For about the cost of a few subway rides, Banh Mi sandwiches are an absolute steal. For sandwich mavens, these Vietnamese baguette-based delights beat the Reuben, Croque, tuna—all. In short—and they often measure over a foot—they amount to out-of-this-world taste delivery systems—a flat out refute to the utilitarian assemblies that often pass as lunch. A veritable Banh Mi takeover has quietly happened city-wide. Here’s where to surrender. By Anna Van Lenten. (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Considered Best in the West, some attribute this to the way Ba Xuyen sculpts out the doughy middle of its toothsome loaves, leaving the chewy crust as housing for its interior wonders. Those include a lovely sweet pickled daikon, garlicky mayo and choice of super savory pork in the form of meatballs, pate and cold cuts.
Banh Mi Saigon
A hidden gem—literally set in the back of a jewelry store, this unpretentious place is, more than anything, a way to raise the bar in your eating life. Among other reasons are the generous amounts of cilantro, tangy daikon and carrots that get packed amongst the layers, and the way the chicken and the pork balance sweet and flavored heat so harmoniously.
Banh Mi Zon
443 E 6th Street
New York, NY 10009
It’s hard not to overstate how delightful Zon’s banh mis are. Is it the baguette—somehow, chewy on the outside, flakey on the in? The invigorating cuke-cilantro-pickled-carrot feature? Or is it the lovely pate? Whether you go with the grilled chopped chicken, grilled pork patties, or sardine sandwiches, these questions will fade—all that matters is that you know where to find the champs.
The Banh Mis here speak for themselves. But in case you don’t talk catfish, Sloppy or classic, here’s what the star selections from this small purveyor of deliciousness promise: the freshest, crispiest baguettes and vegetables, perfectly marinated meats, and a spice-mayo merger of titanically tasty consequences. Caution: even the mild will heat your innards.
85 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
350 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
What you do at Hanco’s is you order one classic spicy banh mi – juicy, flavorful pork – to eat there, and a second tofu banh mi to go, for the next day. Even if you’re a strict meat eater, the tofu is so well seasoned, so damn good, you’ll forget entirely you’ve gone soy.
Everything is on point here at this little shop of heaven: The sauce and vegetables, the baguettes and major elements all work together flawlessly, yet manage to stay on course with their own taste sensations. Don’t be afraid of the fantastic veggie options—many a meat tooth has found unending pleasures in them.
Banh mi houses number so many they now employ ‘classic’ in their sandwich titles. Nah’s innovative beef pho banh mi proves you can push the envelope and make it a standard. Its main ingredient is a kind of beef brisket cooked in pho broth. This is layered into a feathery crisp baguette along with basil, bean sprouts, cucumber, cilantro, hoisin, house-made sauce and Sriracha. It’s a great direction to go in.
Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwich Shop
150 E 2nd Street
New York, NY 10009
311 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Nicky’s is peppy with its banh mis. Order them spicy and the tofu, classic (pork chop), and chicken include, on their delicious baguettes, a jalapeno surprise—not overmuch, but enough to pick up the pace. The cilantro, pickled carrots and mayo will have you either happy to wait in line, or frothing at the bit to get your bounty.
Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli
369 Broome Street
New York, NY 10013
Sometimes you need therapy—and food is a sustaining kind. Saigon’s warm baguettes alone would heal. The pate and pork takes the cake, but if you’re a spicy nut, be sure to order it so—these begin mildly.