I still find it hard to believe that I can get a better banh mi sandwich in Minneapolis than I can in Tokyo. I was on a mad hunt about eight years ago in Tokyo for banh mi and then gave up after making special trips throughout the city only to be disappointed. I moved back to New York City for a short while and became addicted to banh mi. There was a shop in Chinatown near the French Culinary Institute that I would visit almost once a week, sometimes more often.
Some food colleagues here in Tokyo put this shop in Koenji on my radar. Binh Minh is the sister shop of Chopsticks which is located inside a small market near Koenji’s North Exit. I stopped by today at 11:45 a.m. surprised to see the chairs still on the tables. There was a guy in the kitchen, and I asked him if he served banh mi. He said he does, but that he doesn’t open until noon. A little late for Tokyo as most restaurants open at 11 a.m. for lunch, maybe 11:30 a.m. at the latest.
There were two options, sausage or grilled pork. I asked him about the sausage, but he advised me that the grilled pork was more delicious, and so it was decided. At noon the clock started to chime and I looked at my new friend and he said he was now open. I ordered the grilled pork banh mi, a bargain in Tokyo at only 500 JPY.
I did love the bread, a softer baguette that seemed to be toasted. There was a generous serving of fresh cilantro, which was refreshing. But, overall, it wasn’t as good as what I am accustomed to. But, I did want to put this on Food Sake Tokyo’s blog as it is the best banh mi that I have had so far in the city. I won’t make a special trip for the sandwich, but would stop by if I am in the neighborhood.
Until then, if anyone has suggestions, please do let me know! There is another shop in the city I need to check out near Takadanobaba.
Suginami-ku, Koenji-Kita 3-22-8 Dai-Ichi Ichiba
Note, the shop opens at noon. Holidays on Tuesdays.
5 Comments Add yours
Surprised that there aren’t more good banh mi places in Tokyo… There are some great ones in Sydney for when you stop by!! 🙂
Would love to out dining with you in Sydney. Someday! But, hoping you’ll be back to Tokyo before then.
I’m in DC area and feel the same way! I guess I’ve been spoiled having lee’s sandwiches and so many other places nearby living in California.
The Takadanobaba shop is definitely the best in Tokyo. The house baked bread makes it. Liver paste/Vietnamese ham and pork are favorites. Everyone is very friendly but it really is only for take-out unless you want to eat on a bench in front.
Arigato! Thanks so much. Great information here. Maybe we’ll bump into each other there.