Monday, March 1, 2010

Next Vietnamese Question: Where Bahn Mi?

Where are the closest bahn mi -- the spectacular Vietnamese sandwiches that mix a tasty meat with fresh and pickled vegetables?

French bread.  Barbecued pork, lemongrass chicken, pate, or some other savory base.  Topped with cilantro, cucumbers, pickled radish, hot peppers.   These sandwiches were some of my favorite treats when I lived in Northern Virginia.  We stopped at Ba Le in Rockville on the way home from the Container Store, and it made us both crave them again.

Ba Le is a hole in the wall.  It's counter service with sandwiches, pho, and some other basics.  We loved the $2 glasses of young coconut milk, and we split three sandwiches.   Does anyone offer a bahn mi around here?  Any Vietnamese places?  Anywhere else?  The Chinese takeout across from the Columbia Halal Meat in Elkridge advertises bahn mi in its neon sign, but they say that was a former owner.

My plan is a "Bon Fresco bahn mi."  They don't sell bahn mi now, but Bon Fresco and the bahn mi both thrive on great baguettes and high quality ingredients.  The Columbia restaurant just needs to add lemongrass pork or Chinese sausage to the Italian cold cuts that they do so well.  I'll stand in line.  I'll start a Facebook group.  I'll do whatever we need.  Hell, I picked a opening date for the Columbia Wegmans.  Why can't I propose a sandwich for Bon Frescho?  I need bahn mi.

Until I can buy bahn mi, I'm going to try to use some recipes that I found on the local Fat Kinds LIke Ranch blog.  Christy links the the Battle of the Bahn Mi site -- and also to Andrea Nguyen's Viet World Kitchen.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brewers Art has a good Bahn Mi on their menu right now.

Arei said...

It's not HoCo, but a friend and I had Bahn Mi up at Brewers Art in Baltimore. They had a beef based one and a Vegitarian based one. We were not overly impressed, but it's a start.

Kevin said...

YARGH, I have been looking for close banh mi for a while now. I was going to post about it tomorrow, weird. I drove out to Eden center over in Virginia to get one, but just recently heard that Hung Phat grocery in Silver Spring serves banh mi.

theminx said...

Saigon Remembered serves bahn mi at lunchtime during the week. It's merely ok - the bread is all wrong.

BeerGuy said...

The only Banh Mi I've seen so far is at Brewers Art

http://baltimorebeer.blogspot.com/2009/10/brewers-art.html

Megan said...

I'm super excited for this post! My parents were in New York's Chinatown over the weekend visiting my grandma so when they came home, they stopped by my apt to drop off delicious Chinese food and Banh mi as well. I started thinking about where I could get Banh mi back in Hoco...Gotta find a good place here in Baltimore too.

1000yregg said...

sadly- i end up driving all the way to falls church, va for authentic banh mi

Brandon Miller - Milhouse44 said...

Near work @ University & Georgia Ave in Silver Spring @ Hung Phat(giggle, giggle)Grocery. Near Royal Mile Pub. Has anyone ever pulled the trigger on the Aloe Soda?

Trip Klaus said...

How prescient you are Mr. How Chow, suddenly the bahn mi is all the rage with multiple posts on Chowhound and a recipe (although basic) in the Washington Post food section today.

Marco Kathuria said...

I've been dropping by Saigon Deli in Germantown for a while. An array of eight different Banh Mi sandwiches are available, all of which can be customized with extras if you want (I love a fried egg addition to mine!). http://www.phohouse.net/

In the same mall is an excellent Persian restaurant, "Johnny' Kabob" (an old review is here http://www.gazette.net/stories/08062008/enteres165114_32464.shtml). Really delicious and authentic dishes, great service and the price is right.

icolithic said...

Wheaton used to have a Vietnamese grocer that sold sandwiches, but they've been closed for some time now. A new Pho place in China-block DC just opened, and a deli is in the works beneath it ... so I'm crossing my fingers that it too is Vietnamese.

Maryland McKennas said...

Hung Phat in Silver Spring/Wheaton only sells bahn mi during the weekends. It is the closest place to HoCo with the most authentic version, but they only make one variety, the original. Have to give Brewers Art a try. Need a Vietnamese deli like the ones in Eden Center in VA which also carry fresh fruit with salt and crushed chili peppers to dip the fruit along with some awesome Vietnamese desserts. I stocked up on all of these whenever I go there.

Bigfoodie said...

Any updates on Bahn Mi in the Columbia area? I am new to the area, and love the blog! Also looking for some good Bahn Mi.

Favorite item in the area so far... MOMO at Gateway!

Thanks!

HowChow said...

@GidFoodie -- Still no bahn mi!! We need one.

Lulu V said...

Cafe Au Lait in Ellicott City has AMAZING banh mi! I'm so glad they have this in the HoCo area. My favorite is the Char Siu (Pork) banh mi. Whenever I have a huge banh mi craving, this is the place to go :)

Cafe Au Lait's Yelp Page