethnicity of the people making the sandwich, "banh mi" is what I'd call it (banh mi is just Vietnamese for bread anyway).

                  Fu Wah
                  1871 S Olden Ave, Trenton, NJ 08610

              2. QT on 10th just north of Market is my current fav. Traditional is fresh and fabulous. Had a sardine banh mi that was a special last week that was delicious.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Nigeltab

                  I've never tried this location. Is there a loading zone nearby that I could use to do quick pick up?

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    Arch is full of on-street parking ~10 minutes for a quarter. I've never had trouble finding parking around QT.

                    Which is a good thing because their sandwiches are amazing! From the traditional to the tofu, it's all freshly and finely made.

                      1. re: Bigley9

                        Finally got to Q T yesterday - split the lemon grass tofu and hose special. Loved the lemon grass tofu falvors, house special was spot on, but I missed my O sandwiches bread. For the bread alone I'll stick with O (but if I bought a bagette at O and got a lemongrass tofu at QT and put the QT innards on the O baguette......)

                  2. re: Nigeltab

                    Love the lemongrass tofu at QT! Probably my favorite that I've had... but must get the spicy mayo or it can be dry.

                  3. I love the place on Christian street between 8th and 9th, a google search tells me it's called Cafe Nhu Y? Delicious and such a great value!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LPhila

                      Their vegetarian special hoagie is fantastic and $4.