There’s a special spot in sandwich heaven reserved for Vietnamese bánh mì. Between the crunch of airy, fresh baguettes, the acidity of pickled carrots and daikon, and richness of pâté and mayo, even the most average versions are still pretty delicious. But why settle for average when NYC has some fantastic options. From a brisket bánh mi in Bushwick, to a meatball bánh mi in Sunset Park, these are the 10 best bánh mì in New York City.
Grab the #1 from Thanh Da, and the baguette begins to shed crumbs like a golden retriever in springtime. It’s a mostly soft bun that soaks up equal parts pâté and vinegar from the pickled vegetables. There’s more chả lụa on this bánh mì than on most others, and the thick patty-like pork roll is cut by the crumbled barbecue pork on top. Like Pharrell listening to Maggie Rogers for the first time, we have absolutely no notes on how the bánh mì at this Sunset Park spot could be improved.
If you’re looking for a bánh mì with ham and pâté or sardines or crumbled pork, Lucy’s isn’t the place for you. If you’re looking for arguably the most delicious bánh mì in NYC, you should head to this Bushwick Vietnamese spot as soon as possible, and order the brisket bánh mì. It’s packed with bites and longer strips of 14-hour smoked brisket that’s covered in a shield of peppery, smoky bark. Where the juiciness of the meat ends and the hoisin sauce, sriracha, and house made garlic aioli begin is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t matter. The takeaway is the same - it’s absolutely delicious.
The #4 from Banh Mì Saigon in Chinatown is the ideal of bánh mì engineering. The outer edge of the untoasted baguette cracks like a delicate glass, and the squishy portion beneath absorbs a layer of pâté. Above that are four distinct slices of chả lụa (pork roll), big chunks of crunchy cucumber, pickled carrots, and jalapeños if you ask for it spicy. Each component would border on too rich, vinegary, or spicy on its own, but they’re all portioned and organized in a way that makes for a nearly ideal sandwich.
Take one look at the bánh mì thịt nguội from Ba Xuyen, and you’ll feel some things. Of course, there will be anticipation. How could there not be with layers of pâté, ham, head cheese, pork roll, and pork teriyaki, all dripping with globs of mayo? And there may be a bit of apprehension as you wonder how all of these different meat products could possibly work together. And then take a bite, and you’ll experience something else - joy, which is only intensified by the fact that this mass of delicious, expertly organized ingredients only costs $5.50.
Perhaps the porkiest bánh mì on this list, the one from Bunker in Bushwick may also be the best sandwich in NYC. Between the Vietnamese pork loaf, roast pork, sausage, grilled bacon, and pâté, this sandwich has an incredible amount of concentrated pork flavor. If you’re on the fence, then the buttered, crunchy baguette and mass of fresh herbs will still convince you it’s really damn good.
It’s difficult to point to any one thing that makes the #1 our favorite bánh mìat this small storefront in the East Village. It could be the slightly pressed bread that holds all of the ingredients in place, and makes each delicious bite the same as the last. It could also be the rich, grainy pâté that’d steal the spotlight at any dinner party as an hors d’oeuvre. Or, it could be the fact that the chà bông (meat floss), adds a layer of porky chewiness to balance the crunch of all of the vegetables. More likely than not, it’s a combination of all three.
You can tell Summer’s classic bánh mì is near textbook perfection because it’s impossible to eat without leaving a trail of flaky breadcrumbs. Beyond the quality of the roll, each bite of crumbled, caramelized pork perfectly balances the buttery chả lụa, cold cucumbers, vinegary carrots and daikon, and tassels of cilantro. This is our favorite bánh mì in Elmhurst.
While Nick Offerman and your dog may disagree, giant plates of meat might not sound the most appealing in the middle of the day, especially in the case of Bricolage’s “unshaking beef,” a delicious but rich $36 slab of ribeye covered in lime-black pepper sauce. Fortunately, you can still try the juicy, rare, perfectly seared cut of steak in bánh mì form. Along with shallot aioli on a thin baguette, the sandwich is packed with mint, cilantro, and other refreshing ingredients.
The menu at this fantastic Lower East Side restaurant changes about as often as you change your outerwear, so make sure to check their daily offerings on Instagram if you have your heart set on trying their bánh mì with grilled pork. Our favorite thing about this bánh mì is that the heat from the sweet, marinated grilled pork melts the pate on the bottom of the sandwich into a nice spread. If they don’t have the bánh mì thịt nướng, try one of Saigon Social’s other sandwiches like a bánh mì burger or a fried chicken sandwich with spicy lime leaf aoli.
You could play pin the tail on the donkey with the 150+ dish menu at Thai Son, and feel confident you’re going to get something you’ll think about the whole walk home. Or you could choose the grilled pork bánh mì, and feel confident you’re going to get something that you’ll think about until you make it back to the outdoor patio at this Vietnamese spot in Chinatown. The vegetables are perfectly proportioned, and the pâté is evenly distributed on all parts of the crunchy bread, but this sandwich is all about the pork. It’s essentially a thin, perfectly seasoned pork chop that sweats grease when you press down on the baguette.