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Sep 21, 2010 11:55 AM

Banh Mi (and related) in Paris...

Please tell me what I need to know! THANKS!

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  1. 7 rue de Volta. Tiny tiny store. Charming lady who speaks some English. Takes a while, but it's worth the wait. Closed Sudays. The bubble tea's good too. Bon appetit.

    53 Replies
      1. re: vielleanglaise

        Fantastic, this is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Will report back.

        1. re: bennyt

          my girl friend and I went there last week (THE STORE ON :7 rue de Volta). it was hard to find since the store front did not have a sign at was just painted black!...anyway, the banh mi is not the same as the ones you get in the states or did not have PATE. I asked the one and only viet/chinese lady that work there and she replied that she is too lazy to make the pate and the french people who buys from the shop thinks it is strange to eat pate with banh mi. the shop has 4-5 variety of banh mi. BBQ PORK, BBQ BEEF, CHICKEN, and HAM on the menu (very limited selection).. she CHARGES 6 EUROS. We wanted to tried it so we bought a BBQ PORK and chicken..verdict?.. Not worth the trip. The bread was hot and chrispy but the meat is BBQ PORK IS TOO SWEET, NOT ENOUGH VEGES IN THEM THE CHICKEN BANH MI IS OK (soggie wet). Sorry for being such a tough critic but you are in PARIS RIGHT? AND WE EXPECT THE BEST OF THE BEST BANH MI COMING FROM PARIS! Very dissappointed..the following day we tired banh mi in PARIS CHINATOWN (3 EUROS) and it was a bit better not by much (IN MY OPINION) we have tried banh mi every we travel (vietnam: hoi an, saigon, hanoi..US: new york, houston, LA, san francisco, san jose, N Carolina, Orlando, atlanta, and every other US states that serves banh mi. There are not so many banh mi shop as we would have hoped in Paris .

          1. re: johndoeme

            First of all you have to forget US pricing. You are not in the US.
            As for banh mi being better in Vietnam than in France, I have no opinion, as I have no opinion regarding buy-low-sell-high.

            1. re: Parigi

              As in most translations of classic food, maybe it's both more productive and more accurate to think in terms of "different from" than to try to establish "better" and "worse" which leaves us with distinctions in taste and personal experience.

              1. re: mangeur

                and forget one's currency and buying power back home for $€@#' sake.

                1. re: Parigi

                  People just can't do this. Every economy is different yet we try to compare tomatoes and coconuts. It doesn't sink home until you fall in the street in France, are treated in ER and/or hospital and receive a bill for pennies for what would have cost four digits in the states.

                  1. re: mangeur

                    I am not being critical, so please take this in the spirit it is can you ignore the price/value when you travel? I find it next to impossible not to rejoice in the absolute steal a fresh baguette is or a great bottle of wine. But when my banh mi costs $2.50 and is a bargain in my own currency, I really don't think I am capable of not having a 6E price tag effect my enjoyment, especially if it were not clearly superior (and I suspect in this case, they aren't -except for the bread). Obviously the answer for me is to skip that banh mi. Nonetheless, I really am sincerely curious on how you resolve this. Do you really think about healthcare for example, or is it more of a big picture philosophical lens? Or do you have the same struggles?

                    1. re: shanemio

                      I absolutely understand what you are saying. A lot of what I enjoy in France is of categories that I buy much less expensively at home. When the quality or cultural input is sufficient, I almost cheerfully pay the going French price. When it is not, I look for better alternative purchases or else I snivel. My husband and I frequently mention how much more expensive the cost of living is in France than it is at home, boggling how the average French person juggles finances to pay the grocery bill, to say nothing of the (to us) obscene pricing of ordinary hardware and notions/sundry items. The list goes on. My point was that every national economy is different with some things coming directly out of pocket and others indirectly. It is only after completely factoring in the differences in delivery systems that one can compare apples with apples. Until then, one has to do as you and we do: spend our respective currencies on those things that we find worthwhile.

