Authentic banh mi joint tucked away in Central’s lanes
If you’re only going to do one thing, do it well. Banh Mi Kitchen, hidden down Li Yuen Street East in Central, is a hole in the wall joint doing just that. Serving up some wham bam banh mi and little else save for Vietnamese coffee and lotus tea, it’s a welcome addition to the slowly growing stable of new eateries, like Vietnamese cohort Pho Bar and R&R Bagels, down Central’s lanes.
BMK is the passion project of Aussie Ryan Ching, a man whose obsession with banh mi began following a three-year stint in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam before moving to Hong Kong. Here, Ching is collaborating with Rise Boulangerie to create the bread used for the sandwich and they deliver the dough to BMK to be baked fresh on site. And it’s bloody top notch. The crust straddles a comfortable sphere somewhere between crispy and chewy, while the inside is airy yet dense enough to hold the fillings.
Fillings are simple: choose your protein, which comes with pickled carrots and daikon, spring onion, cucumber and coriander. If you’re feeling fiery, add some chopped red chilli. We decided to go for a mix of authentic and fusion, so chose the cold cuts banh mi as well as the cha siu variation. The cold cuts vary depending on availability but on our visit we were served three types of Vietnamese sausage – regular, sausage with pig’s ear and sausage with black fungus.
The regular Vietnamese sausage had a smooth pate-like texture, without too much of a gamey punch. The pig’s ear was a little too gristly but the crunchy veg helped round out the texture and the amount of coriander was just enough to dispel any doubts about authenticity. The cha siu banh mi was sweeter but equally satisfying. We washed it down with iced Vietnamese coffee and our heads nodded in agreement at the smooth joe, which was thankfully devoid of the tooth melting sweetness often encountered when sampling this drink.
The bottom line? It might not be the best banh mi I’ve had but it’s by far one of the best and most thoughtful I’ve had in Hong Kong, which puts it up there. BMK are doing it and doing it well.
|Venue name:||Banh Mi Kitchen||Contact:|
22, Li Yuen East Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 10am-7pm|
|Transport:||Central MTR, exit C|