A Little Gem: Banh Mi Sai Gon 西貢法國麵包 (khh)

悲劇! Learning the hard way that it's closed on Wednesdays.
The original location, now bye bye. 囧

Today, I am excited to share with you my latest find, Banh Mi Sai Gon! Yes, the famous vietnamese sandwich, done right, from the bread to the fillings! I’ve had a few other banh mi in Kaohsiung before, but let me tell you, this one blows them all out of the park.

Have you ever tried making your own banh mi at home? If so, then you must already know that scouring all the ingredients can be an adventure on its own, especially if your pantry is not stocked with the Vietnamese basics. And once you’re done with the groceries part, you have to wash and cut the vegetables, marinate the meat and cook it, pickle the ingredients, and finally assemble everything together. Quite a lot of work for a sandwich! So that explains my excitement when I ran into this tiny food stall specializing in Vietnamese sandwiches, and knew from the start that I was on to something good.

First of all, their big pride, the bread, is homemade! A “detail” telling how serious they are about their banh mi, and really, it makes the sandwich that much better. Unlike the same bread everyone else uses which I usually find too heavy, this one is airy inside and crispy outside, it’s light, and provides the correct ratio of bread to inside-filling.

Bang mi goodness in the making.
Banh mi goodness in the making.

This leads me to my second point, what’s inside the sandwich, and also the reason I love banh mi in general. From the colourful appearance to the explosion of taste, all the ingredients are key to make a good banh mi. And at Bang Mi Sai Gon, everything is respected, and in the right proportions so that you can taste the delicious sum while also distinguishing all of its parts. When the pretty ladyboss 老闆娘 starts by smearing sauce on the warm bread, she makes sure it covers all of the white bread surface, the meat is then carefully spread throughout so that no bite goes missing of it, pickled carrots and daikon along with fresh cucumber are then loaded on, followed by slices of chả lụa, sprinkles of fresh cilantro leaves (a must!), a dash of soy sauce (another must!), and if you so wish, finished with the fiery bird’s eye chili or chili sauce depending on the sandwich. I’m kind of OCD when it comes to sandwiches, and frankly, I find not much to criticize here. I could suggest more choices of flavors or a vegetarian (bi chay?) option, but they are just getting started, so let’s be patient.

The bird’s eye chili comes with the original flavor (pork belly) 原味, and is quite powerful, so beware. I usually remove the seeds afterwards, otherwise, I don’t think I’d be able to enjoy the sandwich. As for the pork pepper 鐵板燒, a  milder sweet-and-sour chili sauce is used, and makes for a colorful mix with the pork pepper already packing a little punch.

The real deal! (fb/西貢法國麵包)
The real deal! (fb/西貢法國麵包)

The banh mi comes in two flavors, original (soy-marinated pork) 原味 or pork pepper 鐵板燒, both at 60NT. On the week-end, they also sell chicken curry which comes with a loaf of bread, at 70NT. Vietnamese coffee is also available, iced black or iced milk, at 35NT and 40NT respectively. Bread can also be bought separately at 30NT a pop, and if you buy five you get one free. I’ve had everything, and recommend everything, but the banh mi remains my favorite which should be reassuring since it’s the house speciality.

Current location, behind the train station.
Current location, behind the train station.

The small food stall has relocated north of the Kaohsiung train station to is located at the Sinjhong Night Market 興中夜市,  and I assume that you can use English to order since the ladyboss has apparently spent time in Canada for culinary training. Banh Mi Sai Gon 西貢法國麵包 is just a few weeks old, and I hope they’ll quickly develop a following, because I surely hope to see them sticking around.

How about you? Do you also like banh mi? Know of any other good places in Kaohsiung or anywhere else in Taiwan?

Name: Banh Mi Sai Gon 西貢法國麵包
Website: fb/西貢法國麵包
Price: 60NT
Business hours: everyday 16:00-midnight

(last updated: 2014/03/27 四)


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