              2. re: johndoeme

                I've only ever had the banh mi in Paris, served by people who looked and said that they're from Vietnam. I've had all sorts of sandwiches - chicken, beef, pork and even vegatarian. I've often seen the one's containing "pâté" - which I believe is industrial head cheese - sold as "sandwich special".
                As to authenticity, the guy who sells them on the rue Montgallet told me that Banh Mi referred to the casing (pain de mie) rather than the content. I also saw this written in the Smthsonian magazine. Perhaps the guy on the rue Montgallet and the Smithsonian are wrong I do not think though that I am mistaken (unlike your spelling) in my appreciation of Angela on 7 rue de Volta. Horses for courses, I suppose.

                1. re: vielleanglaise

                  My experience is that anything goes when it comes to Banh-mi - although the one constant is the special Maggi sauce - even in Vietnam!

                  That said I can't quite get my head around the passion they generate, to me that are like a good cheese sandwich, excellent when you get it right but never worth crossing town for nor really traveling the world.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    "Maggi sauce"

                    I didn't know this. Parigi? Pti? Will have to check out my man.

                    1. re: mangeur

                      The MSG-filled Maggi sauce is not a biblical ingredient for banh mi, that I know of, even if PhilD believes it is a constant.
                      I did not even know that it can be found in France, but that must be my fault entirely. Needless to say it is not something I look for in the market.

                      1. re: mangeur

                        I'm more accustomed to hoisin sauce or nuoc cham. Never seen or heard of Maggi sauce, I guess it is not used in Paris.

                        Vache qui Rit is a frequent addition (I love it).

                        1. re: Ptipois

                          In some pho places, hoisin sauce is always on the table along with the soy sauce and rice vinegar.
                          What does Maggi sauce look like so that I can spot it in all the banh mi places where it is a constant?

                          1. re: Parigi

                            I suppose that means "Arôme Maggi", a small brown bottle that you could mistake for soy sauce if you were drunk. It's on may African tables. But so far I have never seen it in any Asian joint, so that's a mystery to me.

                            In pho places, hoisin sauce is the mandatory companion of Sriracha chilli sauce, on top of the soy sauce and black vinegar for dumplings. At Tricotin, each table is a grocery store in itself, with hoisin, Sriracha, pickled green chillies, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, black vinegar, and delicious Cambodian red chilli relish.

                          2. re: Ptipois

                            Propelled by this thread, I picked up a bottle of Maggi Arome at Mai Wah today. Tried a drop on a warm shrimp and cilantro dumpling. This could be a slippery slope.

                        2. re: PhilD

                          Hilarious! maggi sauce was developed in Switzerland in the 1800s, while it is popular all over Asia, it is actually a Swiss product & was bought by nestle. I have had plenty of banh mi in LA & they would never dream of using maggi

                          1. re: Kalivs

                            Not used in LA OK, but as you say common on Asia, and as Banh Mi is Asian, draw your own conclusion.

                            If you think about European influence across Asia you will see why it isn't odd that a European ingredient could be quite common. Think about where the bread for Banh Mi comes from, it is rice flour based, derivation of the French baguette introduced into Vietnam by the French colonialists, many many years ago.

                            The French went to Vietnam in 1787 so a few years later could possibly have bought Maggi to Vietnam, as you say it was invented in the1800's so quite possible. There is lots of European and other influence in Asian food it doesn't make it less genuine - after all Europeans bought Chilli to Asia - before that Indian and Thai food didn't use it,

                            So Bahn Mi is a French influenced dish exported back to the west. Maggi sauce isn't to much of a leap is it....although clearly LA is now more real than Hanoi.

                            1. re: PhilD

                              Funnily enough I just got back from a few days' vacation in London, staying with a friend. Until recently she had a tenent who was from Thailand and had left a few of her basic cooking ingredients in a corner of her kitchen. Standing with the bottles of oyster sauce, fish sauce, etc., there was a bottle of Arome Maggi. The situation is probably like West Africa's. Some people use it, some do not.

