Higher quality sandwich without the sticker shock
On nearly every corner in Saigon you’ll find a street cart selling banh mi, or Vietnamese sandwiches. While these are delicious and cheap, sometimes you might hanker after something similar but of a higher quality. While you’ll find a big jump in prices when visiting most sandwich shops in the city, Le Banh Mi offers a higher quality sandwich without the sticker shock.
Right on the busy, one-way street of Le Thanh Ton, Le Banh Mi looks fairly basic. A small restaurant, tucked into the underside of a bigger building, seating is limited to just three tables which means that if things are busy, you’ll have to cosy up with other patrons. The restaurant is also open-aired, cooled only by a few fans and the shade of its overhang, but its streetside location stays relatively breezy throughout the day and offers a nice view of bustling street life.
If you can get past the tight quarters and lack of air-con, you’ll find one of the fresher, tastier sandwiches in town, which you can watch being prepared in their small kitchen. The menu is simple, offering just a single Vietnamese banh mi-style sandwich with a handful of options.
Every sandwich comes with thinly sliced roasted pork shoulder, pork pate, fresh cilantro, julienned spring onion, sliced cucumber and Dalat chilli served on a soft, crispy baguette. You then get to choose between one of three specialty sauces: the umami, soy and wasabi combination, the Phu Quoc — a garlic and chilli-infused fish sauce — or the Bale, a black peppercorn sauce. Your only other choice is small for 40,000 VND or large for 60,000 VND, then whether or not you want extra meat for an additional 20,000 VND.
Sandwiches are available to go, or if it’s busy and you can’t get a seat but want to sit down, a short taxi ride will take you to sandwich shop Juice, where you can choose from a wider variety of sandwich options and enjoy indoor seating. L’Usine, a tucked away cafe on Dong Khoi, also has a decent collection of tasty sandwiches. If you want cheaper food, a short ride down the very same street will take you to food at the Ben Thanh Market.
By Max Murta
Last updated on 6th July, 2014.