Hoi An, Vietnam is famous for several things including colorful paper lanterns and lots of tailor shops. It’s also a famous place to try banh mi sandwiches. While banh mi are available all over Vietnam, the rumor is that they are best from Hoi An, due to the bread that is baked here, using a special rice flour.
We spent a month in Hoi An with our family when our kids were 6 and 8. We spent many afternoons walking through town trying as many banh mi places as we could. We definitely found our favorites (though we didn’t always agree).
We’ll cover the best banh mi in Hoi An, including options for those who don’t eat pork, or other meats, as well as how to order, and what to expect when ordering banh mi in Hoi An, Vietnam.
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What is a Banh Mi Sandwich?
In Vietnamese “bánh mì” literally means wheat bread. A banh mi sandwich is a baguette-style roll that is cut open and filled with pate, meats, and vegetables. The most traditional banh mi includes pate (goose or duck, sometimes combined with pork), chili sauce, slices of pork, pork belly, cucumber, coriander, thinly sliced radish or pickled papaya, and other greens. The roll is then lightly toasted.
During the French occupation, flour was imported from Europe to make French-style bread. During WWII wheat flour was difficult to get, and rice flour was used to make the bread instead. This resulted in a fluffier bread that is light on the inside but crunchy on the outside- what you’ll find today in Hoi An.
Be warned- if you eat banh mi too many days in a row, you will find that the roof of your mouth is sore from the crunchy bread.
In Hoi An you’ll find some street stands that sell only one traditional style banh mi with pork, though you can ask for any variations, such as “no chili sauce”. Other providers have different variations, sometimes 4 or 5, and even up to 18. At these places, you’ll often find a street cart out front where the sandwiches are made, with seating and even a full restaurant behind the cart.
What Do We Look For in a Great Banh Mi?
We don’t eat a lot of meat, so out of the 4 of us, only 1 will eat a traditional banh me with pork or pork belly. The kids prefer an egg or an egg and cheese banh mi, often with no added vegetables! These sandwiches are quite large, and the kids often split one. We also look for vegetarian versions of banh mi which use tofu rather than pork. These are quite easy to find in Hoi An, and are often very tasty!
There are lots of lists of banh mi out there- but many are outdated. Several shops are often listed as “best of” that we couldn’t find either on Google Maps or in person. We’ve also only included places that are an easy walk from the center of Ancient Hoi An. Hoi An is very hot during the middle of the day, so we try to minimize how far we walk to find lunch.
Traditionally banh mi are eaten for breakfast or as a late-night snack. We find them perfect for lunch! However, some banh mi stands close between 10 and about 2 pm, and we’ve tried to note this as it’s disappointing to find them closed.
How Much Does Banh Mi Cost?
Banh mi are extremely affordable. The cheapest banh mi we found was 15K VDN ( 0.70 USD), while the most expensive was 45K (1.87 USD), often the house special with both pork and egg in one sandwich. We love eating banh mi for lunch as everyone can choose the variety they like, and we spend only a few USD for our meal.
The 5 Best Banh Mi in Hoi An, Vietnam
These are the best banh mi stalls in Hoi An based on many trips to taste test! These are the places we go back to over and over, and what we like about each one.
1. Banh Mi Phuong
2b Phan Chu Trinh, Open 6 am- 9:30 pm
This is our favorite. It was made famous by a visit by the famous American chef Anthony Bourdain in 2007. Check out where else he ate in Hoi An. This famous shop is where we grabbed some banh mi on our very first night in Hoi An and then returned many times.
They have 18 varieties to choose from! Bourdain ordered the #3 (Bread Mixed), so that is the classic sandwich to try if you order just one thing. Our family favorite is the #16 (Bread with Tofu and Avocado). The tofu has sesame seeds and is soaked in a delicious peanut sauce.
The sandwiches here use a “secret sauce” and they are quite saucy. They sell so many banh mi that they are rumored to go through 2,000 bread rolls per day!
There can be a line to order here, but it moves fast. During busier times they will have someone helping who will waive you into a space at the counter to place your order. During slower times you need to go straight up to the middle of the counter and try to catch someone’s eye.
Tell them your order by number (#3, #16, and #7). I often get Waker to order here as the counter is quite high, and I am quite short which makes it hard to get the staff’s attention. Be ready to hand cash over the counter. They will hand you your sandwiches, each in a brown paper bag. You can ask them to cut them in half if you like.
