What’s packed with flavor, can be eaten on the go, is made fresh right before your eyes and only costs $2.50… did I mention that it comes on a delicious French baguette?
That’s right, a banh mi from Banh Mi Nguyen Huong Food Co.!
When it comes to the wonderful hybrid of the French and Vietnamese sandwich that’s packed with an array of meat and veggie fillings such as, BBQ pork, Vietnamese luncheon meats, shredded pork skin, lemongrass sausage, meatballs, or marinated tofu and then loaded with shredded daikon, carrots, cucumber, cilantro and spicy chili peppers (if you like spice), Banh Mi Nguyen Huong Food Co., has been a Chinatown institution since 1986.Don’t expect to sit inside to eat your banh mi, this is a grab and go kind of place where the ladies behind the counter are swift and masterful in the art of sandwich making. The small banh are $2.50, the large $3, and the premium $4. For lunch the small was just right for me. I ordered the lemongrass sausage, extra spicy, and the kind lady behind the counter made it as I watched. She stuffed the bread with an array of julienned vegetables, cilantro, and extra spice, then topped it off with the lemongrass sausage, and wrapped it in the signature Banh Mi Nguyen Huong paper and rang me up in less than 5 minutes. Did I mention this hand-made sandwich cost less than my daily cuppa coffee!?It was basically love at first bite. The veggies were delightfully pickled and crunchy-fresh and what I was most happy about was that it was actually spicy. It’s so irritating when you specifically ask for spicy and then… wait a minute… no spice!? Here, I got the spice that I had asked for. The French baguette is soft on the inside and perfectly browned and crusty on the outside, but watch out, it can tear up the roof of your mouth!
They also have a refrigerated case filled with pre-packaged takeout items including vermicelli, summer rolls, rice, sausages and some sweets like banana cake. They’ll even sell you a French baguette for a quarter if you ask.
An interesting “did you know that” fact: The brothers who own Banh Mi Boys, are the sons of the couple who opened this original banh mi joint. So it’s kind of like an evolution of banh mi, from traditional to new and modern.I thoroughly enjoyed eating my banh mi as I strolled through Kensington market, dropping crumbs along my way –– Banh Mi Nguyen Huong Food Co. is a nguyen-nguyen kind of place!