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New Vietnamese in Hadley, MA -- Saigon Banh Mi

j
jzzy55 Jun 3, 2012 02:09 PM

New hole in the wall (meaning = promising) place just opened Saturday June 2 on Route 9 in Hadley, in the strip mall with Mi Tierra and the halal meat market. Had a tofu banh mi, summer rolls -- both excellent. The sauce on the banh mi was tasty, the ingredients fresh, and while the roll did not quite convey "Paris," it was plenty good enough. Sauce for rolls was good, too.
Owner gave us the banh mi after we bought the summer rolls and a bubble tea.
Definitely going back. The menu is still small -- basics like fresh rolls, pho and banh mi -- but they seem good at what they're doing so far.
Not 100% sure of the name of the place, but this is husband's best recollection.

  1. c
    caughtstars Jun 6, 2012 10:32 AM

    I went here for the first time last night and really enjoyed it.. Fresh pork and shrimp summer rolls were delicious and the hoisin sauce was perfect. The rolls were a bit cold but just leave them to room temp. and they become pretty perfect.

    I had the cold cuts banh mi.. could have used a bit more pate, but that is my only complaint. My husband's bbq pork was really tasty. The owners were very friendly. Just so you know, cash only at this point, but check them out!

    1. j
      jackandcoke02 Jun 9, 2012 12:51 PM

      The summer rolls were great and the hoisin sauce was spot on, we finished up with the beef pho. I've had pho at Miss Saigon and the Vietnamese spots in Springfield but they taste bland and watered down. The pho at Banh Mi Saigon tasted homemade and was very tasty and you know you are eating good pho when you're sweating lol, btw they started taking card transactions yesterday. Will be back!!

      1. BerkshireTsarina Jun 10, 2012 02:48 PM

        Stopped by for afternoon "teatime" --- had a spring roll, tasty, and summer roll, fat and packed and really really good (forgot about the hoisin, next time) ---
        and took home a BBQ pork banh mi to share. They ask if you want it spicy, and I had them hold back on the jalapenos, and we liked the sandwich a lot. Next time will try with more spiciness, to test.
        Pho will have to wait for cooler weather --
        Meantime, delighted they're here!

        1 Reply
        1. re: BerkshireTsarina
          b
          Big Fat Moe Jun 11, 2012 08:37 AM

          Yes, Moe was there the other day. Enjoyed the banh mi very much. A little chintzy on the pork but then again I was comparing it against the Gold Standard of banh mi, Saigon Sandwich Shop in SF. Also tried a sumer roll and found it impressive as well.

        2. b
          belcherveggie Jun 11, 2012 05:40 PM

          They do eat in or take out. The eat in is bare bones, tables chairs & hoisen on every table. Order at the counter from the menu signs. The menu is: Banh mi - 5 varieties (1 Veggie) $4.45-4.75 Pho - 3 varieties (1 veggie) $7.95 Spring Rolls - 1 variety with shrimp & Meat, Summer rolls - 2 varieties (1 Veggie) $3.75 for 2 and Bubble teas.

          The tastes remind me of our first introduction to Vietnamese 'street food' in Seattle years ago and have been searching for since. We found it. This is not fine dining, but the food is fine!

          1 Reply
          1. re: belcherveggie
            m
            magiesmom Jun 17, 2012 01:29 PM

            we went last night and though my friends wished for a bigger menu, everything we had was really good. I especially like the beef Banh Mi, spicy. Summer rolls good, Pho ok, though the veggie was much better than the chicken. Service very sweet and obliging.

          2. r
            ronin01r1 Jun 22, 2012 08:12 PM

            THANK YOU to the owners for opening such a great place!!! I've had pho at literally dozens of pho specializing restaurants in Atlanta and Philadelphia and I will honestly say this place ranks right up there with the best of them.

            The broth is most important IMO and I say theirs is great. It's like night and day compared to the other pho place in Amherst...this place puts that one to shame, absolutely. Banh Mi Saigon's broth has that perfect mix of complex rich flavor.

            Tonight we tried beef pho, chicken pho, egg rolls, and grilled chcken banh mi. All were great. The fried spring (egg) rolls were piping hot and stuff with a nice balance of meat and veggies unlike some places that'll serve instant/frozen spring rolls. GF had the chicken pho and she really like it too. Like others have said, the balance of veggies, perfectly cooked meat, and the crusty soft bread is awesome. If you're curious, I'd recommend splitting the sandwich with a friend as an appetizer with an order of pho. YUMM...

            I'll try the summer rolls next time and definitely get the beef pho again. Prices are very good, esp for this area, and the quality is superb...you won't find much better in CT. $9 for beef pho, $8 for chicken pho.

            This place needs to be added to Google Maps so many others can find it easily.

             
             
             
             
            5 Replies
            1. re: ronin01r1
              m
              magiesmom Jun 23, 2012 04:56 AM

              I like the spring rolls, but I did see them bringing frozen ones from the store next door.

              1. re: magiesmom
                j
                jackandcoke02 Jun 23, 2012 10:57 AM

                I know the owners and I can guarantee you that they make everything from scratch

                1. re: jackandcoke02
                  m
                  magiesmom Jun 23, 2012 01:23 PM

                  hmm, I wonder what was in the package with a picture of spring rolls on it.

                  1. re: magiesmom
                    j
                    jzzy55 Jun 23, 2012 06:43 PM

                    I just ate there again yesterday (I CANNOT stay away from this place!). I had the summer rolls. THey were loaded with fresh ingredients, inluding very fresh pieces of scallion (hard to defrost and have them seem fresh, no?) making it hard for me to imagine them coming out of a freezer. Perhaps the package you saw was the actual rolls -- the wrappers -- but not a finished product? Next time I am there I will ask. I told them I put positive things about them on a food/restaurant website and they were SO happy. I'd like to stay positive given that the food is so tasty. And we don't have good Vietnamese here so I'd like to see this place make it.

