Budapest’s District 7 is known as the city’s party district, but its burgeoning and increasingly diverse food scene may give that title a run for its money. A young Vietnamese couple (one of them first, the other a second generation Vietnamese-Hungarian) opened Bánh Mì in 2018, after realizing locals’ fondness of Vietnamese food. But instead of yet another pho-centered eatery that Budapest already bristles with, they decided to go for a bánh mì food stall, specializing in the iconic French-Vietnamese sandwiches, the first such place in Budapest.
The origin of Bánh Mì harkens back to the French Indochina period when the baguette was introduced in Vietnam. In the traditional version, a crispy baguette encloses a host of ingredients that usually include pork liver pâté, cold cuts, pickled carrots, crunchy cucumbers, and parsley. At Bánh Mì, you can choose from 12 different fillings, two of them vegetarian. Besides the traditional version (#5), I enjoyed most the meatballs (#6), and grilled pork (#10) varieties. For a bit of spicy heat and enhanced flavors, add a few drops of Sriracha sauce to finish.
Because of space restrictions, Bánh Mì doesn’t actually have a kitchen. Instead, they make all ingredients in advance, using the venue only for final preps. That’s the reason why, sadly, bánh mì op la, a version topped with a fried egg, isn’t available.
Sandwiches range in price from the equivalent of €3-5. While they’re totally satisfactory, it’s a combination of bánh mì’s novelty factor in Budapest and wanting this family business to succeed that keeps me going back here.