Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches are a quick, inexpensive meal that relies on the quality of a few ingredients: lightly pickled vegetables, grilled or roasted meats, pâté, and shatteringly crisp French rolls. With its large Vietnamese community, San Jose, California—capital of Silicon Valley—is a prime banh mi destination, where the sandwich quality is high, prices are low, and the competition is fierce. Here, in alphabetical order, are the top picks on Chowhound:
98 East San Salvador Street, San Jose
Chowhounds agree that this Downtown spot is quick, cheap, and tasty.
5. PHAT TRI
1210 Story Road, San Jose
Phat Tri's bread, made in house, perks up well when reheated, and the crisp crust giving way to a flaky interior sets it apart from many competitors. The coarse-ground pate here is of an especially good quality and reveals a skilled hand with seasoning.
6. SAIGON'S BAKERY
953 McLaughlin Avenue, San Jose
It's buy two, get one free at this long-time banh mi favorite (sandwiches pictured above), a California mini chain, but the bread can be on the dry side if it isn't fresh.
7. THANH HUONG
2050 North Capitol Avenue, San Jose
The hits here are the moist, flavorful siu mai and the savory Vietnamese "butter" spread.
8. THIEN HUONG SANDWICHES & BAKERY
1181 Story Road, San Jose
This banh mi shop bakes its own bread; the hefty sandwiches are a good value, and of the 10 filling options, the barbecue chicken is seasoned perfectly.
Banh mi photo from Saigon's Bakery courtesy of GastronomyBlog.com
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