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Mrs. B   

I have just discovered the wonderfulness of Vietnamese subs - Bahn Mi. Oh my goodness! The crunchy vegetables, that perfumed meat, those spicy jalapenos moistend with a slightly sweet, somewhat tangy velvety smooth sauce!!!

 

Had my first (and 2nd & third) from a market-carryout on Georgia Avenue (it has a back entrance from Wheaton Triangle - sorry don't have a name).

 

They sell them for $2 a pop (buy 5 get 1 free) and I am addicted. Their pork belly looks pretty rightous too but we haven't tried it yet. Iwill be back.

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stacylyn   

So, I just discovered Bahn Mi.......YUM! I had one at a tiny grocery/carryout place on Georgia in Wheaton. I have no idea what I ate (I know it had pork in it that was yummy and some kind of chewy thing that I didn't care for much). Where are the best places for Bahn Mi and what should I order?

(I work in Silver Spring.....live in Columbia)

Thanks!

---

[The following posts have been split into separate threads:

Nhu Lan (synaesthesia)
Pho Sai Gon & Grill (synaesthesia)
Saigonese (dwt)
Banh Mi SO 1 (V.H.)

Banh Mi DC Sandwich (DonRocks)]

Edited by DonRocks

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Heather   

Stacylyn, what was the name of the store? I liked Ahn Binh on Georgia Ave (same strip as Dunkin Donuts) but recently discovered it has closed.

I like grilled lemongrass pork, or combination (usually pate & headcheese) with extra pickled veg.

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For other places, I'd suggest doing a search on the term banh mi. The chewy stuff might have been tendon-y sort of stuff if it was a shredded pork.

I feel like it's been covered a lot on the board. Quickie round up:

couple of places in Eden Center (duh!) - Tyler Cowen goes into a little more detail on his site http://www.tylercowensethnicdiningguide.com/vietnamese/

Ba Le - various locations in the area - closest to you is in Rockville

I was told they used to sell them at the assorted Asian foods market (not Maxim/Masim) on University Blvd. and that shut down. I think that places comes up in some searches still... so you can ignore that.

From Ba Le, I've always enjoyed the combination or the chicken. The shredded pork is kinda dry. Make sure you put some sriracha sauce on... yum.

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My two favorites in Eden Center/Falls Church:

» Banh Mi So 1, 6799 Wilson Blvd., #4, Falls Church; 703-534-1950

» Banh Mi DC, 3103 Graham Road, Unit C, Falls Church 703-205-9300

They have the best bread of the ones that I visited. I really like the meatball at So 1, and the sardine at DC. The shrimp sugarcane one is more of a mysterious shrimp/sugarcane sliced loaf. So don't expect to see whole shrimp on top. Roasted BBQ bacon pork is equally deceptive. Hugely disappointing.

Other Eden Center places that have banh mi are Huong Binh and Song Que. Huong Binh convects their's on the spot, which makes for less than optimal bulk purchases, add in sub sandwich bread. Ditto the bread for Song Que.

» Hung Phat, 11315 Fern St., Wheaton, 301-929-0725

Only red-colored roasted pork like you get at Chinese restaurants. More of a spot of last resort. They sit on a baking tray near the register. Advantageous is that it's convenient.

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Unfortunately not. Given that the only real Vietnamese restaurant DC has is Nam Viet. I would say it is generally a challenge to find them even in a regular Vietnamese restaurant. They tend to be a specialized item, with the exception of Ba Le.

Man, if some enterprising chef were to open a stand or even sell them on a regular menu they'd do well. Cheap to make, and easy to improve upon. <hint, hint> I gerry-rig fakes ones at home all the time. It's pretty easy.

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edenman   

Any chance of getting one of these in the DC area, or do I have to make my own?

Or just wait til my foreign service buddy gets settled in his next post in Vietnam?

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Any chance of getting one of these in the DC area, or do I have to make my own?

Or just wait til my foreign service buddy gets settled in his next post in Vietnam?

They sell a version of this, but the skin is not crispy. It's just... skin. Maybe it's a mod job. Stop at Mark's Duck house and get some of their roast pig. Drive down the street to Eden Center, buy a sandwich, and then put the MDH pork inside.

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ojdavies   
Any chance of getting one of these in the DC area, or do I have to make my own?

I'm almost positive I've had a pork skin banh mi at the aforementioned Song Que (Eden Center).

