A new bánh mì (Vietnamese sub) place opened up on Victoria Drive and 38th Ave called Bánh Mì Saigon (Instagram). They bake their own bread! Now it’s not only Tung Hing and Ba Le that bake their own bread. Tung Hing used to be a favourite but they’ve skimped on fillings over the past decade and I was ready for a new bánh mì go-to place. BMS are even closer to my place than TH, and also conveniently on my bus route home, so fingers crossed!
NOTE: these guys have been selling out before they close at 7pm, so be aware!
Banh Mi Saigon are open daily from 7am-7pm. They also have a grand opening special 20% off until May 2! For my virginal visit, I got a #1 (Special aka Dac Biet – $4.50) and a #7 (Meatball aka Xiu Mai – $3.75). You might think this is a bit expensive for banh mi, but I really don’t mind paying a bit more to actually get what I want, without all the cutting corners and bullshit.
Look at that crackly crust on the bread! Vietnamese baguettes are very different from your classic French baguette. They incorporate rice flour, resulting in a thinner and lighter crust. People that try to do a nouveau banh mi using a French baguette just don’t understand banh mi.
This was only my first experience, but I think I like BMS’s bread better than Tung Hing’s! I wonder if the baguettes make that “singing” crackly sound when they take them out of their oven…I’d like to be there when that happens.
All sandwiches include cucumber, pickled radish & carrots, cilantro and jalapenos. The Special contains Vietnamese ham, headcheese, meatball, pork roll (they call it “meat loaf”), pate, homemade mayo, and soy sauce. Soy sauce is ok in banh mi but I prefer Maggi sauce! But since I got it to-go, I could easily add Maggi sauce to my taste 🙂
Special (Banh Mi Dac Biet) on the left and Meatball (Xiu Mai) on the right.
Cross-section view. Sorry for switching positions 😛 it’s Meatball on the left this time, and Special on the right. When we ate it, it felt like a GOOD proportion of meat & filling to bread. Tung Hing has been slipping into skimpy filling territory for me…
The Meatball opened up for your viewing pleasure. It’s a mash-up of French, Vietnamese and Chinese influences. The “xiu mai” is adapted from Chinese siu mai (those pork dim sum dumplings) but the Vietnamese have turned it into a spreadable, loose, ground meat paste. I like how it’s not weirdly pink-coloured here. Those jalapenos weren’t that spicy in this one, but the ones I had in my Special sub were painful! It’s totally random whether those peppers are gonna be spicy or not. But that’s part of the fun 😛
Banh mi and a beer has been a favourite lunch ever since our Los Angeles trip. This time I paired the subs with Brassneck Free Radical White IPA. The first rule of beer pairings is to drink what you like! That said, Belgian tripels (for some mysterious reason) REALLY work well with banh mi. You gotta try it sometime.
We kicked it up even more with with a dash of Maggi sauce. Tung Hing uses Maggi sauce but they’re so stingy with it, I can hardly taste it. It adds this kick that once you try, you can’t live without it. Banh Mi Saigon do a great banh mi but this little customization takes it to another level 😀
Closeup of the Meatball sub with Wicca’s sriracha addition and the housemade mayo just oozing out. She loved BMS’s generous mayo. We might even like the Meatball sub more than the Special!
I saw these Pâté Chaud on their Instagram feed. Another confluence of French and Vietnamese cuisine.
We’re pretty sure the filling is the same meatball (xiu mai) filling from the banh mi. In the flaky pastry it comes off like a Vietnamese take on sausage rolls. Not bad!
Already VERY PLEASED with our banh mi experience. Totally going back to Banh Mi Saigon.
PS. Hey SoftRockin’ Revue, hot peppers in banh mi isn’t strange at all! You had them in your Tung Hing banh mi too! Tung Hing usually asks you if you want chili peppers. Banh Mi Saigon puts them in automatically. 😛
PPS. I gotta say, the people at BMS were much friendlier than other banh mi places in town. So refreshing.