The bánh mì is something special in the world of sandwiches. There is a reason that these Vietnamese creations are eaten worldwide and have a cult following. The bánh mì is a truly ingenious street food, with the perfect balance of spice, sweetness, tanginess, and umami, they are delectable any time of day. It all begins with the Vietnamese baguette. Influenced by the French, the Vietnamese baguette is airy, but crunchy bread perfection. Most of the top South Bay bánh mì restaurants make their baguettes from scratch, and many of these baguette recipes have been passed down through generations.
Your typical bánh mì is made up of tangy pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, savory chili, creamy mayonnaise, and the protein of your choosing - all neatly fit within a delicious aforementioned baguette. The traditional Vietnamese bánh mì has a combination of Vietnamese ham, headcheese, and pâté. Around the Bay Area, you can find bánh mì exploding with everything from barbecued pork or lemongrass tofu to a fried egg. This list of the 16 most awesome bánh mì shops in the South Bay reaches across San Jose, into Sunnyvale, and throughout Mountain View. With over 100,000 Vietnamese residents, the South Bay has one of the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam, so these bánh mì shops are the real deal. Try them all and decide how you like your bánh mì!
#1 of 16 Best Banh Mi Sandwiches in the San Jose
Huong Lan is a staple bánh mì shop in San Jose. Fun fact- the bánh mì is often eaten as a breakfast food in Vietnam. This is probably why Huong Lan is open at 5 AM daily. A warm baguette, perfectly cooked meats, and the perfect meat to topping to sauce ratio set Huong Lan apart from other bánh mì in San Jose. Their bánh mì are also topped with crushed peanuts and deep-fried shallots which gives it a nice crunch. Popular flavors include barbeque pork and cha lua seasoned to perfection. Pure inexpensive excellence, Bánh mì at Huong Lan are about $5 each. It is a cash-only restaurant and often a line out front so don’t make sure to plan ahead.
#2 of 16 Top San Jose Banh Mi Spots
Duc Huong Gio Cha Sandwiches is another popular San Jose bánh mì shop with a line consistently wrapped around the building. Duc Huong Gio Cha is all about the bread. A good baguette is the basis of a good bánh mì so they are onto something right? Duc Huong Gio Cha have fresh baguettes baking all day. If you are a fan of garlic bread and Asian fusion then the bánh mì here are for you. Original flavors like the spicy Korean pork on Garlic Bread give these bánh mì a twist you can’t get anywhere else. Their garlic baguettes are salty, savory, and airy. The portions at Duc Huong Gio Cha are huge so be sure to bring a friend.
#3 of 16 Leading South Bay Bahn Mi Restuarants
South Bay bánh mì can’t be discussed without bringing Lee’s into the mix. Lee’s Sandwiches first opened in the 1980’s with the first location on Santa Clara street in downtown San Jose. Since then, Lee’s has opened over 60 locations across the country. Some people will tell you that Lee’s is the McDonald’s of Vietnamese food. However, it is a great starting-off point for people who have never tried a bánh mì. Their sandwiches are affordable, a big portion, and they have a variety of different flavors. They are also incredibly accessible with all their locations. Lee’s sandwiches also has a fantastic line of coffee drinks if you a bánh mì for breakfast kind of person.
#4 of 16 Top-Notch Banh Mi Sandwichess San Jose
With multiple locations throughout the South Bay, Bánh Mì Oven is must-try. They have a variety of flavors such as sardine, meatball, and chicken, but their pork patty is highly rated as the best. Bánh Mì Oven is slightly pricier than some of the other places in the area, but it is well worth it. And if you are a pâté fan, it is an extra add-on so be sure to ask for them to slather it on. Bánh Mì Oven has multiple iPads available upfront for an easy, no contact, and no socializing way to order. They also carry a variety of pre-packaged French Vietnamese goodies straight from Vietnam.
#5 of 16 Top Banh Mi Sandwiches in the San Jose
Are you having a hard time deciding what kind of bánh mì to order after reading this? Well good news, 111 Bakery is your answer. Their mini bánh mì are only $2.50, so you can try a ton of different kinds of bánh mì guilt-free. They have all the classics like barbecue pork belly, fermented beef, and ham. Their bánh mì come with all the fixing and have freshly made toppings. If you find a flavor you are obsessed with, the full-size bánh mì are only $4 so you can keep coming back for more. In terms of other bánh mì shops in the area, you really can’t beat their prices. They also have some pastries that are to die for, like the guava turnover.