                              1. re: Ptipois

                                Yeah...all the Indians I know are convinced it's Indian. They eat maggi noodles as an alternative to top ramen. I am a failed academic with way to much time on my hands so I did the research. In California, a lot of bahn mi places use cock sauce which isn't Vietnamese. It was developed in the US. I don't think it's a question of authenticity but I am interested in how products become "ethnic"

                                1. re: Ptipois

                                  More than one Asian chef have told me maggi was used as a "cheat", like msg (of which it has plenty).
                                  Which would explain that some people see It often in the eateries they frequent, but it is not something used by serious chefs in serious cooking.

                                  1. re: Parigi

                                    Humm... I'm not sure you can compare Maggi Sauce with MSG.

                                    MSG has got a bad rap based on an article which linked it "hypothetically" (but the media forgot that part) to "Chinese restaurant syndrome". Aside from the fact that the link between the two has never been proven, MSG is now known to be the "umami" flavor. So technically, using MSG is the same as using Sodium Chloride (salt), Sucrose (sugar) or Citric Acid (from lemons)...

                                    Maggi Sauce on the other hand contains MSG as well as a bunch of other stuff (see here: ), and therefore is more comparable to using cube stock (which I sometimes do). In other words I can understand why it's cheating, because you add a complex flavor that is premade and recognizable. Whereas with MSG you add a "flavor enhancer", which is slightly different in my opinion.

                                    Having said that (wink wink to "Curb your Enthusiasm" fans), I've never used either one of them, so my view could be tarnished by the theory, and maybe in practice I would realize I'm wrong...

                                    1. re: Rio Yeti

                                      "you can compare Maggi Sauce with MSG."
                                      I compare them as cheat ingredients. I don't equate them.

                                      1. re: Rio Yeti

                                        Rio - I don't like the taste of MSG so I always drink lots of beer to get rid of it. After every meal I have a terrible headache, I blame the MSG :-)

                                        1. re: PhilD

                                          "I blame the MSG" - And you should ! ;)

                                          I agree with PhilD, I don't think "cheat" is the right word, you are not "cheating" when using a "bouillon cube", you are just taking a shortcut, and this will have two effects: one positive, you will be able to give a depth of flavor to your dish that you wouldn't have had the time to do otherwise, and one negative, you will give a particular taste to your food, which will be similar to all your preparations made with that same "bouillon cube".

                                          However, there are two other points I'd like to make (I like short lists).
                                          One, maybe if you (and I mean that as a "general you") had made stock from scratch it would have been horrible (so to paraphrase another post in this board "home made is not necessarily better").
                                          Two, again I really feel that a bottle of MSG should be considered as salt or sugar rather than Worcestershire sauce or Bouillon cube, in the sense that is just a "pure" element of taste, and not something that is already prepared by a mix of ingredients.

                                          If I add salt to my chocolate cake to enhance the flavor, is that cheating as well ?

                                      2. re: Parigi

                                        Why is is a "cheat" which is a such a perjorative term?

                                        If a dish has evolved to use a commercial ingredient and that becomes part of the dish to many why is it a cheat. Should Japanese chefs grind their own spices for curry powder, or is the intrinsic flavour of Japanes curry from bought in powders? Are Belgian frites going to be better with lovingly hand made mayonnaise or is the whole experience better with something out of a jar? Is a homemade tomato sauce on British fish finger sandwich better than Heinz ketchup? Should a Bloody Mary use bottled Worcester sauce?

                                        IMO opinion a search for authenticity that assumes authentic must be hand made and artisanal misses the point. Lots of food are better with their "cheats" that's how they evolved, making them chefs dishes just lifts the price but often does little for the dish.

                                        And no I wouldn't argue Maggi is essential, as Pti says cooks differ, and Bahn Mi isn't exactly a codified recipe. My origininal point was tongue in cheek, as Maggi sauce, in my experience, is pretty common is the suburban vietnamese bakeries I frequented - however this was before Bhan Mi was trendy and reinvented by the cognoscenti - maybe it is now hidden behind the counter, just for those in the know.

