The round-up: bite into some of Brisbane’s best banh mi
When it comes to sandwiches, we are connoisseurs. As long as there’s bread and some kind of filling, we’re interested. No sandwich gets us as excited as banh mi, though, and we’d hazard a guess we’re not the only ones. In an age where people are pushing the boundaries of food fusion, banh mi is an established and culturally rich blend. The meeting of French and Vietnamese cuisines has resulted in what could be the best sandwich in the world, and when you get a glimpse of the crusty baguette filled to bursting point with scrumptious ingredients you’d be hard-pressed to disagree. Brisbane’s got a booming banh mi scene. Want proof? Check out this list and see what all of the fuss is about.
Banh Mi Factory, Newstead and Zillmere: This market-born Vietnamese street-food concept went legit in December 2019, snagging tastebuds of northside locals with its first bricks-and-mortar dispensary in Zillmere. Since then it’s expanded again, opening a handy grab-and-go dispensary in Newstead’s fringe. At lunch it’s not uncommon to see folks lining up for a bite of one of Banh Mi Factory’s signature rolls, which sees a beautifully soft and flaky Viet-style French baguette stuffed with a choice of chargrilled lemongrass chicken, beef, pork or tofu, as well as pickled carrots, daikon and a smear of house-made pate and mayo.
Kim Thanh Hot Bread, West End: This humble (and iconic) West End bakery is known to locals as the best spot in the suburb to get a banh mi fix. All of the classic flavours are available, from grilled pork and tamarind chicken to tofu and beyond. Spice lovers can opt for a hearty sprinkling of chilli, giving your banh mi an extra kick in the flavour stakes.
Scotts Road Vietnamese Pork Rolls, Darra: A legend on the banh mi scene, this trusty suburban deli in the heart of Darra is often hailed as the best spot in town for a brilliant and authentic banh mi. The Vietnamese rolls come in a range of interesting combinations, from the classic pork or chicken rolls to the roast pork and gravy, Vietnamese roast pork and the intriguing ‘special’ roll.
Minh Tan Bakery, Inala: In the heart of Inala is a charming Vietnamese bakery that is known for producing some of the best banh mi sandwiches around. Freshly toasted baguettes are lovingly lathered in butter and pate before being stuffed to the brim with your choice of pork, pork mince, chicken, pork loaf or a combination of the lot. Banh mi don’t get more bang-on than the ones here!
My Street Food, Woolloongabba: Woolloongabba street-food seekers flock to My Street Food at lunchtime to get a taste of its incredible range of eats. The perfect choice for the time poor is a banh mi, which can be easily consumed on the move. In addition to the traditional pork roll, patrons are spoiled for choice with the likes of flame-grilled pork patty rolls, triple pork, lemongrass pork and spicy lemongrass chicken. It’s okay – you can order two, we won’t judge.
An Cafe, Kangaroo Point: This Vietnamese eatery started from humble beginnings, first cultivating a following as a market stall before blossoming into a bona fide banh mi star. While, yes, there are plenty of Vietnamese delicacies on the menu, the rolls are what we’re focusing on here. An Cafe’s traditional pork roll comes with chicken liver pate, pork terrine, soy sauce and vegetables, the grilled pork roll is stuffed with protein (marinated overnight) soy sauce, mayo, cucumber, pickle carrot and coriander, while the lemongrass beef roll boasts wok-tossed beef and all the accoutrements.
Cafe O-Mai, Annerley: Banh mi for breakfast? Don’t mind if we do! Cafe O-Mai in Annerley brings a Vietnamese spin to Australian cafe culture, plating up brunch bites with a twist. The all-day banh mi selection can be filled with the likes of bacon and egg, house made crackling pork, chargrilled tamarind chicken, pulled beef-brisket, barbecue pork, omelette or tofu.
Banh Mi Now, Brisbane City: This specialty shop in the heart of The City hawks fresh and affordable Vietnamese sandwiches for those on the go, which is great news for time-poor workers looking for a bite on their lunch break. The menu boasts four permanent filling choices to select from – crackling pork belly, grilled chicken, traditional pork rolls or a vegan-friendly lemongrass and chilli soy nugget roll, with meaty options coming with chicken liver pate, mayonnaise, lightly pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber and coriander.
Central Brunswick Bakery, Fortitude Valley: Another great spot for bites on the move, this bakery – tucked away along Brunswick Street – has a host of ready-made options to choose from. All of the classic options – pork, barbecue pork, lemongrass chicken and meatball – are available. If you ask us, there’s no wrong choice.
Mister Bui, Nundah: When a banh mi craving strikes, droves of northside locals roll on over to Mister Bui for a munch. This Vietnamese kitchen has an array of outstanding rolls to choose from, including its breakfast banh mi (filled with bacon and eggs, meatball and eggs or an omelette) and regular varieties like crispy or traditional pork, lemongrass pork, teriyaki chicken, Vietnamese meatballs and teriyaki tofu.
Kiki, South Brisbane: While Fish Lane superstar Southside is known for its Chinese-centric cuisine, its sibling dispensary Kiki makes banh mi its daytime specialty. Southside’s kitchen team has given the dish a bougie upgrade, dishing up a breakfast baguette (stuffed with Laos sausage, egg and Viet salad) before moving to the lunch baguette (cured pork, pate and Viet salad) and the vege baguette (grilled eggplant, garlic and salad).
Mrs Luu’s, various locations: With numerous locations around town, Mrs Luu’s is one of the most reliable locations to get your hands around a crusty Viet-style French baguette. If you are into variety, Mrs Luu’s offers six banh mi baguettes to sample. Not only have you got the option of chicken or beef, but Mrs Luu’s ups the ante with omelette, tofu and pork chop banh mi, as well as a seriously impressive Three Little Piggies baguette, filled with Viet porchetta, BBQ pork, and Viet ham. You can find Mrs Luu’s in South Bank, Bowen Hills, Milton and the Brisbane CBD.
District 1, Fortitude Valley: The Ann Street-end of Chinatown Mall in The Valley is where you’ll find District 1 – a Vietnamese street-food eatery that should be at the top of your hit list when you need banh mi in your belly. All baguettes are served with liver pate, traditional Vietnamese butter, cucumber, house made pickled carrot and then filled up with your selection of slow-roasted pork belly, pork and water chestnut meatballs, lemongrass sirloin beef or sauteed mushroom and caramelised onion.
Know of a dynamo banh mi spot that we’ve missed? Let us know! Send an email with your recommendation to [email protected].
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