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Banh Mi Sandwich - Best Place in Mpls or St. Paul?

spahkee Oct 1, 2010 09:16 AM

I went to Trung Nam Bakery in St. Paul and got their delicious croissants last week and also tried one of their banh mi sandwiches. While I thought their banh mi bread was excellent - crunchy on the outside and light on the inside, I didn't think much of their meager fillings and quality of their pate / meat. Also, they just had one meat sandwich and one vegetarian/tofu variety.

I haven't tried the banh mi sandwich at Saigon Restaurant on University Ave and not sure if they are made fresh. The ones at Quang on Eat Street in Minneapolis seem to be premade.

Chowhound experts - where else in Minneapolis / St. Paul should I check out for great banh mi - awesome bread, great flavored fillings, mayo and pate?

  1. e
    eastlakovore Oct 1, 2010 09:49 AM

    I'm certainly no expert, but I do enjoy Saigon Restaurant, which are made fresh in front of you. Price is good too.
    Jasmine Deli is another location worth trying, I've had a good experience there, but have certainly heard the bad experiences too.
    If thinking high end, try 112 Eatery and their take on banh mi.

    Jasmine Deli
    2532 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

    112 Eatery
    112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

    1 Reply
    1. re: eastlakovore
      stymie Oct 1, 2010 11:14 AM

      I love the grilled pork sandwich at Pho Tau Bay. They gladly accommodate my request to add an extra $1.00 worth of meat. The meat is delicious.

      Pho Tau Bay
      2837 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

    2. mtullius Oct 1, 2010 12:57 PM

      One of my go-to meals in the TCs is the banh mi at Ngon Bistro. The meat is first-rate, pork from, I believe, Fischer Farms. The other fillings are fresh and great, and the bread is good too. Give it a shot.

      1. b
        b ster Oct 1, 2010 01:32 PM

        This may be ridiculed after reco's from 112 Eatery (love it), Jasmine, etc., but I personally enjoy the banh mi from the tiny spot in Dinkytown, Bun Mi Sandwiches. They offer up a classic version, as well as beef, pork and my personal favorite lemongrass chicken. The veggies are always fresh, and the spicy mayo is excellent....sides of fries also come with the mayo. If you don't mind wedging yourself into a tiny spot filled with college kids, it's worth a shot. Don't go with the intention of grabbing a table though...much more of a take-out spot.

        112 Eatery
        112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

        1. AnneInMpls Oct 1, 2010 02:31 PM

          My favorite is the Grilled Pork banh mi from Saigon. The beautifully caramelized pork really sends this version over the top for me.


          1 Reply
          1. re: AnneInMpls
            AnneInMpls Oct 2, 2010 10:19 PM

            P.S. to the OP - Saigon makes their banh mi fresh when you order. There's nothing premade about them!

          2. g
            getgot211 Oct 1, 2010 04:52 PM

            haven't heard much about Lou's(sp?) on here but a couple of Viet's from school have told me that's their favorite, I'll check it out soon.

            its across the street from Quang.

            1 Reply
            1. re: getgot211
              HuaGung Oct 1, 2010 05:12 PM

              It's Lu's, and it's across from Quang's as you mentioned. It is in the strip of shops that occupy the south side of the building Shuang Hur supermarket is in.

              I greatly prefer the sandwiches at Saigon in St Paul.



            2. n
              NobleDanSavage Oct 1, 2010 06:46 PM

              I know this is borderline sacrilegious, but if you're like me and love bahn mi and love curry, check out the chicken curry bahn mi from Chef Wadi's World Street Kitchen - it's amazing.

              1 Reply
              1. re: NobleDanSavage
                Bill Roehl Oct 3, 2010 08:01 AM

                I liked WSK's bahn mi as well but you're right--sacrilegious. I preferred their Yum-Yum rice bowl with chicken over the bahn mi however.

              2. clepro Oct 1, 2010 06:54 PM

                Can't speak to Minneapolis, but the best one in St. Paul would be on Trung Nam's bread stuffed with Saigon's grilled pork and pate.

                I also had a delicious one recently from Ai Hue's restaurant and bakery, on University in St. Paul, stuck back behind Krua Thai (enter the lot to the east of Krua Thai's entrance, and you'll see it). The fillings seemed crisper, fresher, and more abundant than from elsewhere, the pork had fantastic carmelized edges, and the pickled vegetables had a stronger pickled flavor I liked very much. The bread was too chewy though. And I've not yet had the chance to return and find out if it was a one-off, one time stroke of luck, or sometime to rely on.

                2 Replies
                1. re: clepro
                  kriminalrat Oct 2, 2010 07:05 PM

                  WSK FTW

                  1. re: clepro
                    diesel Oct 11, 2010 07:20 PM

                    Ha ha had to chuckle because I think I posted this a few years back - the ideal banh mi would be Trung Nam bread with Saigon fillings - namely meatballs with extra veggies!