                                        1. re: PhilD

                                          "If a dish has evolved to use a commercial ingredient and that becomes part of the dish to many why is it a cheat. Should Japanese chefs grind their own spices for curry powder, or is the intrinsic flavour of Japanes curry from bought in powders? Are Belgian frites going to be better with lovingly hand made mayonnaise or is the whole experience better with something out of a jar? Is a homemade tomato sauce on British fish finger sandwich better than Heinz ketchup? Should a Bloody Mary use bottled Worcester sauce?"

                                          You are raising an important point. Sometimes when a certain taste/texture is needed, one shouldn't fool around with the components, even if there's "artisan" in the deal to make it look better. When my son and I tried Kunitoraya 2 (the fancy extension of Kunitoraya udon bar meant to lure chic Parisian foodies), he ordered one of his favorite dishes, curry tonkatsu. He told me there was something wrong with the curry, the taste wasn't right. I tasted the sauce: it was very strange. After a few moments I managed to identify the taste: they had used not a Japanese curry powder or powder sauce mix (as they should have) but a spice mix from the nearby shop of Olivier Roellinger to make their "curry" more elegant!
                                          We were shocked. Japanese curry is not elegant. It has a certain taste that is only found in Japanese packages. We thought that was stupid and never went back.

                                          Also - and this is being written a fussy amateur of Chinese teas -, if you order iced milk tea in a Vietnamese/Cambodian restaurant in Paris, 99 times out of 100 they will bring you a tall glass with a thick layer of sweetened condensed milk in the bottom and red tea to top the glass. The label sticking out of the glass is Lipton Yellow. Lipton Yellow is not great tea, far from it, but for Vietnamese iced milk tea you need that and nothing else will do. Once or twice I've been to places who tried to fancy it up with nicer teas and it was just wrong.

                                          1. re: PhilD

                                            "If a dish has evolved to use a commercial ingredient and that becomes part of the dish to many why is it a cheat. "
                                            That is not established. It is not true that maggi is a commercial ingredient that has become part of the dish. It has not.

                                            1. re: Parigi

                                              In the case of Maggi I would agree.

                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                As there is no absolute, one and only, singular version of Bahn Mi then it is perfectly fine to have it included or not included. That Maggi has become common confinement in quite a few Asian countries can't be disputed. Thus a Bahn Mi with Maggi is just as genuine as one see it is a dish with few rules. Like a sandwich with or without butter - they both are quite legal.

                                                My original point was, and I have said before, was slightly tongue in cheek. It was meant to illustrate the point that good Bahn Mi isn't a codified dish. A good Bahn Mi will have many different variants - about the only thing that should be constant is the rise flour bread in order to get the right crunch.

                                  2. re: vielleanglaise

                                    The pate in a classic banh mi sandwich is not head cheese. It is most often made from pork and smeared on the baguette. As far as I know, it is the original banh mi.

                                    And in the 20+ Vietnamese joints I have frequented I have never once seen a bottle of Maggi.

                                    1. re: shanemio

                                      Banh mi in Vietnamese = "flour cake", ie bread. It doesn't mean pâté is compulsory. There are many, many recipes.

                                      1. re: shanemio

                                        Looks like Bahn-Mi has gone all foodie on me! My comments as meant to be a little "tongue in cheek" as I find the elevation of the humble Vietnamese snack to such an exulted status quite odd.

