Originating from the streets of Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City), comes the humble Banh Mi. Traditionally presented as a thin, soft, short baguette with a crispy crust and then filled with sour pickled carrot and daikon, fresh coriander, sliced chilli, and proteins usually ranging from pork mince to lemongrass chicken, a Banh Mi is not only delicious but often cheap and convenient. A win-win in our books!
You'll find them on every street corner in Ho Chi Minh City for less than a fiver. However, they're a little far and few between in New Zealand – which is why we've gone to the liberty of rounding up the very best Banh Mis in Auckland. Whether you're a seasoned Banh Mi eater or looking for your first hit, these spots are the ones to head to.
The legendary Mr T's has to be top of our list. As such a famed name in the foodie scene in Auckland, nothing we say could mirror the magic of visiting Mr T's for a freshly baked baguette. From 11:30am you can get your hands on his Banh Mi Thit Nuong. We're convinced the secret to one of the best banh mi's in Auckland must be Mr T's homemade chicken liver pate which arrives on your baguette liberally spread, acting as a delicious glue to hold everything together. On top goes grilled and marinated pork, pickled daikon radish and carrot, cucumber, coriander, and chilli – and voila! You have one of the most sought-after buns in your hot little hand for just $13.
Pro Tip: Bagging a freshly baked pastry from the cabinet for later will never be a regretful decision.
Hot Hot Eatery is one of our favourite go-to's for a banh mi with a little bit extra added in, as well as a vegetarian banh mi! They carry three variants of banh mi, each as delicious as one another – including their OG Slow Cooked Pork Belly Bun with Sriracha chilli sauce, slaw, pickle, coriander, peanuts, and mayo. The next being their Lemongrass Chicken Bun with slaw, cucumber, pickle, spring onion and hoisin sauce. Lastly, their Fried Tofu Bun with chilli, satay sauce, slaw, cucumber, pickle, fried shallot, and coriander. All coming in at $10 or less.
Any eatery on Dominion Road has to earn its stripes to stay on the famous food-centred street, and Viet Kitchen has most definitely done that. Situated in the 'Entree' section of the menu sits their Vietnamese Baguette, our favourite no-nonsense version of a banh mi. Take your pick from Lemongrass Chicken, Vietnamese Ham, or Tofu and you'll receive a crispy baguette filled with your choice of protein and all the traditional trimmings, topped with a generous wad of fresh coriander.
Mi And Chi
A new opening we've quite quickly fallen head over heels for, Mi & Chi is a valued addition to the Newmarket Westfield foodcourt. Parked right on the outskirts of the main hustle and bustle of the foodcourt, Mi & Chi still carries an ambience of a free-standing eatery, complete with an ideal buzzer to alert you when your food is ready. The Banh Mi is served in classic style, with all the authentic fillings you'd hope to find; simply choose from their six protein choices. Yes, six! Lemongrass Chicken, Char Siu BBQ Pork, Pulled Beef, Crispy Chicken, Hoisin Roast Duck, and Golden Tofu are all on offer at Mi & Chi, we wish you luck in choosing just one.
Banh Mi Delight
One of the cheapest and cheeriest places you'll visit in Auckland, Banh Mi Delight are a delight to deal with and a delight to treat yourself to. On the menu of the New Lynn street-front vendor is their filled Banh Mi rolls available with your choice of chicken, pork, beef, or vegetarian filling. Coming in at only $8 a pop, they're packed full of cucumber, pickled carrot, spring onion, coriander, and mayo, making for a quick, filling, and gourmet-tasting snack on the go.