If memory serves me right, it was an acquired taste I'd yet to acquire.

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DonRocks   
I'm almost positive I've had a pork skin banh mi at the aforementioned Song Que (Eden Center).

If memory serves me right, it was an acquired taste I'd yet to acquire.

The hippopotamus is genetically related to the pig.

In Zambia, there's actually a sizeable Vietnamese population, and they do, in fact, serve pork's kin Banh Mi, and yes, I've heard it's an acquired taste.

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Heather   
Any chance of getting one of these in the DC area, or do I have to make my own?

You can get one at the Eden Center, although if you want to make your own I might be able to hook you up with some pig skin...

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jparrott   
Any chance of an edible and filling bahn mi in chinatown, in dc?? :blink:

A "filling" banh mi is a second banh mi.

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DonRocks   

Can't wait for everyone to chime in and expose Banh Mi as the industrial-bread nasty-filling FAD that it is. Not much to like about it, quite honestly, other than the opportunity to immerse yourself - for a brief, fleeting moment - in the snack culture of Vietnamese-Americans. Low, low quality bread, meat, and vegetables - sorry, but that's what it is.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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monavano   
Can't wait for everyone to chime in and expose Banh Mi as the industrial-bread nasty-filling FAD that it is. Not much to like about it, quite honestly, other than the opportunity to immerse yourself - for a brief, fleeting moment - in the snack culture of Vietnamese-Americans. Low, low quality bread, meat, and vegetables - sorry, but that's what it is.

Cheers,

Rocks.

I have been wondering why all the hooha over Banh Mi-don't get it. After all, it's got nothing on the St. Paul sandwich :mellow: (another thing I would not go out of my way for).

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I dunno. The lemongrass versions at Ba Le include some pretty good meat, and are a little bit more expensive. But then they have that submarine bread problem. As for bread the Banh Mi Sandwich DC bread is still better than the bread you get at the grocery store. What makes banh mi a worthwhile pursuit and not a fad, is the combination of flavors and textures. It obviously could be implemented better, but a good idea lies within.

And let's be real, for about $3, what you get is very good. Good luck going into any other sandwich shop and finding anything other than PB&J for that price.

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jparrott   
Can't wait for everyone to chime in and expose Banh Mi as the industrial-bread nasty-filling FAD that it is. Not much to like about it, quite honestly, other than the opportunity to immerse yourself - for a brief, fleeting moment - in the snack culture of Vietnamese-Americans. Low, low quality bread, meat, and vegetables - sorry, but that's what it is.

I believe there is anOther boArd where that is the institutional view :mellow:.

I believe the point is exactly to immerse one's self in the snack culture of Vietnamese-Americans. It's fast food with color and flavor, which makes it doubly as good as Subway.

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goodeats   
Can't wait for everyone to chime in and expose Banh Mi as the industrial-bread nasty-filling FAD that it is. Not much to like about it, quite honestly, other than the opportunity to immerse yourself - for a brief, fleeting moment - in the snack culture of Vietnamese-Americans. Low, low quality bread, meat, and vegetables - sorry, but that's what it is.

Cheers,

Rocks.

On the other hand, so is McDonalds, and this is both cheap and better tasting than McDs. Not a great comparison, but that is the first thing that came to mind.

For DC Chinatown, I heard the Vietnamese place next to Kanlaya has decent Banh Mi. It's on 6th near H.

As for Eden Center, I still prefer Banh Mi So 1 for my banh mi -- very good tasting bread. The pickled vegetables are hit-or-miss depending on the day.

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DonRocks   
Any chance of getting one of these in the DC area, or do I have to make my own?

Or just wait til my foreign service buddy gets settled in his next post in Vietnam?

They sell a version of this, but the skin is not crispy. It's just... skin. Maybe it's a mod job. Stop at Mark's Duck house and get some of their roast pig. Drive down the street to Eden Center, buy a sandwich, and then put the MDH pork inside.

I'm almost positive I've had a pork skin banh mi at the aforementioned Song Que (Eden Center).

If memory serves me right, it was an acquired taste I'd yet to acquire.

I just cross-tasted the Bahn Mi Bi at Nhu Lan ($3.00) and Song Que ($2.50).