You can sit down behind to eat, though we have never done this. We always get our sandwiches to go, and take them across the street to the small park that is also a parking lot. There are areas to sit there, and even at lunchtime, there is a bit of shade.
We also enjoy a quick stop at the gelato stand right next door.
*Editors Note: Temporarily closed, should re-open January 2024.
Travel Tip: Banh mi here are ready in minutes, perfect for when you are about to grab a car out to An Bang Beach! We’ve got a complete guide to the beach- where to eat, where to stay, and all the best things to do in An Bang, one of the world’s best beaches!
2. Madam Khanh: The Banh Mi Queen
115 Trần Cao Vân, Opens at 6:30 am, closes at 7pm.
This is where we go when we want to spend a bit more time. There is a stand in front that is almost always surrounded by people several people deep (you’ll see minibusses of tourists pulling up here). Walk past the stand, and head to the back and up the stairs. On the second floor, go through the closed glass door and find a seat. The door is closed because it’s air-conditioned!
Someone will come to take your order and bring you your sandwiches. The kids always get the Fried Egg (with or without pate), I like the Vegetarian, which is seared tofu with egg and cheese, a traditional sauce, and vegetables, and Waker likes the BBQ Banh Mi which has vegetables, BBQ pork, pate, and vegetables.
The staff are super helpful and happy to modify your order if your kids don’t eat a certain vegetable or don’t want pate, etc. You can also order a coconut or fruit juice to go with your sandwich.
S(8) is a huge fan of Madam Khans. One evening we tried a new banh mi stall, and though we asked for no chili sauce on the kid’s version, we ended up with a sandwich with lots of chili sauce. We were standing in an alleyway with unhappy kids trying to pick apart the sandwich. We gave up and hurried to Madam Khans, making it there just before closing. “I could live off Madam Khans”. S signed happily. She would eat there every day if we let her!
Note: The main photo of Banh mi on red plates is from Madam Khans
3. Phi Banh Mi
88 Thái Phiên, Open 8 am – 8 pm
Phi Banh Mi is run by a lovely couple, who keep their pet iguana Danny in the back of this shop. They will happily introduce you! This shop is on the northern side of the city center, but well worth the walk.
Take a seat and order from the menu. The kids like the egg and cheese with added avocado (add avocado to any sandwich for 5K VND). I like the vegetarian with avocado (ask for it a little spicy), and Waker likes the #4 with pork and house-made pate or the #11 Phi Special with pork, pate, cheese, egg, avocado, and vegetables. Try their “lemon juice”, it’s a delicious lemonade.
They not only marinate their own meat here, but the chili sauce and the pate are both housemade. You can watch them toast your banh mi over traditional coals.
4. Le Hoy Banh Mi Chay
3 Nguyễn Huệ, Open 6 am – 9 pm
Just around the corner from Banh Mi Phuong is this small stand that sells one kind of banh mi that is vegan. The lady that runs the stand doesn’t speak much English, but she’ll do her best to understand any changes you request for your sandwich. We recommend you just get it “with everything”!
This vegan banh mi comes with tofu, peanuts, cucumber, chili sauce, rice oil, pickles, mushrooms, and various greens. The crunchy peanuts on top are a nice addition. At less than 75 cents a sandwich, it’s a tasty afternoon snack or lunch option.
Much of Vietnamese food gets its flavor from the meat. You can often find vegetarian versions of classic dishes that omit the meat, but often they also omit the flavor. This is the exception, even if you love pork, try this banh mi. It has all the flavors and textures of a top-notch banh mi, without worrying about getting a fatty or grisly piece of meat. Absolutely delicious.
Main Location: 3 Nguyễn Huệ; Second location: 136 Trân Phú
5. Banh mi Bich
51 Phan Chu Trinh, Open 7:30-10 and 3:30-9:30; Closed for Lunch
We’ve included Banh mi Bich on the list because it’s a tasty sandwich that is perfect for meat lovers. This small stand on the street across from Com Linh Vietnamese (which we also recommend), has only one kind of banh mi.
Their banh mi is packed with homemade pate and a large amount of meat. This is the most filling banh mi sandwich of all the varieties we tried. There are some complex sauces and good flavor to this banh mi.
There You Have It: The Best Banh Mi in Hoi An Vietnam
These are the best banh mi in Hoi An Vietnam that we found during our time there. We loved trying lots of different shops and then returning to our favorite sandwiches over and over. There are so many banh mi spots around town, let us know if you find a favorite we missed!
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