Get Your Banh Mi (Or Two) In Ho Chi Minh City!
You can’t go to Vietnam without at some point trying a banh mi – a French-inspired sandwich on a baguette with a variety of meat and veggie fillings. On our way back from shopping at Saigon Square, we stumbled into the perfect banh mi adventure. Shopping – which at Saigon Square and many other markets in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), basically means a never-ending attempt to distinguish the real Nike and Under Armour gear from the fake – really helped us work up an appetite. So we looked up where to find the best banh mi.
We found what we were looking for in Mark Weins’ post on Migrationology.com, and took off on our way to Banh Mi Hong Hoa, which Mark declared as his favorite. Even better, it was only about a 15 minute walk for us to get there. As we were coming down the block looking for this place, we passed another banh mi shop with a line out the door and down the street (the universal sign of a good meal). Instead of abandoning our quest for Banh Mi Hong Hoa, we just decided we would try both, because why not?
As it turned out, the shop with the line out the door was a place called Banh Mi Huynh Hoa, apparently one of the most famous and sought-after banh mis in HCMC. Mark even wrote about it in his post that we read – or skimmed to be more precise. Due diligence and reading about why someone liked what they liked and why they didn’t like what they didn’t is not part of the process for us when we are as ravenous as we were. However, after we fed ourselves, we did go back and check out Mark’s post to read it in full.
Mark nails it. You can check out his post here. We honestly almost didn’t write this post because Mark’s was so on point, but we also think it’s worth seconding his opinion. Here’s the TLDR of it:
Banh Mi Hong Hoa
- Not famous
- Price for one sandwich: 22,000 VND ($0.96 USD)
- Slightly fluffier bread
- Fresher/more herbal tasting veggies/pickles
- Less meat, but ‘real’ meat instead of ‘deli style’ meat
- Milder tasting pate
- No line (short waiting time)
- Multiple sandwich options and friendly locals ready to give you their recommendations
- Note: We were told the best sandwiches here are the Chicken & Sauce, the Meatloaf, and the BBQ Pork (not the Roast Pork). We had one Chicken & Sauce and one BBQ Pork. Both were EXCELLENT, but if we had to choose one favorite, it would be the Chicken & Sauce. Each was 22,000 VND when we went.
Banh Mi Huynh Hoa
- Price for one sandwich: 38,000 VND ($1.66 USD)
- Slightly crunchier bread
- Sweeter veggies/pickles
- Much more meat, but ‘deli style’ or ‘luncheon style’ meat
- Stronger tasting pate
- Long line (longer wait time, but still very speedy considering the line was down the street)
- Only one type of sandwich is served with an option for mild or spicy
Now, in terms of our favorite, we don’t have one because we each preferred a different shop. It really depends on what you personally like best. Do you prefer fresher tasting veggies playing a larger part in the sandwich, with less strength in the pate and not as much meat? Or do you want a meat and pate dominated sandwich, with more sweetness in the veggies? Price shouldn’t factor into the decision, because the amount of food in each is proportional to its respective price. If you need more food, you can buy two at Banh Mi Hong Hoa for about the same price as one at Banh Mi Huynh Hoa.
The best recommendation we can give you is to go try both! They are literally down the street from one another, less than a minute walking. If you’re not hungry enough, grab a friend, order one from each shop, and go half-and-half. Or if you have an appetite like we did, just eat one of each!