The bread on both was standard-issue, industrial-quality baguette, with Nhu Lan's being a bit shorter and fatter (by weight, it was probably the same). Nhu Lan pulls out a bit of bread to spread on far too much "mayonnaise" - an oily, yellow spread that I don't want to know the details of. Song Que used far less spread, theirs having more of an orange tint. The "Bi" itself is a little hash of tiny, shredded, steamed pork meat mixed in with shredded, steamed pork skin, the mild pork skin looking like vermicelli in long, thin strips, and having a texture not unlike tripe or jellyfish. Both sandwiches used shredded strips of turnip and carrot, Song Que's being marinated a bit more in a sugarized vinegar. Song Que opted for some jalapeno, and Nhu Lan went with some cilantro and a bit more sweet onion.

There were slight differences in house style, but the sandwiches were very, very similar. The "winner" in this little taste-off was Song Que, because the sandwich was fifty-cents cheaper, there was ever-so-slightly more pork, and most importantly (and the deciding factor): There was much less of the nasty spread. Interestingly, the cashier at Song Que cautioned me about the Bi, saying that it's an acquired taste, whereas the lady at Nhu Lan didn't even bat an eye - perhaps for every 100 dinexes it takes to get the diner-explorateur to a storefront at Eden Center, it takes 200 more to get them inside the mall?

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Can't wait for everyone to chime in and expose Banh Mi as the industrial-bread nasty-filling FAD that it is. Not much to like about it, quite honestly, other than the opportunity to immerse yourself - for a brief, fleeting moment - in the snack culture of Vietnamese-Americans.

Hmph. Evidence to the contrary from Vietnam. At least in my opinion. This image from my friend who recently visited.

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cjsadler   
Hmph. Evidence to the contrary from Vietnam. At least in my opinion. This image from my friend who recently visited.

Yeah, it's a different story over there. The ingredients are far better, especially the baguettes (which are excellent due to the French occupation).

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Nhu Lan pulls out a bit of bread to spread on far too much "mayonnaise" - an oily, yellow spread that I don't want to know the details of. Song Que used far less spread, theirs having more of an orange tint. The "Bi" itself is a little hash of tiny, shredded, steamed pork meat mixed in with shredded, steamed pork skin, the mild pork skin looking like vermicelli in long, thin strips, and having a texture not unlike tripe or jellyfish. Both sandwiches used shredded strips of turnip and carrot, Song Que's being marinated a bit more in a sugarized vinegar. Song Que opted for some jalapeno, and Nhu Lan went with some cilantro and a bit more sweet onion.

Cheers,

Rocks.

The mayonnaise is nothing but egg yolks beat "butter". I don't know how nasty egg yolk beater is.

Bi is cooked pig skin cut to thin long strips and mix with dried-rice crumbs. There should be no meat there if you only ask for Bi. BTW, Bi is a Chinese word for skin.

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I've been meaning to try banh mi. Where can I find as good a representation as possible in the DC area? Ideally in suburban MD, but I am willing to go where I can get the good stuff.

click

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joycek   

So I finally tried banh mi last week after years of reading mostly rave reviews on the local blogs. I went to Song Que in the Eden Center (in the newly refurbished Huong Que - Four Sisters space). While the prices were appealing, the sandwiches were not so much. I mean - they were okay - but just that. The bread was a definite turnoff, and I'm not a bread lover. I usually see bread as just a vehicle for fillings, but it at least has to be passable, and this didn't quite make that cut. I usually love mayo - especially with frites in a Belgian/French joint - but this was a bit icky, and not too mention too warm.

Would I have banh mi again? Probably. But only because it's so cheap and I happened to be in the area/mood, and I saw aviating porcines above.

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Toogs   

I'm typing while my memory is fresh before I pass out from my gluttony. Went on a culinary tour today, including Eden Center and Cheesetique. Will do Cheesetique later but what a fun little spot. We sampled Ham and Pate, and Pork and Pork Skin @ Song Que. Enjoyed them both immensely, but a little too bready. Shared a Meatball at Nhu Lan, and it was the best. More veg, less bread.

Also recently sampled the pre-made/no choice version at Hung Phat in Wheaton. Nothing wrong with it, but nowhere near as much meat as the Ham and Pate and SQ. I have also been to Ba Le in Rockville and a place a couple of doors down from Chinatown Express by Verizon Center. In order of preference, it goes: everything today as described above, Ba Le, Chinatown, and Hung Phat in distant last place.

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