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Banh Mi: Is there a more delicious cheap lunch?

k
katzzz May 15, 2013 12:29 PM

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. g
    grant.cook May 16, 2013 06:10 AM

    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
      Allstonian May 16, 2013 06:34 AM

      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
        l
        lossless May 16, 2013 07:00 AM

        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.

        1. re: Allstonian
          g
          grant.cook May 16, 2013 07:39 AM

          Yes, that's the name..

      2. j
        Jenny Ondioline May 16, 2013 02:44 PM

        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. b
          bear May 16, 2013 03:06 PM

          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
            MC Slim JB May 16, 2013 03:59 PM

            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.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: MC Slim JB
              b
              bear May 17, 2013 03:30 AM

              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
                MC Slim JB May 17, 2013 06:36 AM

                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 chicharrón. 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.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          2. t
            teezeetoo May 16, 2013 03:44 PM

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

            1. opinionatedchef May 16, 2013 08:19 PM

              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. lipoff May 17, 2013 09:52 AM

                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).

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