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COVER STORY

Banh voyage

A cruise through Colonialtown in search of Orlando’s best banh mi

Photo: Shan Stumpf, License: N/A

Shan Stumpf


Banh Mi Dac Biet (“#1 combo”)
Boston Bakery
1525 E. Colonial Drive
407-228-1219
score: 4.5
A fresh, crisp-crusted baguette and the perfect balance of sweet to sour and meat to vegetables distinguished our winner. Every taster raved about the “crackling,” “crunchy” bread, along with the “good liver flavor,” “nice herbs,” “sauciness,” “homemade butter” and “nice pickle to the veggies.”

Banh Mi Dac Biet (house combination)
Banh Mi Nha Trang
1216 E. Colonial Drive
407-346-4549
score: 4.4
“The bread I’ve been hoping for,” one taster was heard to say, upon biting into Banh Mi Nha Trang’s “chewy,” “beautiful, caramel-colored,” “crispy pretzel” baguette. (It was the 14th sandwich we tasted, and the bread had been somewhat disappointing thus far.) This sandwich was also one of the few with onion – red onion, in fact, along with fish sauce, which added a “sharp bite,” “good moisture” and “slight seafood taste” to the “very flavorful meat.”

Banh Mi Dac Biet (house combination)
Phuoc Loc To (Oriental Super Market)
2100 E. Colonial Drive
407-898-6858
score: 4.2
The supermarket sub won raves for the chef’s knife skills – “very flavorful roast pork, cut thicker”; “big daikon pieces give good crunch” – and ratio of “fresh,” “fragrant” meat to vegetables. Bread, though, was “generic” and “could be better.” The “very creamy,” “sweet,” “delicious” butter “makes a huge difference.”

Banh Mi Cha Lua (pork roll)
New Saigon Subs
1242 E. Colonial Drive
407-898-7770
score: 4.0
New Saigon Subs’ pork-roll sandwich was universally described as “very meaty”; also “salty, “savory,” “rich,” “very filling” and “very moist.” One taster’s sole comment was “GREAT PÂTÉ,” while another opined, “Liver becomes a player when it should.”

Banh Mi Thit Nuong (grilled pork)
Anh Hong
1124 E. Colonial Drive
407-999-2656
score: 3.8
High marks were given for the generous serving of grilled pork on Anh Hong’s banh mi thit nuong – caramelized and crisp around the edges and tender within. However, the “veg [was] overwhelmed by pork,” as were the tasters, leading one to conclude, “Not enough veggies for true banh mi flavor.” Another thought the tasty meat “deserved better bread” and still another said: “Like Korean BBQ made into a sandwich.”

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