                  2. katebauer Oct 3, 2010 01:58 PM

                    I picked up two of the "special sandwich" bahn mi this afternoon after having not been to Saigon for several years. Both my husband and I were very happy with the quality and freshness of the sandwiches. Unlike many of the Eat Street restaurants' bahn mi, Saigon's meat filling was moist and tender, not dry and tough. The size and variety of vegetables inside was great too. I would have preferred even more bite to the pickled veggies, but overall the sandwich was clearly superior to Jasmine Deli, Pho Tau Bay, Quang, etc..

                    Jasmine Deli
                    2532 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

                    Pho Tau Bay
                    2837 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                    1. j
                      JimGrinsfelder Oct 3, 2010 07:57 PM

                      I too found Trung Nam underwhelming. I like Saigon, across the street. Besides the wonderful grilled pork, they also do a really tasty grilled chicken Banh Mi.

                      1. k
                        keithinmpls Oct 8, 2010 08:13 AM

                        I tried the banh mi at the Ginger Hop in NE Mpls last night, and I'm sorry to report that it was an abomination - possibly the worst piece of food that I've ever paid money for. A failure as soon as it arrived. The bread was soft and soggy, like what you get as you remove a Kwik-Trip sandwich from its wrapper. The pickled veggies smelled like diapers, and the pork was cold and clammy. Kudos for using Fischer Farms pork but it was completely ruined, drowned out by WAY too much pate that tasted of cat food. And as soon as I picked it up, it took a monster soy sauce dump all over the plate.

                        I'm not trying to flame Ginger Hop; I actually quite like the place. The vibe in the bar is fun. They hve some very nice happy hour deals, and the food is usually pretty tasty. A fun take on Midwestern Chinese food. So I wasn't expecting authentic, but then again a banh mi is the perfect example of Asian fusion at it finest. But this sandwich was simply awful. Long story short - go to Ginger Hop but do NOT order the banh mi.

                        On a lighter note, I second the rec for Ngon's version. Or anything that involves their pork and the way they cook it.

                        Ginger Hop
                        201 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: keithinmpls
                          daniellempls Oct 8, 2010 11:12 AM

                          In fact, if you go to Ginger Hop, expect a nice atmosphere. Maybe they even have some decent Happy Hour specials. But don't go for any food. I had a horrible noodle soup there, my husband had a horrible yellow curry, and whatever else we ordered was so bad I can't remember.

                          As far as banh mis go, Surdyk's does a great one to-go for lunch. Sadly, I have't tried any of the go to places here (even Ngon Bistro). What kind of chowhound am I? They are on the top of my list, though.

                          Ginger Hop
                          201 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                          1. re: daniellempls
                            stepawayfromthetable Oct 22, 2010 11:49 AM

                            I was flying out of town and stopped at the Surdyks in the airport for some 'thanks for picking me up" gifts and a snack for me on the plane. How great that they had a bahn mi and how fun to bring a fancy yummy bahn mi to LA from the Midwest. It was tasty and fresh and I love the Vietnamese in the Midwest!

                            For the record--SAIGON all the way.

                        2. z
                          Zhym Oct 22, 2010 12:54 PM

                          I love the Saigon Banh Mi. The bread is just right, they make their own mayo, and it has the right level of spicy. As a vegetarian, I only wish they had a mock duck version. They have a tofu version that's quite good though (made with warm tofu).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Zhym
                            Fudist Jul 10, 2011 02:53 PM

                            Q5 at Saigon is the best Banh Mi in town and it's not even close.

                            1. re: Fudist
                              Fudist Jul 17, 2011 01:21 PM

                              Correction it's B5!!!!!

                          2. s
                            stymie Jul 10, 2011 10:41 PM

                            I asked the folks at Trieu Chau (Univ. Ave, St. Paul) if they had sandwiches. They said they only have them on days when the bakery is open, made sense. The interesting part, they said you can call in and "reserve" your sandwich, since they often run out of rolls. My non-bahn mi meal was tasty.

                            Trieu Chau Restaurant
                            500 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: stymie
                              EricShawnSmith Jan 13, 2013 09:12 PM

                              Yes they are very friendly and accommodating to loyal customers. I reserve those sandwiches all the time. Trieu Chau and Saigon are my favorite recs for these.

                              1. re: EricShawnSmith
                                JimGrinsfelder Jan 17, 2013 05:24 AM

                                I like to get the grilled pork with extra veggies at iPho by Saigon (formerly Saigon Bakery). Being a great believer in specialization, I appreciate iPho Saigon's Banh Mi come from their own counter and it even has a special entrance.

                                The 4 for the price of 3 deal is also sweet. Order 3, get 4, order 6, get 8, order 9, get 12....then go drop one off with a guy with a cardboard sign by the freeway entrance.

                            2. 3
                              3Bros Jan 11, 2013 10:16 AM

                              So... it's been a couple years now. How about we open this back up?! Where is everyone's favorite banh mi joint these days?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: 3Bros
                                soccermom13 Jan 12, 2013 05:20 AM

                                Another vote for Trieu Chau at 500 University Ave. We LOVE their grilled pork sandwiches :0)

                              2. s
                                spudzilla Jan 11, 2013 04:15 PM

                                I think Lu's it the best I have has in the city

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