                                        From my first Bahn-mi 15 years ago in Sydney, at my corner Vietnamese bakery, through trips to Vietnam, and now Hong Kong I still see the little Maggi bottle used with a little sprinkle at the end just before the top is added. Is it authentic? Of course it is, just as a good mayonnaise is essential with a prawn wonton in Hong Kong and a good curry powder lifts so many Japanese dishes. As another poster said Vietnamese in Paris is different to Vietnamese elsewhere, partly I suspect due to the access to ingredients and partly due to local tastes. Food evolves and I think the little Maggi bottle has found a permanent place on the shelves of any well stocked Asian supermarket,

                                        1. re: PhilD

                                          What is it with people from the US/Canada/Australia always claiming that the best Vietnamese food in the world is to be found in their country, that the Vietnamese food in their country is A-U-T-H-E-N-T-I-C, and that the Vietnamese food in France is both inauthentic and bad ? I am not saying that the Viet food in France is better than the Viet food in those countries, but I don't think it is inferior either. My roomate is a couchsurfer so we often have guests from these countries. As I am half Vietnamese, they often talk about Vietnamese food with me, and most of them have this prejudice against Vietnamese food in Paris, even though they have not even tried it. But you know, as they can have the best Vietnamese food in the world in their own country, why bother ?? This always makes me laugh. Some of them even explain me what is A-U-T-H-E-N-T-I-C Vietnamese or not ! Once, a guy told me that the Hoisin sauce and the greens were compulsory with A-U-T-H-E-N-T-I-C pho ... well obviously this guy has never had pho in Hanoi. But why would he go in Vietnam to have pho when he can have the best pho ever in California ? haha

                                          To stay on the subject : as aliettedb said, banh mi just means sandwich so the only compulsory ingredient is the bread. Banh mi does not need pate or maggi or whatever so-called "authentic" ingredient to be called banh mi !

                                          Maggi is very common in overseas Vietnamese kitchens. All the Vietnamese families that I know here in France have a Maggi bottle in their kitchen. It's often used on white rice, eggs au plat (o pla) and in banh mi. I lived in Hanoi for 2 years and I don't remember seeing a lot of Maggi there ... but they probably use a similar sauce from another brand.

                                          Regarding your assumptions about the Vietnamese food in Paris and the local tastes, I think you should explore a bit more because I just had a banh mi with mayo + maggi (!!) in Belleville, and the clientele was both Asian and French.
                                          A warning for those who absolutely need the A-U-T-H-E-N-T-I-C pate spread in their banh mi : some shops in Belleville list pate on their menu, but what they call pate is actually "cha lua".

                                          1. re: poubelle

                                            Thanks for the education and sharing your perspective. You are absolutely correct. We all live in our little world. I have Vietnamese friends. They are not Vietnamese-Americans, they are Vietnamese. We don't use Maggi, so please excuse my ignorance. I am happy to stand corrected.
                                            And the pate we get here, is not pate as we know it. It is definitely Vietnamese in origin and ingredients. It is also on all the "standard" sandwiches in our "expat viet" community.
                                            My dining days are so limited, banh mi or pho for that matter, don't make it to the top of my eating in Paris list. Maybe next time. I do love them both. But good french cuisine is just something I can't get at home. I can do 50 kinds of pho, though.
                                            And yes, there is hoisin on the table. Never could figure that out...

                                            1. re: poubelle

                                              Again I was using "authentic" slightly tongue in cheek. I tend to think it is a non-term for food as all cuisines evolve and change based on ingredients and local tastes. And in part this is where there is a paradox: is a food from a country better in that country or better ins country that has adopted it. Often the adopted country has a higher standard of living and thus better ingredients etc etc. and so a cuisine may actually be better far from its home. Sometimes the home country has a immature restaurant culture (Vietnam is an example) and so the best food is in homes, but in an adopted country the restaurant culture may be more mature and good food may have escaped the home kitchen. Luke Ngyuen and family from Sydney is a great example (excuse the spelling). Does Paris have similar Vietnamese food heroes?

                                              I'm not certain Vietnames food in Paris has made this jump yet, maybe it has: I fully admit I no longer seek it out. To me the inflection point is when the menu moves from Bahn-mi, Summer Rolls and Pho to broader menus that reflect the great culinary heritage Vietnam has. It may be my bias but I do switch off a bit when I read another Pho review.....nice for breakfast but there is so much more.

                                              1. re: PhilD

                                                @PhilD: I'll apologise in advance for being blunt, but implying that Western countries must have better Vietnamese food because they have better standards of living is offensive as well as inaccurate: it reinforces a cliché that everything must be worse in developing countries--which is patently not true.

