Our quest for Vietnamese fare made by Vietnamese folk in the Klang Valley steps up: Here, we sniff out the scent of banh mi, starting with this little cafe that opened this year in a secluded section of Puchong.
Banh Mi Cafe is all about what it's name indicates; it's run by Cindy & her brother, both originally from Vietnam's Dong Nai province, east of Ho Chi Minh City. They've been in Malaysia for four years now & saved up enough to helm their own business.
Cindy's brother has been making banh mi for nearly two decades, ever since he was 16. Visitors to Banh Mi Cafe, located behind Columbia Asia Hospital, will be welcomed by the enticing sight & smell of baguettes baked fresh every morning, neatly stacked into a cornucopia of carbs.
Banh Mi's forte is its variety: Have your sandwiches stuffed with grilled pork, bacon, ham, chicken or even fish.
Each basic serving starts at RM6.60, generously filled & well-complemented by pate, optional egg, pickled carrots, cucumbers, coriander leaves, soy sauce & chilli sauce.
Some people will demand to know: Is this better than what's served by the banh mi specialist that we introduced last year in Damansara Uptown? It's different; it's more rustic, which we suspect might prompt some customers to consider this inferior, especially since this costs significantly less.
The bread's sufficiently fluffy, though perhaps not sensationally so; the fillings are hearty & fresh, though they could be more flavourful; the pate might be less buttery-creamy than the best ones out there, but it's not bad for a humble, house-made version.
Worth heading to Puchong for? For fans of Vietnamese food, most likely. Keep your expectations reasonable & enjoy the peaceful neighbourhood setting here.
BanhMi Cafe also offers a few side dishes; the 'bo kho' is very satisfying, brimming with tender stewed beef served with a baguette. RM6.60. Everything here is available for takeaway too.
Vietnamese tea & coffee are offered too; we wish the hard-working Cindy & her brother (missed out his name) all the best.
From Puchong, take a 15-minute drive to Subang to look for Lebanhmi, a stall in the Hock Hin kopitiam that seems to be owned by Malaysian Alex Lee & his Vietnamese wife.
Banh mi here is served with choices like grilled pork, chicken or fried fish, bolstered with egg, chillies & other necessities.
A fairly fulfilling sandwich (especially since it costs a mere RM6); there's space for tweaking the components to make everything come together better, but we enjoyed it nevertheless.
Worth travelling to Subang for? For a shot like this, sure. We're happy to find more banh mi outlets opening in more places.
Le BanhMi also serves other Vietnamese dishes; the grilled pork in betel leaves (RM4) is aromatic enough to admire.
BanhMiCafe The Vietnamese Baguette KL
21, Jalan Puteri 7/9, Bandar Puteri Puchong, Selangor
Restaurant Hock Hin, Jalan SS19/6D, Subang Jaya, Selangor
Open Wed-Mon, 830am-230pm
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