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The nine best bánh mì restaurants in NYC

The bánh mì sandwich, Vietnam’s most famous food export and longtime staple of college students, hits its stride in NYC

Photograph: Courtesy Falansai

The traditional components of the bánh mì sandwich may be straightforward—pickled carrots or cucumbers, daikon, savory pork and a slick of mayo—but New York’s best Vietnamese food spots do more than just serve a gussied-up hero. From Chelsea to Chinatown, these standout sandwich shops excel at everything from the classic to the crazy.

RECOMMENDED: Find more of the best restaurants in NYC

Best bánh mì restaurants in NYC

An Choi

When a hole-in-the-wall just won’t cut it, bánh mì lovers head to this buzzy box on the Lower East Side. Brothers and owners Tuan and Huy Bui serve eight different variations of the sandwich, including a house-made five-spice garlic pork belly and a satisfyingly meaty vegetarian option with crispy tofu and sweet chili sauce.

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Lower East Side

Bánh Mì Saigon

Known to its fans as “the jewelry-store one,” the tiny Chinatown takeout operation does indeed share space with an accessories counter. Regardless, the cheap prices, succulent pork preparations and crispy-chewy bread that’s baked in-house make it easy to overlook the odd location.

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Little Italy

Ba Xuyen

Long considered the grande dame of Brooklyn’s bánh mì shops, everything from the creamy, garlicky mayo to the decadent pate is addictive. Meat options include the requisite pork, but for the adventurous type, there’s also turkey breast, tuna and even sardine. Regulars know to leave room for an avocado shake for dessert.

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Sunset Park

Co Ba

While paying homage to the market food stands of Vietnam, this Chelsea stalwart is also not afraid to veer from tradition. The ubiquitous chicken liver pate is tasty, but you should also try more innovative combinations, like caramelized pork belly braised in coconut juice. Pro order: The pho-and-sandwich combination is a meat lover’s fantasy.

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Chelsea

Falansai

This sleek spot serves classic Vietnamese fare during dinner hours, but come during lunch to try one of their three traditional bánh mì preparations. Diners choose between pork, chicken and tofu, each loaded with pickled veggies and a smear of house-made aioli for the meats, or garlic, shallot and lemongrass for the tofu.

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Williamsburg

Lucy's Vietnamese Kitchen

The new kid on the block, this Bushwick joint has nods to fusion as well as traditional touches like its garlic aioli. But the real star of the menu is the brisket in the sandwich, which is smoked for 16 hours, sautéed in pho broth and covered with fresh bread delivered from East Williamsburg.

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Bushwick

Num Pang Sandwich Shop

While this Cambodian-influenced shop doesn’t serve traditional bánh mì, their innovative takes on everything from hoisin meatballs to barbecue brisket earn them a place on this list. Keep an eye out for collaborations with star chefs: In the recent past, the chainlet has worked with the likes of Mario Batali and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

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Greenwich Village

Sau Voi

Located inside what must be New York’s largest Vietnamese music emporium, you’ll find the miniscule sandwich post right next to…the cigarette counter. Regardless, the classic Dac Biet, made with ham, pate or slices of pork roll, is phenomenal, and the charming “Vietnamese aunties” who construct them win almost as much praise.

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Chinatown

Thanh Da

Hidden deep in Sunset Park’s Chinatown, the sandwiches here are slathered with an addictive house-spiced mayo and maintain a nearly perfect ratio of meat to veggies. Porcine lovers should snag a Banh Mi Bi, stuffed with ham, pork roll and pork belly. Wash it all down with their Vietnamese iced coffee—it’s worth visiting for that alone.

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Sunset Park

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