Buddha Girl and I have a favorite banh-mi shop, unfortunately, it's in Portland. Nothing else in Vancouver really compares to Best Baguette in terms of the bun and filling (quality and quantity, ratio and taste). When Buddha Girl's colleague raved about a banh-mi joint in our neighborhood, we knew we had to give it a try.
We walked in the mid afternoon and the business was brisk. This place must get quite busy, we can tell by all the bread crumbs left uncleaned on tables and floor. We wanted to eat-in, but the dirtiness was turn off.
We ordered two sandwiches and two cups of Sugar Cane Juice. The juice was pressed-to-order. Unfortunately, the quality of the sugarcane was not the greatest. The juice was gritty and lacked that unique sweet fragrance. Buddha Girl said the sugarcane looked dry and old. The drink was muted by the lack of freshness and the sweetness was quite dull.
The Vietnamese Bacon Banh Mi (aka. Saigon Bacon at Best Baguette) had a filling of pork belly and Vietnamese ham. The mediocre bun was not well balanced as it was dense with a dry crust that wasn't crisp. The filling was quite the let down. As I watched how my sandwich was prepared, I saw thin slices of cold "bacon" being microwaved then placed in the bun...not impressed.
As I bite into the sub, the "bacon" was still cold and was not soft nor rich with fat oozing into the bun. I, literally, had a mouthful of cold fat. This was a miserable sandwich.
The house special, known commonly as Dac Biet Banh Mi, was not that bad in taste, even with a mediocre bun. The sandwich had the common basic fillings of pickled daikon/carrots, cilantro, cucumber, cold cuts and meat paste (loaf). But I noticed there's one additional item, meatball, which gave the whole package a fatty and salty kick. While the flavor of this sub was good, it was nothing extraordinary.
With its higher than usual prices, this place does not offer good bang for the buck. Unless you like dense baguettes, otherwise, stick with Tung Hing Bakery 同慶餅家. Simply put, Banh Mi Saigon is overrated and overpriced.
Banh Mi Saigon 西貢麵包
5397 Victoria Dr, Vancouver, BC V5P 3V6