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Looking for best bahn mi in greater Boston

garlin Jan 26, 2012 10:32 AM

Extra bonus points if anyone knows of any bahn mi establishments that are north of Boston.

  1. f
    Foodie_BBQ Jun 6, 2012 06:57 AM

    Just re-read the OP and the ask was for North of Boston. Other than the far north Lynn/Lowell suggestions, anything closer North? I'm thinking Arlington/Lexington/Woburn/Burlington or even Cambridge. So far the closest I've found to that area is Pho and Spice in Waltham, which was fine but nothing special. Or should I read the comments below as Chinatown/Dorchester/Randolph or don't bother?

    1. b
      brightonforager Jun 6, 2012 06:08 AM

      try the Bahn Mi Sandwich at Dash Cafe in Brighton. you can get it with pork, beef, chicken, or tofu. top-notch bread, lots of veggies, and it comes with a yummy soy-mayonnaise

      3 Replies
      1. re: brightonforager
        kimfair1 Jun 6, 2012 10:46 AM

        How are the other menu items at Dash? Are they better than the other 3 places that were there before Dash?

        1. re: kimfair1
          brightonforager Jun 6, 2012 11:57 AM

          Everything I've had there has been great. Cute place, nice owners are from San Francisco, definitely not your usual boring sandwiches and such. You can tell that a lot of thought went into the menu.

          1. re: brightonforager
            kimfair1 Jun 6, 2012 12:51 PM

            Thanks, I'll have to check them out. I was unimpressed with the last place there, and I was hoping there would be new owners with a new concept. Always looking for something good in the neighborhood.

      2. MeffaBabe May 31, 2012 08:20 AM

        Wouldn't go anywhere but the 163 on Harrison Ave (next to East West Bank) for mine. I have worked in CT for 6 years and have tried every single bahn mi around and keep coming back to the spicy BBQ beef at 163. They are the only place that uses the tiny hot chilli peppers and not the so, so jalapeno's everyone else uses.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MeffaBabe
          aregularjoe May 31, 2012 08:24 AM

          Thanks for the tip! Will try it tonight!

        2. Boston_Otter Feb 1, 2012 05:08 AM

          Until recently I happily told people that the best banh mi outside of Chinatown was to be found, improbably, at Foundry on Elm in Davis Square. Sadly, they've discontinued it.

          1. SeaSide Tomato Jan 30, 2012 07:12 PM

            the Bahn Mi at H & N Saigon Sub continues to impress me--cripsy, crackly, chewy roll; flavorful meats; nicely pickled veg; beautiful cilatro and great, spicy peppers, if you want them. Good selection too, including meatballs. They have lots of other items, too--and now beef pho, which i have yet to try, but the broth looks great.

            5 Replies
            1. re: SeaSide Tomato
              carbondiamond Jan 30, 2012 07:30 PM

              SeaSide Tomato-I agree with you, N & H Saigon Sub is pretty darn good!

              1. re: carbondiamond
                opinionatedchef Jan 30, 2012 09:36 PM

                in randolph:


                1. re: opinionatedchef
                  aregularjoe May 30, 2012 02:55 PM

                  Have any of you tried Le Sandwich in Randolph Center? I find N&H a bit dumbed down. I can't stop going to Le Sandwich. Cheap and delicious!

                  Le Sandwich
                  41 N Main St
                  Randolph, MA 02368
                  (781) 986-2622

              2. re: SeaSide Tomato
                joebloe Jan 31, 2012 08:49 PM

                Saigon's meat sandwich is among the best but their pho is really disappointing in taste and portion...like five slices of meats and wilting veggies!:(

                1. re: joebloe
                  SeaSide Tomato Feb 1, 2012 06:31 AM

                  ooohhh, sorry to hear that--they seem to take such care with everything else.

              3. t
                Tonality666 Jan 26, 2012 12:57 PM

                The BBQ Beef at 163 in Chinatown.

