Review : I really wished that I discovered Vietnamese cuisine earlier in life. It actually shares plenty of similarities to Chinese cuisine which I grew up with. Additionally, it’s also quite light and healthy. Many of its dishes feature copious amounts of fresh vegetables and herbs like lemongrass and mint. Vietnamese cuisine is enjoying unprecedented popularity right now.
This can be seen from the journey of Banh Mi Café itself. When they first started, they were a small shop in the middle of a long row of shops in Puchong, tucked far away from the main road. They then expanded to a larger corner lot, and now they’ve opened a second branch in Sri Petaling. I first discovered them when they were in Puchong behind Columbia Asia hospital, but it was rather out of the way so I couldn’t visit often.
Their Sri Petaling branch is a completely different story for me and much more accessible. If you come on weekends you’ll probably find the place packed with local families. Their signature dish is, of course, their Vietnamese sandwiches or Banh Mi.
Many people go with grilled pork, but I like mine with Vietnamese Ham or Cha Lua. The grilled pork version is filled with juicy slivers of barbecued marinated pork, slathered with Vietnamese Pate ( minced pork) and lots of pickled crunchy vegetables thrown in. The crunchy vegetables were a good touch as they prevent the dish from being too stodgy. There were also thin slices of Vietnamese ham thrown in for a wholesome and filling meal.
Another thing I recommend you try is Banh Uot, a type of noodle that resembles the Chinese ‘Chee Cheong Fun’. I had mine with Cha Lua, which wasn’t greasy and went very well with the dish. You also get served a vinegar based sauce which you’re supposed to pour over the noodles and mix thoroughly. The sauce is great and really refreshing. It isn’t too sour or tart and has some sweetness and spiciness too. The fried shallots sprinkled on the top are a great addition too.
During a previous visit to Banh Mi café, I tried the famous Saigon Banh Xeo. It’s a giant crepe filled with bean sprouts, mushrooms and minced pork. That was a really interesting dining experience too. Apparently, you’re supposed to break off parts of the crepe and place it with the bean sprouts onto the large lettuce leave provided. Then you roll everything up and stuff it into your mouth. Alternatively, you can try Banh Khot which are small round crispy pancakes filled with minced pork.
A friend of mine who came on this eating trip had their classic beef Pho of Pho Bo. The broth was to die for! I was also given some slivers of beef and it was truly some of the most tender and juicy beef I had ever tasted. This is coming from me, a non beef-fan.
Apart from that we also had the Goi Cuan or fresh spring rolls with pork. That was a real delight too.
If you find yourself in Sri Petaling with a craving for hearty, filling and refreshingly light food, head on over to Banh Mi café. My advice is to be adventurous and order something you’ve never heard of before. You’ll definitely be in for a pleasant surprise.
80, Jalan Radin Tengah, Sri Petaling, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 18-223 8116
Opening Hours: Everyday from 10:30 to 22:00