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Hawaii Banh Mi

Insomnia Cafe in banh mi! (also a Nikki Cafe shout out)


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Restaurants & Bars 6

Insomnia Cafe in banh mi! (also a Nikki Cafe shout out)

fatstern | Dec 20, 2012 04:09 PM

hey all - just a little tip for lunch next time you're in kakaako....around the corner from the Whole Ox on Auahi St is a little coffee/lunch spot thats been there for years, run by the sweetest Vietnamese couple (they crack me up!). Their lemongrass chicken "french sandwich" is the best bahn mi i've had in town, and currently my favorite sandwich on this island. The chicken is wonderfully seasoned, tender chunks of chicken thigh, served with thicker cut do chua (carrot/daikon pickles), few slices tomato and the perfect amount of cilantro...a little mayo on the requisite crunchy french roll and you've got yourself a perfectly balanced flavorful bahn mi. i like to add a little of the chili garlic paste they have behind the counter....for 6 bucks, cant beat the flavor, and they usually throw in a piece of fruit. I eat one a week and it just doesnt get old. If its a busy day in there you may have to wait a few (everything is made fresh)...I cant vouch for other things on their menu bc i'm obsessed with the sanwich, but Yelpers also seem to enjoy their mongolian beef, boneless pork chops, lemongrass chicken plate, pho, etc....If you feel like going to whole ox for lunch with some coworkers, one of you should wander around the corner and grab this sandwich to compare to the whole ox offerings (which i enjoy): i bet this bahn mi wins.

i also enjoy the bahn mi at Nikki Cafe off Kapahulu...homemade char siu on their signature sammy, but their pork meatball bahn mi is what really does it for me. they use a thinner cut of do chua at nikki's, and i that's the one area that these sandwiches can improve on, IMO...i dont get as much pickle flavor as i'd like. Additionally, their lemon beef and jackfruit salads are fantastic, though will require a few people to knock out...also their jicama and summer rolls are quite nice. this place is run by a couple super sweet sisters, always swell to interact with them.

anyone else have any suggestions for excellent bahn mi? i should say, i never cease to be totally underwhelmed by the bahn mi at every Ba Le i visit. they're do chua is too sweet for me, and the sandwiches tend to be on the skimpy side with average tasting ingredients. that being said, i know theres several of them on island and perhaps some are better than others. i have, however, had a couple pretty good ones at BaLe's La Tour cafe on Nimitz (pork belly, mmmmmm)

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