                13 Replies
                1. re: Tonality666
                  teezeetoo Jan 26, 2012 01:11 PM

                  love Banh Mi Ba Le and Pho Viet but have added the unconventional egg plant banh mi at Strip T's to my list of favorite bahn mis.

                  1. re: teezeetoo
                    MC Slim JB Jan 26, 2012 01:41 PM

                    I've had that Strip-T's one, too, and it's awesome -- love the tempura tofu -- but I must note that it's $9.

                    Bánh mì.http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                      BrettLove Jan 27, 2012 10:11 AM

                      Perhaps not ultra-authentic, maybe "too expensive" for banh-mi purists ($6), but the 'shiitake and pâte' (my paraphrasing) banh-mi from the BonMe truck in Dewey Sq. (usually there weekdays with the Clover and Mamagoose trucks, opposite S. Station) I had was revelatory. They appear to be based out of Malden, but don't know if they maintain a retail front there. Perhaps "authenticity is overrated", as someone I don't always agree with put it...

                      1. re: BrettLove
                        MC Slim JB Jan 27, 2012 10:17 AM

                        Into this same gussied-up, significantly-more-than-$3 bánh mì category, I'll add the fried egg and soy-glazed house-cured bacon version at Myers + Chang's weekend dim sum brunch.


                        1. re: BrettLove
                          MrsCheese Jan 29, 2012 07:32 PM

                          This is great to know! I always go to Momogoose out of habit, and balked at the idea of $6 banh mi, but I'll have to try BonMe if it's that good.

                    2. re: Tonality666
                      bizkat Jan 28, 2012 08:52 AM

                      Second the BBQ Beef at 163 but sometimes I'm left asking "Where's the beef?"

                      1. re: bizkat
                        ix9 Jan 28, 2012 09:02 AM

                        i find banh mi places indistinguishable. maybe i'm just not picky, but can't discern 88 food court, kam man, dot places, 163, that cart which was inside a jewelry shop just north of combat-zone c-mart apart.

                        imo the key is the bread. a toaster oven is i guess a compromise, but the best one ive had was just walking around until i smelled smoke and walking into a 95 F bakery where you could barely see back to the ovens. and watching them pour a big pile of loaves out and buying one, and rushing home and putting some fillings in it. total cost about 80 cents

                        1. re: ix9
                          MC Slim JB Jan 28, 2012 09:13 AM

                          I agree that good bread is crucial: I know Ba Le is baking their own, and I think Mei Sum is (not sure). What distinguishes Pho Viet's (their apostrophe-S, not mine) from others is that they're more generous with their protein fillings.


                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            Jenny Ondioline Jan 28, 2012 01:30 PM

                            Yeah, there are times when the Pho Viet's banh mi has pork literally falling out of it.

                            Incidentally, you can ask for extra vegetables -- there's usually a 25-cent upcharge, which big deal -- and have an enormous mound of pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, cilantro and jalapenos atop what's already a fairly overstuffed sandwich.

                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                              Nab Jan 28, 2012 02:11 PM

                              I always get a chuckle when, on the topic of their protein-packedness, my Vietnamese buddy politely adds, "... to American tastes."

                            2. re: MC Slim JB
                              kobuta Feb 4, 2012 07:18 AM

                              Just had Mei Sum's banh mi yesterday, and they use Quinzani's rolls for their bread. I personally don't mind since I think it overs good chewiness, without the overly crispiness of some baguettes.

                              1. re: kobuta
                                MC Slim JB May 29, 2012 11:09 PM

                                Well, at least it's a local bakery, and they're presumably getting a daily load. But I'd hoped they made their own.


                                1. re: MC Slim JB
                                  maxinboston May 30, 2012 11:38 AM

                                  MC- I'm 99% sure they get daily deliveries. I've walked by early in the morning and seen them opening up shop with a bunch of brown paper bags full of loaves out on the counters.