                    1. re: jzzy55
                      Bri Jun 23, 2012 09:37 PM

                      Just to be clear - summer rolls are not fried, they are made with fresh ingredients (that vary) and have a soft rice paper wrapper; spring rolls are made with wonton skins, filled with various veggies and meat, and deep fried. I believe the comment about frozen items was referencing the spring rollls not the summer rolls, not really possible to freeze the summer rolls...

                      With that out of the way, I'd love to try this place, but I'm very partial to Vinh Chau at the X in Springfield. Also, in Brattleboro VT there is a lunch truck doing a very good chicken pho, banh mi and bun, and I don't have to drive all the way to Hadley for it. Also, when I drive to Hadley its usually for Mi Tierra so it would be such a difficult decision to give up tacos and margaritas for "pretty good" pho.

            2. m
              mamacate Jun 23, 2012 06:24 AM

              I've only had takeout there (partner coming home through Hadley), but it was good. I found the bread a little crustier than I expect for Banh Mi, but fine. I complained to my Vietnamese coworker that the meat was a little gristly, but he essentially called me a white girl and said that was actually a vote in their favor. I'm sure he's right. Otherwise, YUM. Seriously, the valley is looking up, foodwise. Where's my Ethiopian restaurant and my food trucks? (Banh Mi Saigon food truck to Northampton at lunchtime? Mmmmmm?)

              1. a
                ahartfie Jun 29, 2012 03:04 PM

                Went there for lunch today. I've always wanted to try banh mi; never having had it before, I can't compare this to others - but holy mother of God, was that a delicious sandwich. I had the beef and asked for spicy, which meant they included sliced jalapenos. I also had a summer roll which was similarly delicious. My friend got the pork banh mi, and we traded bites, and hers was just as good as mine. Four thumbs up!

                1. s
                  scribos Oct 1, 2012 11:22 AM

                  My husband and I have now tried Banh Mi Saigon sandwiches, pork and chicken, then last week on a rainy night takeout of their beef pho and vegetable pho along with an order of pork egg rolls. We enjoyed their amazing sandwiches in the summer, savoring every fresh bite of them. They were full of spicy flavor. I was a bahn mi newbie, so are the rolls supposed to be exactly like French baguettes? If so, they didn't have the baguette texture but some other style that also made for a great sandwich. Can any Vietnamese person comment on the rolls?

                  I was almost afraid to try the pho since I've been repeatedly disappointed in this dish locally more than once in the Amherst area. Well, the pho was incredible. The broth had a rich, multi-layered taste with flavors blending into one amazing taste experience. So subtle and good. The ingredients--noodles, beef, tofu-were totally fresh and top notch as were the condiments we added at home.

                  As for the egg rolls, I lied to my husband and said the order only came with two egg rolls (One order=three egg rolls.). I ate the third one in the car and had to stifle the urge to go back in for another order!

                  I'm so happy we have this great place for the upcoming cool and cold months ahead. My only complaint is the decor is totally uninviting. Both times I did takeout orders. I hope the Banh Mi owners make enough money to hire a local designer to upgrade the place--maybe large poster sized photos of Vietnam, black and white floor, small and large round tables, really nice lighting, and paint the space in colors typical of that Viet Nam. It's just too basic to eat there. I know it's a "hole in the wall," but it's big enough to make it a sit-down, self-serve place where you could enjoy their great dishes on site if they did something creative with paint, photos, and lighting.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: scribos
                    s
                    sakeandgin Oct 2, 2012 02:17 PM

                    Rather have good food and friendly ownership that appreciates their customers. The decor doesn't bother me. Wife and I ate there the other night and brought along a bottle of wine to enjoy with the fantastic Pho.

                    1. re: scribos
                      j
                      jzzy55 Oct 2, 2012 04:55 PM

                      Another customer not bothered by Banh Mi's "decor." The new Northampton Main Street Vietnamese place has a pretty decor but lousy, bland food. I'll take the hole in the wall over that any day. Someday they can put money into their decor -- but I'm not in a hurry to see it. As my grandma used to say, that's what makes horse races....

                      1. re: scribos
                        m
                        magiesmom Oct 2, 2012 05:20 PM

                        I don't mind the lack of decor and prefer to have the food hot and fresh. I simply don't care what it looks like at all and the food is really good.

                        1. re: magiesmom
                          s
                          scribos Oct 2, 2012 07:22 PM

                          I'd much rather have the wonderful food that Bahn Mi Saigon has than decor--love the pho, the egg rolls, the sandwiches. The family is wonderful. I do think they could double their business if people could take their takeout and eat it right there, though, if the atmosphere was a little more inviting. I see lots of people packing places with better looks than food. Why not have both? Well, I guess I do both since I bring the food home and serve it in a nice setting. End of subject.

                          1. re: scribos
                            BerkshireTsarina Dec 11, 2012 05:25 AM

                            So sorry I forgot since last visit to add another comment. Went there a couple of weeks ago. They've expanded their menu and include some more noodle and rice dishes besides the pho. We tried an assortment (nobly omitting the banh mi we love so much in favor of trying new stuff) and everything was great. Yes, it's bare bones, but the owners are very warm, and the food is SOOOOOOOO good, and it's reasonable as food goes in the Valley. So it should be more crowded than it is. Selfish wish! I want them to stay around a long long time. (We were sorely disappointed in Mi Tierra last time we were there, so I'm especially happy about the Vietnamese.)

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