Saigon Bistro: Like the Worst Banh Mi Ever

17 Aug

Saigon Bistro
507 S Weller st (inside the Uwajimaya food court)

I love banh mi; they are one of my top 3 favourite foods. I’d heard that Seattle has great Vietnamese food (and was eager to compare it with Melbourne, which has a thriving Vietnamese community) so I set about finding a great banh mi to replace my beloved Lee Lee’s and Nhu Lan. There’s a standard filling that I always get – I don’t know the official name but it’s basically various pork cold cuts.

The service was fast and friendly. I felt guilty about using my debit card for such a low purchase ($2.85 plus tax I think) so I took a chance and bought two. Worst gamble ever. =(

Well not really, cos I only lost $6 (and gained knowledge!) but you can imagine my disappointment after I had cradled my banh mi on the commute home, eagerly anticipating the shattery crunch of my first bite.

Behold, the worst banh mi in the world.

Texture-wise it was just like regular bread – maybe slightly crunchier than normal, but without that really distinctive banh mi texture. I confess to poking it a few times in disbelief.

And the fillings were so bland!  There was no glorious combination of mayo/lard, pickled vegies, Maggi, chillis, and coriander (here they call it cilantro). I don’t remember there being capsicum (here they call them bell peppers), but I’m looking at the photo and that green thing looks kind of capsicumy. Maybe that’s the cucumber?

Also they really skimped on the fillings – the roll was a lot emptier than every other banh mi I’ve had (and yes, I do realise I’m being all “the food was terrible, and such small portions”) but the stingy fillings really just highlighted how awful the bread was.

It was pretty much a plain salad roll. I guess it was OK for under $3, but I didn’t want a plain salad roll; I wanted a banh mi – the KING of sandwiches. This is what I get for going to a place that doesn’t specialise in banh mi.

(And now imagine me thumping my fist down and looking solemnly into the distance)

Never again.

Saigon Bistro @ Uwajimaya on Urbanspoon


4 Responses to “Saigon Bistro: Like the Worst Banh Mi Ever”

  1. sybaritica August 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Sorry you had such a bad experience. I gather that true Banh mi has rice powder in the bread dough which gives it a unique quality….

    • pamperedhousewife August 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      I think I’ve read something similar. I have a book with a recipe for the rolls but it’s hard to motivate myself when I can just buy them for 50c at Seattle Deli!

  2. Kalo August 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    when i first moved to my new house i wa sexcited to find a local viet bakery that had banh mi :-)… my excitement was unfounded as they too serve the salad sandwich version

    • pamperedhousewife August 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      There’s a whole bunch of places on High st in Preston which is near you! They aren’t as good as the ones in Richmond/Footscray but they’ll do in a pinch.

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