Banh Mi Huynh Hoa Surprised My Basic Palate

by Nov 6, 2017

“I’m so hungry! I’m HANGRY!”
“Let’s go to that place Van pointed out.”

Banh Mi Huynh Hoa tl;dr

  • Tasty Fresh Made Banh Mi
  • Surprisingly Healthy Tasting
  • Highly Recommended

Allow me to preface with the declaration that I love grilled pork banh mi. And when I say I love grilled pork banh mi, I mean to say, I LOVE GRILLED PORK BANH MI. Reports of vermin at my hometown favorite banh mi shop will not deter me from eating their banh mi…. Ok, maybe not the day of that report but I will eventually go back to eat their banh mi. So I was surprised by Saigon’s Banh Mi Huynh Hoa. To be fair, it has nothing to do with the vendor itself but more with banh mi in general in Vietnam; it’s too authentic for me.

During our tour with Van, we asked her where we should eat some banh mi. She had pointed Banh Mi Huynh Hoa and a couple other places but we decided to go here on our last full day in Saigon. I’m glad we did for the experience and to say that I’ve had an honest to gawd Saigon banh mi.

Nadia in Line at Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa Saigon

Fresh Crusty Bread

If anyone says that the bread is not important, they are not only doing you a disservice, they are also doing a disservice to all everyone. Bread is crucial to get the right everything. I mean, you could have everything else right, but without the bread you’d just have a meaty salad or something like that. That fresh bread keeps that salad together transforming it from a simple bowl of Vietnamese greens to banh mi… plus the meat, sauce and other things.

Freash Bread for Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa Saigon

The Other Stuff

There’s so much going on behind the Banh Mi Huynh Hoa glass that I don’t even know where to begin. Well, I guess the first thing you have to do is somehow get inside to the counter to find someone who will take your order. Keep in mind that there’s usually a steady stream of people pulling up on scooters, coming in, ordering and then leaving. So make sure you got your shoes laced up tight and your game face on because ordering banh mi is not for the timid.

After somehow telling them that you want a banh mi, I realized I have no idea what I got inside my banh mi. Sure there’s green things and a lot of meats and sauce with pickled vegetables, and cilantro but I would be hard pressed to name anything else.

Freshly Made Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa Saigon

The Banh Mi

Saigon banh mi is a tasty banh mi. It’s a fresh banh mi. It’s a clean tasting banh mi. It’s even tastes healthier than what I’m used to. Sure the options are a touch more limited than the multitude available back in California that is what I would imagine be attributed to availability.

As with all the good things that have going for it, I’m sad to say that I didn’t like it as much as the banh mi that I have had home. I’m glad that I was fortunate to experience it. And maybe I’d like it if it was prepared differently but as it was served to me, I felt bad for not liking it more. I really wanted to like it more. I probably should have invested more time in understanding how and what I was ordering. It is more than likely that they had a grilled option that I’m more familiar with but didn’t know how to order it.

Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa Saigon

Foolish Expectations

My experience at Banh Mi Huynh Hoa is something I will chalk it up to buyer’s bias. Honestly, I fell in love with the grilled pork version of this sandwich available back in my hometown. And I was looking for that which in was sheer folly in every respect on my part. I should have known better. I do know better. And despite all of that I sought it out and tried it.

While enjoying it, sadly I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have hoped. And I’m sure as hell that the countless number that patronize this shop for their sandwiches would vehemently disagree with me, as is their right. I only hope to go back one day and try it again; ideally go with someone who knows what they are doing. Maybe there’s a grilled pork option?

You're going to eat, you might as well eat something tasty.
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