A charcoaled pork bánh mì from Kim’s Sandwiches
A charcoaled pork bánh mì from Kim’s Sandwiches

Bay Area Bites Guide to 10 Popular South Bay Bánh Mì Shops

Bay Area Bites Guide to 10 Popular South Bay Bánh Mì Shops

It is easy to see why bánh mì are so popular. A leftover influence from French colonization, these Vietnamese sandwiches are inexpensive and bursting with great flavors and textures. The typical bánh mì consists of a baguette (often the deciding factor between a good and great bánh mì), tangy pickled carrots and daikon radish, zesty cilantro, spicy slices of jalapeno and meat or fish. Some shops will add homemade mayonnaise, soy sauce or extra veggies such as scallions and cucumbers. Bánh mì fillings range from the traditional combination of ham, headcheese and pâté to the more approachable barbecued or grilled pork. However you enjoy your bánh mì you will surely find a favorite from this list of ten unique bánh mì shops in the South Bay.

And feel free to add to this list by sharing your favorite South Bay bánh mì shops in the comments.

Huong Lan Sandwiches
1655 Tully Road, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 258-8868
Hours: Mon-Sun 5am-9pm
Facebook: Huong Lan Sandwiches
Twitter: @HLSandwiches
Price range: $ (entrees under $10)

This popular East San Jose deli and small grocery store serves traditional bánh mì as well as other Vietnamese dishes such as vermicelli bowls. The grilled pork bánh mì sets itself apart from others with the addition of peanuts for an enjoyable crunchy texture. Huong Lan dresses their sandwiches with the traditional pickled veggies and a light spread of mayonnaise.

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Thanh Huong Sandwich
2593 Senter Road, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 297-0595
Hours: Mon-Sun 6:30am-9pm
Facebook: Thanh Huong Sandwich
Price range: $ (entrees under $10)

Perhaps the bread is what makes Thanh Huong’s bánh mì so popular. The baguettes are kept warm in a small oven and have a crisp, crunchy crust. The breads spongy interior does well to absorb the generous smear of mayonnaise. If you're a pork fan, the sweet and smoky grilled pork bánh mì is your ticket. If you’d like a more traditional option the sweet, salty ham and peppery pâté is a delicious combination.

Kim’s Sandwiches
1816 Tully Road, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 270-8903
Hours: Mon-Sun 7:30am-8pm
Facebook: Kim’s Sandwiches
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

Kim’s Sandwiches is a small family-run shop tucked away in the back of Lion Plaza shopping center. Inside you will find no chairs or tables to sit down, but many consider this a go-to spot for bánh mì in San Jose. Popular bánh mì fillings include bright red and juicy portions of pork belly; savory and smoky shredded charcoaled pork; and peppery pork meatball. All sandwiches come with pickled carrots and daikon sprouts, white and green onions and a special spread of creamy butter mayonnaise.

Cam Hung Sandwich & Coffee
903 Reed Avenue, Sunnyvale [map]
Ph: 408-735-8989
Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am-7:30pm; Sat-Sun 9am-7:30pm
Facebook: Cam Hung Sandwich and Coffee
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

Cam Hung is a small, family-run shop located in the corner of a Sunnyvale strip mall. The sandwiches here arrive on squat crusty baguettes still warm from the toaster oven. The popular sweet pork sandwich has a unique kick of five spice seasoning. While the traditional combination sandwich comes with ham, headcheese and a peppery pâté.

Thien Huong Sandwiches and Bakery
1181 Story Rd, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 289-8188
Hours: Mon-Sun 5am-8pm
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

This small bakery may not have anywhere to sit on the inside but it has remained a popular San Jose destination for bánh mì as well as freshly baked baguettes. The bánh mì selection is pretty standard here but the fillings are generous and come with a unique addition of cucumber spears and diced scallions.

Phat Tri
1210 Story Road, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 271-2877
Hours: Mon-Sun 4:30am-9pm
Facebook: Phat Tri Bakery
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

Phat Tri is another bánh mì shop that maintains great popularity despite having no actual seating in the store. At first $5 seems overly steep for the typically inexpensive bánh mì. Yet when you get your massive, foot long sandwich all is well. Phat Tri may be most popular for their bold flavored, coarse pâté on the special combination sandwich (also available as an addition to other sandwiches.) However, the strong flavor may not be the best option for first timers. For those looking to get their hands on some newly legal foie gras, Phat Tri sells cans and jars of the fatty liver in their deli section.

Thanh Son Hien Khanh
990 Story Road, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 975-0135
Hours: Mon-Tue 7am-8pm; Thu-Sun 7am-8pm
Facebook: Thanh Son Hien Khanh
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

Thanh Son Hien Khanh may not have the cult following of other South Bay bánh mì shops but the sandwich offerings are quite tasty and the prepared food selection is plentiful. Skinny torpedo sandwiches here are served toasted and crunchy with admittedly minimal fillings. The grilled pork has a huge kick of spice from some very potent jalapenos while the special combination is savory and rich without the gristly texture of headcheese.

Saigon’s Bakery
953 McLaughlin Ave, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 271-9744
Hours: Mon-Sun 6am-9pm
Facebook: Saigon’s Bakery
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

Saigon’s Bakery can be affectionately described as "a hole in the wall" in a busy shopping mall in San Jose’s Little Saigon neighborhood. The store sells two types of bánh mì: the standard baguette and a squat “short bread” roll. The short bread sandwiches come with a popular buy two get one free special. The housemade breads crunch and flake under your bite. The barbecue pork sandwich comes slathered in a sweet, creamy glaze.

Dakao
98 East San Salvador Street, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 286-7260
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-9pm; Sun 7am-8pm
Facebook: Dakao San Jose
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

A longtime favorite for San Jose State students looking to grab a cheap bite to eat, Dakao serves Vietnamese noodle soups, rice dishes and, of course, bánh mì. The sandwiches are available on a standard baguette or croissants as well. Those looking to branch out from the comfort of barbecue or grilled pork should try the pork with pork skin bánh mì.

Lee’s Sandwiches
939 West El Camino Real #108, Sunnyvale [map] Multiple additional locations.
Ph: (408) 774-0595
Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-8pm
Facebook: Lee’s Sandwiches
Twitter: @leesandwiches

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Lee’s Sandwiches may be considered by some to be the McDonald's of Vietnamese cuisine but perhaps that is what keeps this franchise so popular. Here you will find an array of cheap sandwiches and packaged Vietnamese dishes. If you’ve never had a bánh mì before, perhaps you should start with the grilled pork at Lee’s and then use that as a baseline of comparison to other v as you become more adventurous.

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