                      2. j
                        Jenny Ondioline Jan 26, 2012 12:13 PM

                        You'll find it at Pho Viet. About to go eat one myself right now, in fact.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                          bakerboyz Jan 26, 2012 12:32 PM

                          Another vote for Pho Viet.

                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                            opinionatedchef Jan 26, 2012 02:09 PM

                            Last year, i went and tried banh mi at all the places listed above- in chinatown and dorchester. we came to decide that Pho Viet's beef banh mi was better than all of them. bread, filling, all of it. and you can keep them a few days and successfully reheat to crispy bread (do a search; my technique is in one of the threads!) It's most fortunate because there is a parking lot and they are wicked fast at making them. And you can call ahead and order. we often do that because we drive in from winchester to get them (happy to pick up for you next time we go in; just email me through my profile pg.)

                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              mcel215 Jan 30, 2012 03:24 AM

                              Thanks for the info on the parking lot and of course the Bahn Mi. Is this the one in the Super 88? Not familiar with the area, but do have a GPS. About how long is the trip in and out? I am right off 93 in Woburn.


                              1. re: mcel215
                                opinionatedchef Jan 30, 2012 10:59 AM

                                yes, that's where it is. i call it the super 88 too though it's now the hong kong apparently. we go: montvale ,down 93, sullivan sq exit, over Prison Point bridge, Mem drive to BU bridge, R on Comm Ave, past EMS 1 block, on the R. Pkg lot next to bldg. If you're going in just for that, you might want to consider picking up from other nearby spots (allston chock a block w/ them)!
                                About 30 min in.

                          2. MC Slim JB Jan 26, 2012 11:50 AM

                            My favorites are Pho Viet's, Mei Sum Bakery, and Bánh Mì Ba Le (or Ba-Le, depending on which sign you look at).


                            5 Replies
                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                              justbeingpolite Jan 26, 2012 12:08 PM

                              If North of Boston includes Lowell (in order of personal preference):

                              Hong Cuc
                              Yummy Express
                              Heng Heng

                              1. re: justbeingpolite
                                lexpatti Jan 29, 2012 05:50 AM

                                mmm we love Hong Cuc in lowell.. Will have to try the others. Where is yummy express.

                                1. re: lexpatti
                                  galangatron Feb 1, 2012 08:38 AM

                                  yummy express is right off middlesex street on branch street. a little further down the road from pailin plaza and right past where the two streets split. they share a parking lot with khmer angkor market and some type of electronics store

                                  1. re: galangatron
                                    lexpatti Feb 2, 2012 06:33 PM

                                    thanks, I went yesterday for lunch. Love the place but I think my vote goes to Hung Cuc for the bahn mi and the egg rolls too. I like the place a lot though and like to try other things in there.

                              2. re: MC Slim JB
                                lipoff Jan 27, 2012 09:48 AM

                                I don't like the Mei Sum Bakery's as much, but Pho Viet's and Bánh Mì Ba Le are definitely my favorites. Bobalicious in Newton, sadly no longer exists --- I really liked their's as well "back in the day"!

                              3. galangatron Jan 26, 2012 10:45 AM

                                cali sandwich on union street in lynn is north of boston

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: galangatron
                                  mmocpi Feb 4, 2012 06:38 AM

                                  I work in Lynn so I finally I tried it yesterday. Awesome. Thanks for the tip!

                                2. galangatron Jan 26, 2012 10:45 AM

                                  banh mi ba le on dot ave in dorchester

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: galangatron
                                    Alcachofa Jan 27, 2012 10:59 AM

                                    Is Banh Mi Ba Le near a T stop? (5 min walk or less)

                                    1. re: Alcachofa
                                      galangatron Jan 27, 2012 11:51 AM

                                      it's a short walk from savin hill t-station

                                      exit the train station, take a left onto savin hill road, walk until you hit dot ave, and it's about three or four blocks on your right. you can't miss it

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