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Where can you get best bánh mì in Atlanta?

posted on June 27, 2007 at 6:04 am
This seems to be a question that plagues my Bánh mì-obsessed friends. Everyone has a favorite, but I can’t say I have ever declared one better than the other. That was until last Saturday when some friends orchestrated a bahn mi taste-off. What a blast. We all gathered at two large tables in the middle of the food court Atlanta’s Chinatown Square and proceeded to work our way through 7 bánh mì sandwiches. Our charismatic organizer put together some handy worksheets and the entire tasting was blind. He even had a control sandwich (pictured below) that he made in his car, before the tasting, with some (suspect) items from Kroger.

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Most people immediately figured out something was fishy with said sandwich. Pay close attention to one participant’s comments on the control sandwich (#6).

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The hands-down winner was Quoc Hong with Viet Tofu in near second.

Quoc Hong: It had the right amount of sweetness, heat, and crunch. The bread, which had been expertly dug out, was also the best and tasted very fresh. I think someone mentioned that they bake it in-house. My only complaint would be the lack of smokiness in the barbecued pork. If only we could have had the pork from the runner up in the winner’s sandwich. Now, that would have been something else.

Quoc Hong

Viet Tofu: Great pork. Nice flaky bread with a good crunch. Would have liked a bit more heat and some more pickled veggies. I wouldn’t throw it out of bed though.

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INFORMATION:
Quoc Hong is located at Asian Square on Buford Highway. More details on address to come. Can’t seem to find one on Google Maps.

Viet Tofu is in the Pho Bac shopping center. Again, nothing on Google. Plan to update.

Please email me if you have the physical address for either spot. I would suggest you bring cash since many of these small spots don’t take plastic.

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6 comments

  • Re: Where can you get best bánh mì in Atlanta?
    posted by: Anonymous · June 28, 2007  4:03 AM

    Would also like to know who were the none “winners” as a base of comparison.

  • Re: Where can you get best bánh mì in Atlanta?
    posted by: The Blissful Glutton · June 28, 2007  4:07 AM

    Certainly.
    In order of where they placed.
    1. Quoc Hong
    2. Viet Tofu
    3. Lee’s Bakery
    4. Hong
    5. Nhu Y Deli
    6. Balle
    7. Was the “control sandwich”

  • Re: Where can you get best bánh mì in Atlanta?
    posted by: Anonymous · July 10, 2007  10:12 PM

    Thank you for the tip for finding Banh Mi’s in Atlanta! Ever since we’ve came back from our trip to Seattle in May we’ve been craving Banh Mi’s which we’ve only recently discovered.

    We tried out the Banh Mi’s from Quoc Hong the two weekends ago, at the risk of great peril to our physical and financial health (well not really) we (the intrepid trio- J, T and R) ploughed through a third of each kind sold. The consensus was that the Combination was the best (just the right amount of Pate’), BBQ Pork just didn’t live up to our expectations (its all Seattle Deli’s fault), the Chicken was surprisingly good (shredded and packed with flavor), the only Pate’ one though tasty was little too organy and none of us wanted to have a whole sandwich with only Pate’ as the meat component.

    Though we were all floored by the freshness and the “just right” crunchy exteriors of the rolls, we were all a little disappointed by the vegetables. The vegetables were cut too thick, so with every bite one either got a lot of Cucumber with little or no meat, or a lot of carrots with a little meat, versus the perfect balance of meat, carrots, cucumbers, radish, parsley and jalapenos in every bite (I was surprised that none of the sandwiches had any pickled Radish). BBQ Pork Banh Mi’s from Seattle Deli have been are favorites with just the right amount of charred pork (my mouth waters just thinking about it) and lots of THINLY sliced vegetables. The verdict: they were good but not as good as the ones we got from Seattle Deli, its sad when one discovers that one’s first brief tryst with one’s true love (Banh Mi’s) was also one’s last (well for at least for some time to come, till either one of us makes it back to Seattle and gets a bag full back. Thank God TSA doesn’t ban carrying food in one’s carry on/checked luggage and transporting food at least within the borders of the U.S. is still legal-that’s another story!). Till next time round I shall continue to pine for the object of my affection (again to clarify-BBQ pork Banh Mi’s), which literally are available on the opposite corner of the country.

    I’m now intrigued to find out as to how Viet Tofu’s selection stands up, especially since you mentioned that the BBQ pork was good, will keep you posted.

    -R.
    P.S. I read the more detailed tasting notes on atlantacuisine for the same event and we’re still laughing about the “control Kroger sandwich” assembled in the Accord. I haven’t decided though as to which part is funnier, the concept of the placebo/control sandwich itself or the fact that it was assembled in the Accord in the parking lot. T, my sis, is convinced that if I had organized a similar tasting I would have done exactly the same.
    P.P.S. I actually completely forgot till I looked at my own tasting notes, the Summer Rolls and the Green Tea Boba smoothies were the real surprise (the Papaya one was ok-made from I guess syrups and extracts while I was expecting a little bit of fresh fruit in there). We’d bought some along with the sandwiches and absolutely loved them, the Summer Rolls were refreshingly light and we considered those to be the real find at Quoc Hong along with the Boba Smoothies.

  • Re: Where can you get best bánh mì in Atlanta?
    posted by: Sammy Pants · February 26, 2008  1:46 PM

    2 comments:
    There is bahn mi available outside of Buford highway. The restaurant Pangea on Huff Rd. offers a great take on the traditional bahn mi, complete with pickly vegetables and fresh jalapenos. In fact, their tofu bahn mi is the best I’ve had so far (although I am new to Buford highway and am using this article as a starting point). They also sell their sandwiches through Midcity Cafe at 845 Spring St.

    Second comment:
    Just tried the “bahn mi tofu” from Hongs, and there was no tofu in it. Lots of crunchy, sweet/salty peanut stuff, no carrot, and three jalapeno slices. Delicious sauce, but kind of disappointing.

  • Re: Where can you get best bánh mì in Atlanta?
    posted by: Sammy Pants · April 25, 2008  8:20 AM

    Update: Tried the tofu bahn mi at Viet Tofu and it was just alright. The tofu wasn’t cooked to my liking (it was cold and pretty raw) and they were pretty parse with the pickled veggies and jalapenos.

    Lee’s Bakery has an amazing tofu bahn mi . They cook the tofu to order, load it up with tangy pickled veggies, plenty of cilantro and jalapenos and the right amount homemade mayo to cool the spice. My BF like their special combo bahn mi as well. Lee’s wins for me!

  • Re: Where can you get best bánh mì in Atlanta?
    posted by: MEM · June 24, 2009  4:50 AM

    Having just been to Quoc Hong I can back up the Anonymous ranking above: combination (#8) was by far the tastiest, with chicken in 2nd place. BBQ Pork was indeed underspiced and a little dry. They were disappontingly out of #4 (tendon skin) when we were there. In fact they were out of the first 3 things I ordered, but it was kind of late on a Sunday afternoon so I understand….

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