Banh mi has got to be one of our favourite foods. Compiled of a soft, chewy (yet crispy and crusty!) baguette, coupled with meat, veggies and a host of other delicious accompaniments, what’s not to love!? Whilst the dish at first glance may seem simple, to achieve the perfect banh mi, we’re looking for the ‘just right’ contrast of complimentary flavours and textures, along with the all-important bread that encases it all.
It seemed impossible that Co Thánh could meet our expectations. When we get excited for a meal, sometimes things get out of hand and the moment we stepped into the rustic space, expectations went even higher due to the ambiance and happy crowd. We are pleased to report that the banh mi immediately went to the top of our list. Even though bun is their thing, the banh mi was the best version of the sandwich we’ve had this side of Vietnam (and it even beats most we’ve had there).
They aren’t skimping on the cold cuts and pâté, which are complimented by the perfect ratio of pickle, cilantro, spring onion, and chili. The bread is crusty and airy, but isn’t trying to be the star of the show, so you are able to have a perfect bite throughout the sandwich without having to deal with the dreaded bread-only bite at the start and finish. The only problem is that you won’t want this sandwich to end.
$88 for a banh mi (classic)
Sassy tip: The banh mi is the only item on the menu available for take away. Be the office hero; take the team’s order in advance and bring back lunch for everyone.
Co Thánh, 2-4 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong, facebook.com/cothanhrestaurant
For the Banh Mi Thit at Le Petit Saigon, Head Chef Bao La uses specially made flaky baguettes, and fills them with five different cuts of pork (from shredded and belly to fromage de tête and pork floss), chili, pickles, coriander, shallots, chicken liver pâté and mayonnaise.
The result is hard to beat, and possibly the closest you’ll get to a truly authentic banh mi in Hong Kong. Each element marries together beautifully, to create the contrasts of flavours and textures, that we’re looking for from a banh mi. Chef Bao states that a banh mi is, “everything you could possibly want in a sandwich. Nothing compares,” and we have to agree with him!
$88 for a classic Banh Mi Thit
Sassy tip: Next door neighbourhood and older sibling Le Garcon Saigon also offers up a very tasty lunch set. From 12pm to 2:30pm, enjoy a choice of starter and main for $188 (add a drink for $38). It’s sure to keep you satisfied through the mid-afternoon slump and brighten up any working day!
Le Petit Saigon, 16 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, legarconsaigon.com/le-petit-saigon
Whilst the baguette at Com Banh Mi is ever so slightly too hard for our liking, it does help the banh mi retain its shape and keep the ingredients in – so you don’t end up in too much of a mess whilst tucking in to this one! The pork chop is tender and flavourful, working nicely with the accompanying veggies. Sauce fans will be pleased with the generous spread of mayo and spicy sauce used, which ensure that the banh mi bursts with flavour and doesn’t dry out.
In our (greedy) opinion, the banh mi here is a little smaller compared to some of the others on in the city, but if you’re looking for a quick and tasty lunch or dinner around Wan Chai it’s definitely worth a try! Pair it with the restaurants cooling lemon drink for the perfect antidote to the steamy HK summer.
$60 for a Lemongrass Pork Chop Banh Mi
Sassy Tip: Com Banh Mi offers up meal sets throughout the day. Choose your main (a selection of pho, banh mi and other Vietnamese dishes), and add on a side and a drink for a total of just $80!
Com Banh Mi, 28 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, combanhmi.com
With fresh house baked bread, fillings made every day in-house and a range of classic and contemporary takes on banh mi, new comer Banh Mi Kitchen is up there on our list.
Although the cold cut classic was pretty good, it wasn’t actually our fave of the bunch. That being said, we’d definitely go back for its more modern offerings. If you’re a lover of cha siu, a must try is the Charred Cha Siu banh mi. Marinated overnight for extra flavour, the meat is juicy and flavoursome, working nicely with the pâté and mayo. Banh Mi Kitchen also does a veggie take on the classic with lemongrass and coriander-marinated tofu, so non-meat eaters can also get involved!
$44 to $52 for a variety of fillings. Add on a tea for an extra $5 or a coffee for $12!
Banh Mi Kitchen, Shop 5, Li Yuen East Street, Prosperity Tower, Central, Hong Kong, banhmikitchen.com
The first time we had the Banh Mi Thit – Pork at BEP, it didn’t leave a lasting impression. Usually when you find us at BEP, we’ll be eating the pho or tucking into its set lunch options. For the sake of research, (#diditforsassy) we wanted to give it another try and we ended up being pleasantly surprised. Although we would prefer to see more fresh herbs, the pork and pate combination was full of flavor, and there was just enough mayo to keep things from being dry.
$68 for a Banh Mi Thit – Pork or Beef
Sassy tip: If you are dining with a friend, we suggest one of you order the pho and one of you order the ban mi thit and going halves. That way you can dip the sandwich into the amazing pho broth and really take things to the next (untraditional) level.
BEP Vietnamese Kitchen, Lower Ground Floor, 9 – 11 Staunton St, Soho, Hong Kong
BEP Vietnamese Kitchen, Ground Floor, 88 – 90 Wellington St., Central, Hong Kong, bep.hk