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Le Petit Saigon
Photograph: Courtesy Le Petit Saigon

Best banh mi in Hong Kong

There's more to Vietnamese food than pho or bun cha

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Oh, the humble sandwich. Few foods are as versatile as this humble, bready snack. Whether it’s a gourmet Western-style sandwich, a masterful sando, or a comforting grilled cheese, one thing that is universally true is our love for food slapped between two pieces of bread. And with the popularity of Vietnamese food in Hong Kong, we’re honestly surprised that more people aren’t talking about banh mi! Unlike most other sandwiches, they boast a delicate balance of flavours – there’s sweetness from the pickled vegetables, saltiness from the variety of meats, and a refreshing kick from the multitude of herbs. Here are our favourites in the city – many of which offer delivery, so you can savour these amazing sandwiches from the comfort of your own home! By Ethan Lam

RECOMMENDED: Complete your meal with a hot cup of coffee delivered to your door, or let the good times roll with Hong Kong's best cocktail delivery or takeaway.

Best banh mi in Hong Kong

  • Restaurants
  • Kowloon City

Kowloon City is known amongst foodies as the home of the best Southeast Asian foods in Hong Kong, and the banh mis there are thankfully no exception. French Bread is a tiny hole-in-the-wall eatery that you could easily walk by without even noticing, but that would be nothing short of a huge mistake. The shopkeeper’s mother was a longtime banh mi street vendor in Vietnam – a picture of her hangs on the wall – so you’re definitely in good hands here.

The quality of bread is integral to a sandwich – and yet, it is so frequently overlooked in favour of fancy fillings and smatterings of pretentious sauces. But not at French Bread. The baguettes here are phenomenal – they strike the sweet spot between softness and crispiness, being light and delicate on the inside, but toasted to absolute perfection on the outside. You can even buy the baguettes on their own! There's also an option to upgrade to a banh mi so big that it almost resembles a footlong sandwich from Subway.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Sheung Wan

V&D is a joint effort between a husband and wife duo, King and Yulia, who love travelling to Vietnam, going there as much as three times a year. The two decided to open a banh mi store in Hong Kong after a month-long trip, and King even returned to Vietnam just to learn how to create a good baguette! Despite being open for just shy of two years, V&D has proven to be massively popular, as their banh mi  sell out for the day on a regular basis. It’s impossible to go wrong with the classics – pork belly, cold cuts, or even both – but their curry beef ribeye banh mi has also received rave reviews. There are also two banh mis with a slightly bizarre but equally delicious selection of ingredients to choose from, namely the roasted chicken with cheese and the salmon with avocado.

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Le Petit Saigon
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Wan Chai

The sister restaurant of Le Garcon Saigon located right next door, Le Petit Saigon is a great place to pick up a banh mi when you’re in the Wanchai/Admiralty area. Although they do great classic banh mis, what really sets them apart from the rest of the shops on this list – and in fact, any banh mi place in the entire city – is their Bánh Mì du Monde series, which often invites chefs from across the city’s restaurants to design truly unique banh mis inspired by different cuisines. These exclusive banh mis are made available for only a month before they’re gone forever, giving people all the more reason to check them out.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Sheung Wan
  • price 2 of 4

If you’ve ever been around Gough Street over the weekend, you’ve probably seen a bunch of people sitting around outside a shop with a bare concrete exterior. That would be Cô Thành, a well-loved Vietnamese restaurant that is the brainchild of Brian Woo. Woo is an apprentice of Nyguen Thi Thanh, who gained international attention after her Ho Chi Minh food stall was featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. This link quickly made Cô Thành a very popular restaurant in the area, and the effortless cool that the restaurant exudes only makes it all the more enjoyable to eat at. The banh mi here are delectable, delivering a fiery kick that is balanced out by the refreshing sweetness of pickled vegetables and savoury pork charcuterie. Try their bánh mì ốp la, which adds fried eggs to the mix.

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  • Restaurants
  • Jordan

Having been around since at least the early 90s, Tim Kee French Sandwiches is by far the oldest restaurant on this list. They relocated to their current Jordan location in 2004, and have since become a neighbourhood staple. Tim Kee French Sandwiches are completely unconcerned with appearances, something that is refreshing in a restaurant landscape dominated by glitzy cosmopolitan endeavours. The interior is decidedly utilitarian and exactly like that of an unpretentious cha chaan teng, down to the faded aqua blue tiles and fluorescent light tubes.

Just like the decor, Tim Kee French Sandwiches is classic – they’re focused solely on serving up authentic banh mis. Their sandwich fillings contain the usual combination of pork belly, pâté, and deep-fried slices of pork, but they add a genius fourth ingredient to the mix – pig trotters. Something that no other banh mi places in Hong Kong do. And much like French Bread, you can also get supersized banh mis here – and at a price lower than that of some of the regular sized banh mis on this list. That’s lunch and dinner settled then.

  • Restaurants
  • Kwun Tong

This is another banh mi eatery that pays close attention to its bread. Banh Mi Kitchen was opened by Aussie Ryan Ching, who fell in love with the dish while working in Ho Chi Minh city for three years. The compact takeaway place has proven to be so popular since opening that they’ve hopped across the harbour to Kwun Tong. BMK gets their specially made dough from artisanal bakery RISE to be baked fresh on-site, and the results are nothing short of incredible. We liked their cold cut classic banh mi, but their charred char siu banh mi – made from Danish pork that is marinated for 48 hours – is a real head-turner. Pair your choice of banh mi with one of their smooth Vietnamese coffees and you have an instant winner on your hands.

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