From The Desk Of Lushlife: Three Banh Mis: A Side-By-Side Comparison

Living in South Philly is like being in this strangely awesome sandwich ground zero. Within blocks of one another, you’ve got hallowed deli spots like Chickie’s, Ricci’s, George’s, and my personal favorite, Sarcone’s (who, despite their folksy appeal, have elevated bread and sandwich-making into high-art). But, those Italian-style delis are a pretty visible part of the Philadelphia “brand,” so they tend to eclipse some of the other remarkable offerings that make South Philly a sandwich epicenter. It’s not a big secret either, but the Vietnamese community down here is putting in some heroic work on the hoagie-tip.

The Banh Mi is a beguiling sandwich, and it’s probably the only “fusion” cuisine I’ll get with. The east-meets-west potpourri of BBQ pork, cilantro, shredded carrots, fish sauce aioli, and French baguette is nothing short of mind-blowing. Best of all, some of the best Vietnamese hoagie shops I’ve been to, are right here in South Philly. Recently, my girlfriend and I walked around the neighborhood, collecting BBQ pork (and one tofu) Banh Mis from three local spots, and conducted a side-by-side comparison. Here are the results:


1. Pho and Cafe Viet Huong (1100 Washington Avenue) – 37
2. Nam Son (1601 Washington Avenue) – 35
3. Cafe Nhu Y (802 Christian Street) – 33 (adjusted +3 for being healthier, vegetarian option)

Lushlife aka Raj Haldar

To celebrate the 4/17/12 release of his album, Plateau Vision, we asked Philly rapper/producer Lushlife to guest edit Philebrity for the day. Find more of his posts here.

  • Von Hai

    Thanks for this. I definitely want to give Nam Son and Cafe Viet Huong a try. I’m a Cafe Cuong guy m’self.

  • Ann

    I would have to say that Viet Huong has got to be my least favorite. My vote goes to Nam Son and Cafe Cuong for non veggie options.

  • mazza

    cafe viet huong makes a damned good bahn mi and wins major points over nhu y for the simple fact that it has a little thing known as ‘hours’. nhu y’s bahn mi are frickin awesome though….will have to try nam son soon.

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