Thursday afternoon in Bangkok, a couple of blocks from the EM District Mall, the sky turns from blue to greyish, although the sun still beats down. The monsoon is almost upon us, as we make our way to Banh Mi Bo, a nondescript Banh Mi joint housed in an open 3 floor building which also houses a couple of other eateries, offices, dessert shops, beauty clinics and a common eating area with a couple of tables, where everyone brings their food and drink to chow down. You can smell the aromas of chilies mixed with freshly brewed coffee, wafting through the air, while the sounds of sizzling frying pans make you want to order everything in sight. The Banh Mi arrives. The wait is worth it.
The trek to Banh Mi Bo is largely undertaken because my boyfriend googled “Banh mi in Bangkok”. This showed up first in the search results, so we hopped on a train to eat the best sandwich I’ve ever had in my whole life. Afterwards, my boyfriend took me to the nearby Tiffany’s to buy me an engagement ring. NBD.
Banh Mi, commonly know to the world as a Vietnamese sandwich, has its own unique history. Banh Mi in Vietnamese basically refers to all kinds of bread. Banh is bread and Mi is wheat. But the term Banh Mi is also used to refer to meat-filled Vietnamese sandwiches. Bread, more specifically the French style baguette, was first introduced to Vietnam during the French colonization. The Vietnamese version of the baguette, unlike the French, is made with both wheat and rice flour, and is usually smaller and airier, with a thinner crust. The thin crust is what makes the baguette crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, which in turn gives a whole new dimension to the sandwich.
The typical fillings are crispy pork, chicken, or even beef. Vegetarians get tofu. A spreadable pate. An optional but very necessary addition: a fried egg. Further accompanied by carrots and cucumbers sour and tangy; pickled in vinegar, and a heap of fresh cilantro leaves. A drizzle of soy. Some sharp red bird’s eye chili. Finished off with sriracha or any variation of hot sauce.
The most important part of the Banh Mi is the bread. If you cant get the bread right, then it’s just a sandwich masquerading as a banh mi. Imposter Banh Mi, that’s what I had eaten in Indian-Vietnamese restaurants so far. The Banh Mi bread is quite life changing.
Banh Mi Bo is run by the cute, award-winning, couple, Bo and Richie. Richie is Australian-Vietnamese and Bo is Thai, so you can be sure the flavors are spot on. They were awarded “Best Entrepreneurial Team” for Entrepreneur Now Awards 2015. They both experimented for a while till they learnt how to bake the perfect Banh Mi baguette. The baguettes are baked fresh every morning. They’re definitely sold out by 6pm almost every day.
You should also order the perfect Vietnamese cold coffee or three-layer coconut cream drink with your Banh Mi. And Vietnamese pork spring rolls for extra 5 Baht. Because why not?
Banh mi cost upwards of 120 Baht (240 INR). They also pack it perfectly, with the wet ingredients separate so you can bring it on a plane to your country! Banh Mi Bo is located at Ellsie Boutique Mall, Sukhumvit Soi 33/1. The BTS station is Phrom Pong. They’re open from 11 am to 7 pm and closed on Monday.? You should follow them on Facebook and Instagram. They’re all about yummy food and travel!
The other amazing thing I ate in Bangkok was also French. You can read about it here.
Have you had Banh Mi before? Are you tempted to try it? I would love to know. ❤️
Banh mi photos by me, rest from Banh Mi Bo’s Instagram.