                                                What the "adopted" country very often *doesn't* have (and what makes food there very different from the "original food") is numerous *fresh* ingredients that are staples of the food (many herbs and fruit from Vietnam are not simply available in France, or take days to reach Paris, by which time they're not fresh anymore). What it does have, however, is pressure to cater to other people beyond the Vietnamese diaspora, which very often means modifying dishes, dropping "odd" items from the menu and/or modifying flavours to appeal to a broader palate (for instance, Vietnamese French food is often blander than in Vietnam and dishes like pork's ears aren't found on the menu. Similarly, Vietnamese-American food is seldom as spicy as it is in Vietnam). For those reasons, you simply do not have the same cuisine in Saigon, New York or in Paris, even if they both call themselves "Vietnamese".

                                                I don't know what you mean with "mature restaurant culture", because there are superlative restaurants in Vietnam, if you know where to look.

                                                1. re: aliettedb

                                                  I think I made all the same arguments you made in your second paragraph and I agree 100% with all you say especially the moderation of the food to the local palette.

                                                  I also, in the main, tend to agree with the sentiment of your first para, but there are exceptions, and these exceptions are what stands out from the norm. I think some UK Indian food is a good example, as Pti says maybe some Parisian Isaan food, and to me Thai and Vietnamese in Sydney. This tends to happen when people travel, want more of the truer flavours, and restauranteurs get braver and deliver more robust flavours - I don't think Vietnamese in Paris is there yet - as I say it is still stuck in the Pho and Bahn-mi paradigm.

                                                  There are lots of complex factors at play, countries like India, Thailand and Vietnam don't have mature restaurant cultures compared to Europe - most food was cooked at home! in Palaces or street based snack food (which is good but not the same as restaurant food). India and Thailand changing but Vietnam less so with better Vietnamese food outside of the country. I would be really happy to take your recommendations for great Vietnamese places in Vietnam - but best on the SE Asia board - as I will be there again next year.

                                                  1. re: PhilD

                                                    In the case of Paris the progression may well be negative, which is why I don't think Vietnamese food in Paris is "not there yet", I rather think it's "no longer there". It used to be far better than it is now.

                                                    About 15 to 20 years ago, Vietnamese food in Paris was more readily available and of distinctly better quality than it is now, with more family restaurants, most of which have disappeared. For some reason it seems that the Vietnamese community is less active now on the restaurant scene than it used to be. Maybe the younger generations not wishing to take over the parents' restaurant business and taking other jobs. Other Asian communities, mainly Cambodian (apparently the majority in the lower part of South "Chinatown", in the 13th) - Tang Frères belongs to a Chinese-Cambodian family - or Laotian, or even mainland Chinese, have somehow taken over.

                                                    Now good Vietnamese restaurants in Paris have become scarcer, which is not to say that they are completely gone. Finding a good pho has become tricky, or complete menus of Vietnamese heritage or family dishes, Hue imperial cooking, etc.

                                                    I do believe that at some point, say until the late 90s, Paris had the best, most refined and most delicate Vietnamese cooking outside of Vietnam. The current situation has to be understood as the result of decadence, but I do not know the reasons for it.

                                                    Pho 67 on rue Galande is probably one of the best remaining examples of that quality.

                                                    1. re: Ptipois

                                                      All this debate is really interesting.

                                                      Today for lunch I went to the Banh mi on rue Volta again (had to try the 3rd sandwich, chicken). I went there with some german friends, and it started a conversation about foreigners doing food from another country (apparently there is a blue eyed german guy who does great Banh Mi in Berlin and came to visit Angela).

                                                      Angela had this to say: "Often people do a better job at a particular country's dish if they are not originally from that country, because they either research it a lot to make it as authentic as possible, or they decide to improve on it".

                                                      Of course, everyone who has met her knows that she speaks her mind directly, and probably without thinking it over much... But I still thought her point of view was interesting, especially from a Vietnamese girl doing Banh Mi in Paris.

