Banh Mi Bistro in West Phoenix is where it's at for an affordable Vietnamese sandwich.
The banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that originated in Vietnam during the French Colonial period. The French are gone from Vietnam, but fortunately they left the baguette behind. The Vietnamese took that tasty bread and put their own delicious spin on it creating a banh mi. The veggie/condiments for this sandwich always stay the same because that's what makes a banh mi a banh mi. Mayo (or some form of this), pickled daikon radishes and carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, and sliced cucumbers make up the structure of the sandwich. The protein gets switched out and makes the sandwich awesome.
Banh Mi Bistro, located on the west side of Phoenix, is a go-to place for a Vietnamese sandwich. It's located in a strip mall on the north side of Bell Road. The atmosphere is a little sandwich shop'ish, but it is clean and comfortable. The sign by the front door clearly states that "No Pho" is served there so don't expect to find soup. There are plenty of other options from noodle salad bowls to sandwiches. We liked the salad options as they have a standard salad mix, then you choose two options from their list of grilled meats, egg rolls, or tofu and vegetables to add. All salads are $8.
But we didn't come here for the salads. We had a sandwich craving that only a banh mi could satisfy.
We had the pulled pork banh mi for our $6 lunch meal, and added the Vietnamese iced coffee for a total of $9. The iced coffee is such a treat. It's made with this special little teapot looking thing that's placed over a glass with sweetened condensed milk in the bottom. The coffee is placed inside the pot and a little metal filter is screwed down on top of it. The hot water is then poured into the pot and allowed to slowly drip down through the filter, coffee, then out the bottom into the glass of condensed milk. You will stir the brewed coffee with the milk and pour it over the glass of ice served with it. At Banh Mi Bistro they do the whole process for you and serve in a plastic cup that's sealed with the most kawaii lid.
Banh Mi Bistro has many affordable lunch options, whether you are feeling a little on the light side and grab a salad, or need something a little more substantial like a banh mi. There really isn't any way to go wrong at this place. We can't wait to go back and try the shaved snow.