Budapest’s District 7 may be 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—set up shop in 2018, after seeing locals' fondness of Vietnamese food. But instead of yet another pho shop, they launched a bánh mì joint, specializing in the iconic French-Vietnamese sandwiches, the first of its kind in Budapest.

The origin of bánh mì harkens back to French Indochina when the baguette was introduced in Vietnam. In the traditional version, a crispy baguette encloses a host of ingredients including pork liver pâté, cold cuts, pickled carrots, crunchy cucumbers, and parsley. At Bánh Mì in Budapest, you can choose from 12 versions, two of them vegetarian, ranging from €3 to €5. Apart from the traditional sandwich, I usually go for the meatballs or the grilled pork stuffings. Use the Sriracha to adjust the heat level to your taste.

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. It’s a combination of these perfectly satisfying and low-priced sandwiches and wanting this family business to succeed that keep bringing me back here.