                                                      1. re: Rio Yeti

                                                        In addition to her palette and her skills, Angéla is also conscientious.
                                                        She'd rather have trouble breathing but she still insists on making her own spicy barbecue sauce herself every morning.
                                                        Even if she were to make a choucroute or a bouillabaisse, I am sure she would apply the same demanding attitude.

                                                        1. re: Parigi

                                                          I'm joining the discussion but probably shouldn't. LIke other hounds here, I really appreciate Angéla's attention to the craft and her kindness. I enjoyed speaking to her the times I've been by. That said, one of those times, I ordered the beef and sadly, I found it unbearably sweet. I don't know what happened but so sugary I couldn't finish it. I say this because I've had really lovely sandwiches there, but I do wonder if those who express disappointment didn't have the experience I did; but because theirs was a first time experience, it made a different impression.

                                      2. re: johndoeme

                                        I agree that the meat is very sweet, but not overly so in my opinion... what I really loved about this shop (apart from the "caractère bien trempé" of the lady) is that everything feels incredibly fresh. The carrots are lightly marinated and brighten the sandwich, the bread is a good crispy baguette, and the meat (I tried pork and beef) are very tender and with character.

                                        I wasn't head over heels either, it's a sandwich. But my previous experiences with banh mi in Paris were mostly ok bread, dubious looking meat and burping of the banh mi for the rest of the day... so in my book, the shop rue de Volta is on a whole other level.

                                        1. re: Rio Yeti

                                          It is not overly sweet, it's perfectly good char siu, sweet as it should be. I suppose what we have here is a demonstration that one can have had banh mi all around the world and still lack experience on what a good banh mi is.

                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                            When you're next in my hood, we'll go on a crawl, have you sample our favorite banh mi and maybe even change your mind about fresh spring rolls. ;)

                                            1. re: mangeur

                                              Looking forward to it. I've had very good Spring rolls in Paris, it's just that I'm not crazy about them.

                                              1. re: Ptipois

                                                Velvety skin, silken rice noodles, tender and zesty grilled pork or chicken, crunchy jullienne of carrot and cucumber, counterpoints of cilantro and mint, flashes of jalepeno, each seductive bite dipped in sweet-sour-hot-salty nuoc gotta love it. Or not... We'll see.

                                                1. re: mangeur

                                                  I'm in !

                                                  Oh wait, I wasn't invited...?

                                                    1. re: Parigi

                                                      You and RY are both in. It's a party!

                                                  1. re: mangeur

                                                    Really, what I do not like in spring rolls is the spring rolls. I'm not too hot about cold rolls, that's it.
                                                    On the other hand, if that place makes good bun cha ha noi...

                                                    (If it's a party, I'll eat anything.)

                                  3. Benny - take-away coffee, street food, and now bahn-mi. Are you trying any French food and food traditions or simply recreating NYC?

                                    11 Replies
                                      1. re: vielleanglaise

                                        Actually l am with PhilD on this one. Have noticed on this trip that four of my oldtime boulangeries have been taken over by Kayser, or Grenier du Pain, or Paul, or someone else.l want my coffee at a table or bar when l can stand like an adult. This is one of the many reasons l love Paris. The little Mom & Pops are going and Carrefours city or Monoprix are opening everywhere. Yes progress, but progress that l have run away from elsewhere to come here. My cars do not have cupholders and l want my tiny little wonderful cups. Pho and bahn-mi, on the otherhand, are super, if l can sit and eat them somewhere.

                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                          Who knows what the OP eats between the banh mis, take away coffee, and street-food? Maybe he or she gorges themself on foie gras, sweetbreads, oysters and Chateau Petrus...

                                          Maybe it's because it's Paris, but sometimes simple requests and simple responses get transformed into nascent culture wars.

                                          BTW, you can sit at the Banh Mi place on the rue de Volta.

