Banh Mi Field Trip: So 1 (NYC)

Last week, when Matt sent me this Gridskipper link— a guide to banh mi in the city– it was 11am. By 11:05, my stomach was grumbling; 11:10, I was drooling; 11:30, fantasies of pork, cilantro and pate filled baguettes kept me from getting any work done. So what did I do? I knocked on my cubicle wall, and egged Melissa, my cubie-mate, to make a mad dash down the 6 train to Chinatown, where the best banh mi in the city (so they say) awaited us.

Many many people call Viet-Nam Banh Mi So 1 the best. People who know what they’re talking about. People who know a thing or two about the venerable Vietnamese sub.

So 1 is an ordinary, run-of-the-mill storefront, a place that you would never look at twice walking down Broome. But when you walk inside, you will be greeted by blinding white parquet floors, a refrigerator full of fresh juices on your right, a yellowing list of sandwiches above the counter, a stack of various Vietnamese snackies on the counter, and two teenage boys behind it taking orders. At 12:30pm, the place was pretty packed.

After waiting 10 minutes for our sandwiches, Mel and I walked over to the soccer park on Christie Street to chow down. I got the #1 House Classic, and Mel got the #12 House Special Vegetarian.


Let me mention that these sandwiches are about a foot long, jam-packed with goodies, wrapped in a white paper bag, then synched with a rubber band. Mel and I walked down the street with our sandwiches under our arms – if this were Paris, we would fit right in (except these aren’t just your ordinary baguette).


The House Special consists of grilled pork, vietnamese salami and sliced pork roll, and that’s just the meat! The baguette is fresh and crispy on the outside, fluffy within (key for any respectable banh mi), smeared with a special mayo. It’s finished off with some crunchy pickled carrots and daikon, and for a bit of greenery, cilantro.

Take a look at this pork! It was sweet and harmonious with the tang of the pickles. Matt said that the pork used to be better, but I haven’t been there for years, so can’t recall how it was before. I can tell you, however, that I cherished every bite of this sandwich.


I washed down each bite with fresh coconut juice, with pieces of coconut on the bottom of the cup. So refreshing!


Mel’s sandwich was really excellent too. It was filled with tofu, mushroom, clear noodles, carrots and daikon. It was basically eggroll filling in a baguette. Pretty genius.

So far, my favorite banh mi has been Hanco’s in Cobble Hill, and this place. But I am well aware that I have many many more banh mi storefronts to visit before I can even start ranking anything. But what I can say, is that all in all, our little emergency 2-hour lunch break downtown was well worth the trip– Mel and I have vowed to make them often.

Viet-Nam Báhn Mì So 1
369 Broome Street
btwn. Mott and Elisabeth

New York, NY
(212) 219-8341

Related banh mi readings:
– Check out these gorgeous banh mi on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City– courtesy of Oishii Eats
– An incredibly thorough, in depth NYC banh mi encyclopedia– courtesy of The Porkchop Express (he’s not so crazy about BM So 1)

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