The Best Bánh Mì In Houston

Where to get our favorite Vietnamese sandwiches.
The Best Bánh Mì In Houston image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

If Houston had a sandwich mascot, it would probably be a bánh mì. Whether you like your sandwich slathered in pâté, stuffed with smoky grilled pork, or lemongrass-marinated tofu, there’s no denying that bánh mì is a top-tier food. A well-constructed sandwich satisfies just about any food craving you’ve got: it’s buttery, the mayo is fatty, there’s crispy carrot and daikon pickles, refreshing cucumber, and always spicy jalapeños. There’s a large Vietnamese population in Houston, which means you’re often never more than a quick drive from some version of this iconic sandwich. Here are a few of our favorites right now.


photo credit: Quit Nguyen



$$$$Perfect For:Impressing Out of TownersQuick EatsLunch
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Once you taste the dặc biệt bánh mì from the modest prep station at Alpha Bakery & Cafe inside of Hong Kong City Mall, it will tease you forever, reaching out in daydreams like a pork-laden angel. Watching a staffer spread a thick layer of creamy butter on a fresh baguette for the first time is a thing of wonder, especially when that baguette then gets stuffed with pâté, chả lụa (bologna), pork belly, giò thủ (head cheese), and a fistful of sliced vegetables and herbs. Arguably the best bánh mì in Houston, it’s hard to believe they only cost $5 cash. Ordering two every time will help combat the inevitable cravings.

What to order: dặc biệt bánh mì

The first bite of a bánh mì at Khang Vietnamese Sandwich Cafe changes you, and so does the second—just go with it. The warm, fresh bread is so soft and airy, with an open crumb and a golden outer crust that flakes wonderfully. Every inch of bread is thickly smeared with butter and mayo, and the marinated barbecue pork is tangy with garlic. So if you’re around Alief and need to grab a quick lunch, get a bánh mì at Khang. 

What to order: bánh mì thịt nướng (bbq pork), bánh mì khang (khang special combination), bánh mì bo kho (vegetable beef soup and bread)

 A dependable spot for a quick lunch in Midtown, Thíên Ân Sandwiches is basically Houston’s version of a Vietnamese diner. It’s the kind of no-nonsense, family-run place you immediately understand and feel comfortable in, even if you’ve never visited before. While we like a lot of different dishes here, our favorite is the bánh mì with grilled pork and a fried egg (which could easily serve as a possible hangover flotation device). The pork is charred and smoky, the meatballs are rich, and the layers of mayonnaise, butter, and runny egg yolk make this sandwich a portable riff on Vietnamese steak and eggs that can get you through just about anything. 

What to order: bánh mì dặc biệt with an egg

The temple many Houstonians look to for bánh mì is Cali Sandwiches & Phở in Midtown. It’s an institution. The seating may be a little uncomfortable, and the service slightly chaotic, but the bánh mì are really f*cking good and satisfying. The crispy bread is smeared with a mythical, fatty, rich mayo concoction that does things that normal mayo doesn’t do. Each sandwich is stuffed to the absolute limit with fillings like grilled pork or fried tofu, but somehow there’s more in there, like a Mary Poppins bag of marinated meaty goodness. We salute you, sandwich overlords.

What to order: any bánh mì

Pull up to Thim Hing Sandwich around lunchtime and you’ll see people carrying armfuls of plastic bags bulging with sandwiches out to their cars. This cash-only spot in Chinatown exports what appears to be a metric ton of bánh mì every day, loaded with traditional fillings like pâté and grilled pork and slathered in butter and mayonnaise. Make sure to grab enough for the whole family, team, or neighborhood. 

What to order: bánh mì xíu mại (meatball), bánh mì thập cẩm (combination)

Bún Chå Cá Da Nang in Chinatown is all about comforting and fresh Da Nang-style seafood, and the bánh mìs are no different. Surrounding a crispy fried fish cake is a layer of not only butter and mayo, but also a spicy sate chili paste and an extra padding of fresh rau răm, an herb that resembles a hot mashup of mint and cilantro. And despite being essentially a loaf of bread full of fried food, the sandwich is surprisingly light and refreshing. We could probably eat one every day.

What to order: bánh mì chå cá

As one of the few remaining original Vietnamese restaurants in Midtown, the elderly husband and wife team at Kim Tài know how to build a bánh mì, even if it takes them a little bit longer than other places. Food arrives with loving sincerity, as though your grandparent made it special for you. Each bánh mì has warm, toasted bread overstuffed with pickled veggies and hot jalapeńos, whether it’s filled with whole fried tofu pieces or marinated grilled pork. And the teal and wood-paneled dining room, a time machine to Houston’s past, is the fried egg on top, with every Midtown character dining alongside you. 

What to order: bánh mì đậu hũ (tofu), bánh mì dặc biệt (special)

The bánh mì at Duy Sandwiches, an all-vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant and grocery in Chinatown, are served on warm, dense bread. They’re also stuffed with thick slabs of lemongrass-marinated tofu or layers of vegetarian deli meats, mountains of herbs and cucumber, and dressed in light, sweet, and eggless mayo. The seating area, which shares space with rows of shelves and refrigerators, is just as neat and compact as the bánh mì, which we suggest dressing up with sriracha. 

What to order: bánh mì đậu hũ (lemongrass tofu)

Bánh Mì Bon is a bright and cheery Vietnamese cafe in Westchase. Every detail of the interior and the menu have a bit of whimsy, down to the cartoon depictions of the owners on the sandwich wrapper stickers. The bánh mì, however, are pretty serious. Each sandwich is basically two sandwiches, because they’re wrapped with fluffy, thick bread and filled with fistfuls of cilantro, thick slices of cucumber and jalapeño, and sweet marinated pork or crispy tofu. 

What to order: charbroiled pork, saigon special

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