                                          1. re: vielleanglaise

                                            I was curious not critical. I was interested that the OP had not enquired about anything specifically French: isn't it a pleasure to both inform and educate?

                                            Hopefully they are simply refreshing their palate after a surfeit of Petrus and Foie Gras

                                              1. re: vielleanglaise

                                                I sort of responded to this point in my thread about coffee-
                                                Just looking for some quick but interesting sustenance between tourist sights. The practical reality is that time constraints and bugetary limitations necessarily limit the amount of Petrus and Foie Gras that will be consumed on this trip. And one of us is vegetarian, further complicating matters.
                                                Either way, there's no reason this thread should spawn a "nascent culture war." I am certainly aware and appreciative of what I'm missing out on by seeking cheap take-away food. That doesn't mean there aren't virtues to what I'm trying to accomplish in my limited time here, both food-wise and othewise.

                                                1. re: bennyt

                                                  Paris is bakery heaven. There is practically a bakery on every corner and you don't need to go far to find a good one (clue: lines out of the door at lunchtime). Many of these will do great filled rolls and/or pastries like quiches etc. Lots of veggie options plus lots of combinations etc you won't see in NYC. And they are cheap, so snacking on a budget is simple, in fact the best bet is to make your own, simple go to a good cheese shop, get a baguette and head to the park.

                                          2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            DCM, I concur...just discovered that one of my all-time favorite patisseries, Seurre, on Rue des Martyrs is going to be converted to a Beauté Monop...perhaps I have lived beyond my comfort era.

                                              1. re: souphie

                                                No, monsieur is retiring at the end of this year and his protegée is probably moving the shop to somewhere on Rochechouart. I sense a neighborhood resistance being formed which hopefully will impact Monops decision to acquire the lease...hopefully, but not likely... commerce must be served.

                                                1. re: Laidback

                                                  Well then, let's go while we still can!

                                      2. To make some of you feel better- today I ate a lunch of bread (from Poilane) and fromage de tete (from a small market) on a park bench ;)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: bennyt

                                          But did it make you happy ? What we say is not important, what you like is. For me In this city it is sitting in the early afternoon on a park bench with a little snack and a good book and watching the world go by. Like nowhere else l have ever been. There are some parks in this city that absolutely seduce you. Even the average ones are great. But sit in Place des Vosges on a nice afternoon and watch the students, watch the mothers, kids, and nannies, watch the pensioners. Sit in the sun, sit in the shade, the kids with soccer balls, it is France in a microcosm and truly wonderful.

                                          1. Khai Tri on rue d'Ivry in the XIIe arrondissement. Cheap and good (but only at meal times). Also Hoa Nam or any of the joints nearby, but I've only tried those at Khai Tri.
                                            Also, FYI, banh mi just means sandwich in Vietnamese, and paté is not compulsory.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: aliettedb

                                              A small correction: Khai Tri is on avenue d'Ivry, n°93.

                                              It is tiny, and also a bookstore :) I've passed by it many times and thought that a bookstore selling banh mi was probably a good sign for the banh mi. After all one of the best pho soups in Paris used to be delivered in a video rental store.

                                              Another small sandwich place on rue Caillaux near av. de Choisy (purple awning) and a larger one just outside Tang Frères on av. d'Ivry (I suppose that's the one you were referring to before?).

                                              1. re: Ptipois

                                                Oh, sorry, yes, it's the bookstore on avenue d'Ivry (the other sandwich shop I was thinking of, Hoa Nam, is outside Tang Frères but facing it. It sells all sorts of snacks and meats including cha lua and xa xiu, but they also have a sandwich shop. I'm not sure which one you mean by "just outside Tang Frères", as there's also one that's just to the left of the entrance to Tang Frères, which I've never tried).
                                                I tend to buy xa xiu at Tang Frères, a bag of carrots and some chilies, and then do my own banh mi with my bakery's fresh bread--it makes for quite a lovely combination...

                                                1. re: aliettedb

                                                  Yes, the one just left of the entrance to Tang Frères. I have never tried it either, but it's packed at lunchtime.