HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Banh Mi: Is there a more delicious cheap lunch?

Made a long overdue first visit to the 88 food court on Comm. Ave. yesterday and got two banh mi at Pho Viet's. The beef version was very good, the pork even better. I asked for spicy and it was, just a total taste sensation, the heat mixing with the sweetness of the pork, cilantro and crunchy veggies. Each sandwich was $3.65 (I couldn't finish two; my wife devoured the leftover half-a-beef banh mi when I got home).
While Pho Viet's offers a full-menu of Vietnamese food, across from it is a banh mi-only stand whose name I don't recall (started with a B). Didn't see a single customer. I wonder how its banh mi's compare to Pho Viet's.
And I wonder if there are other delicious bargains available at the 88. The other places looked enticing, but they'd need to have something great to lure me away from another pork banh mi.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I do agree the bahn mi is a main draw (and the summer rolls).. . The place to the left of Pho Viets - facing it - is named like the "Wonder" or something has some tasty noodle dishes as well..

    3 Replies
    1. re: grant.cook

      Are you thinking of One of the Kind? I haven't been there in too long, but I've found them hit or miss. They never seem to have certain of the more interesting dishes on the menu - red-cooked pork and so on. Love the lamb skewers - will have to try more of their noodles.

      1. re: Allstonian

        My 88 food court "hack" is to order the pan-fried dumplings (northern-style, I think they're called there?) to go from One of the Kind, then bring it across the hallway to Pikaichi to enjoy with ramen. Makes up for the fact that there's no gyoza at Pikaichi.

      2. The most amazing thing about the banh mi at PhoViet is that that sandwich -- the best banh mi I've had in Boston by a mile -- cost all of $2 when I first started eating them.

        1. Just be aware that if you order the shredded pork, you get what I'm guessing is tripe. I was expecting something succulent, not the chewy translucent strands I received! Next time I'll be more informed and order the grilled pork.

          I've only had the chicken sandwich otherwise, and was blown away by how cheap it is for the quality and taste. My son loves the tofu sandwich, too.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bear

            It's actually "bi": sliced, steamed and/or boiled pork skin, and I agree it's not very nice. (I now make a point of asking when the menu just says "pork".)

            I have heard that some banh mi stands in Vietnam do deep-fried bi, which I imagine being much tastier, but I never ran into one over there. Look for "BBQ pork" instead.


            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Ah, that makes sense. Thanks. It was like chewy rubber bands without much (to my uneducated palate) flavor. I'm definitely going to be more cautious in the future.

              1. re: bear

                I think that bi might be tastier if it were prepared locally the way I understand it is sometimes done, with some bits of meat left attached to the skin, more in the direction of chicharrĂ³n. But at the Boston places I've inadvertently ordered it (Pho Viet's, King Do Baguette), it's nothing but skin, which is punishingly bland and chewy when boiled into submission.


          2. Kantin has some very fine cantonese - i like their chow foon and often take home a 1/2 duck.

            1. Simple answer- No, there is not!
              Do a Search for Food Court and Super 88 or Hong Kong Market, and a bunch of threads will come up w/ recs. Btw, the banh mi can be deconstructed and easily reheated(i offer directions on one of those other threads.)

              1. It is hard to imagine a more delicious cheap lunch than a Banh Mi, and Pho Viet's makes one of the best. Banh Mi Ba Le in Dorchester is even better, but is quite a hike.

                Other favorites of mine in the Super 88 food court include the beef shortribs at Pho Viet's, the lamb skewers and sour cabbage from One of the Kind, the dduk bokgi (many varieties) from the Misono Grill, the Biryani from JMP, and the duck buns from Kantin. And, of course, bubble tea from Lollicup (note the flavors on the front of the display case that indicate fresh fruit, or ask the staff what fresh fruit flavors they have today --- these are generally a lot better than those where the flavor comes only from a syrup or powder).

                1. Nope, there's not. I work in Dorchester and I'm completely addicted to Ba Le's grilled beef banh mi. Lee's convenience store is pretty decent as well. When I can get over to Allston, Pho Viet's really hits the spot too.

                  Some places offer very substantial fresh spring roles for a steal too, which make for a tasty and healthy (and cheap!) lunch. I love Vietnamese food in this town.

                  1. The banh mi places in Chinatown also have box lunches with rice or noodles that I prefer to the banh mi -- lemongrass pork, lemongrass chicken, like that. About $4.

                    1. Pho Viet's banh mi are out of this world. The other banh mi place in the food court (the one on your left hand side when you walk in) isn't nearly as good.

                      As for other places at the 88, I love One of the Kind's lamb skewers and their ma po tofu--lots of ma la goodness. I've been wanting to get the jja jang myun at the Korean place, but always seem to get lured in by the banh mi...

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: jmarya

                        I did a banh mi crawl a few yrs ago, trying the 2 key Dorchester places and 3 in Chtown, but my preference was and is Pho Viet's. My only problem w/ it is that it is too sweet for me. I also love the Japnese style grilled eel on iron pot-crusted rice at Kantin in the rear of the old 88 food court..

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          I love many things from Kantin, but that eel doesn't sound like anything I've seen on their menu. Are you maybe thinking of the eel bibimbap from Misono Grill, across the way from Kantin?

                          1. re: Allstonian

                            I was wondering the same thing.

                            Rice stick, Chow Foon, Congee. Roast Duck, Beef , Eggplant, U-toy, Soup Noodles, Peapod stems, Duck Buns...

                            I do not think the eel is from Kantin.

                            1. re: hyde

                              Love Kantin (my place for my dry chow foon fix) but don't recall eel. Maybe I missed it?

                            2. re: Allstonian

                              yes, i was hoping someone would correct me;i was just too tired to check it. thx.