#6 of 16 Leading San Jose Banh Mi Spots
Are you vegan or vegetarian? Well good news, Mint and Basil has got you covered! This popular vegan chain has multiple locations in San Jose. They have a variety of Asian fusion food and a whole line of bánh mì that are seriously delicious. If you are a faux meat fan, then Mint and Basil’s lemongrass or ginger nugget bánh mì are right up your alley. With convincing textures and flavors, their faux meat will fool even the serious meat eater. If you are a veggie person they have some fantastic vegetable bánh mì like their eggplant tofu or sauteed mushroom. They are saucy, warm, and all-around delicious.
#7 of 16 Top-Notch South Bay Bahn Mi Restuarants
Another San Jose staple bánh mì shop with a long line is Saigon Bakery. This place has something that sets it apart from the others, though: there are two bread options. You can pick from a classic French baguette or a smaller, round baguette. Both styles of bread are crispy on the outside but the round baguette is slightly softer on the inside if that is your thing. You also can’t beat the prices at Saigon Bakery. If you are feeding a family, they have a buy-two-get-one-free deal, too! That is three bánh mì for only $9. Did we mention they are also incredibly tasty?
#8 of 16 Best Banh Mi Sandwichess San Jose
Located in Mountain View, T Bread has a different feel than some of the other bánh mì shops in the area. T Bread is nicely decorated with ornate floors and a large glass case with freshly baked bread and pastries. Parking is easy and there is a small seating area outside. They have both classic bánh mì flavors like the grilled pork, and a great mushroom avocado option if you are looking for a new, vegetarian spin. If you want a little of everything then try the T Bird special. It has pâté, ham, pork roll, a fried egg, dried shredded pork, and is a foot long. If you think you still might be hungry, they also have spam avocado spring rolls that are insanely flavorful.
#9 of 16 Leading Banh Mi Sandwiches in the San Jose
Bánh mì and frozen yogurt, what more could you want? Dakao Sandwiches has both and is a downtown San Jose and bánh mì hotspot. Dakao has authentic bánh mì so if you are a pâté and cha lua fan then this place is for you. In addition to froyo, they also have a variety of spring rolls, cakes, vermicelli bowls, and pho. So if you are a fan of authentic Vietnamese food then you will love Dakao. Dakao also has great prices and you will get an incredibly affordable but large sandwich. Come hungry!
#10 of 16 Top-Notch San Jose Banh Mi Spots
If you are all about supporting a mom-and-pop shop, Cam Hung has great bánh mì and is family-owned. Located in Sunnyvale, Cam Hung has a variety of Vietnamese dishes and a great selection of bánh mì flavors. If you are a vegetarian, there are four different options including a fried tofu and a steamed tofu bánh mì. If you are a meat-eater, Cam Hung has the usual suspects like ham and pork, and some delicious original flavors like fried fish cake and pork hash. Cam Hung also has a delicious spam musubi if you're into that kind of thing.
#11 of 16 Best South Bay Bahn Mi Restuarants
Mommy’s Bánh Mì is a new restaurant located in downtown San Jose. They only have five flavors of bánh mì: shredded chicken, porchetta or pork belly, medallion (which is lemongrass pork and chicken), vegan, or vegetarian. Sometimes less is more and with fewer options to choose from, and they have more room to perfect what they offer. Mommy’s Bánh Mì also has a seriously addictive cilantro aioli that comes on their sandwiches. While this cilantro aioli is a very different twist on the classic, it complements their perfectly cooked meats and crusty bread. After you try Mommy’s Bánh Mì, you will want to take a bottle of that aioli home with you.
#12 of 16 Best Banh Mi Sandwiches in San Jose
Kim’s Sandwiches has been serving bánh mì in San Jose for over 20 years. Kim’s is a fantastic mom-and-pop shop run by an older Vietnamese couple. Their sandwiches are authentic and only about $5 each. Also, Kim’s does not skimp on the toppings! They are loaded with pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, meats, and slathered in a house-made mayonnaise. Their meats are seasoned to perfection. If you are a pâté fan, Kim’s pâté has an incredible texture and zing to it. If you aren’t a pâté fan then give it a try anyways and Kim’s will convert you. If you want bánh mì for a catered party to feed a crowd, they also have party trays!
#13 of 16 Top San Jose Banh Mi Spots
Jonty’s Vietnamese Eatery is a fantastic option if you are craving a bánh mì. They have authentic classics like Cha Lua and some original flavors you cannot find anywhere else. If you are in the mood for something a bit adventurous, I'd recommend their pesto tofu or steak with garlic-anchovy sauce. The garlic-anchovy sauce is seriously addicting and complements the crusty bread and pickled vegetables so well. You can also get everything that comes on a typical bánh mì as a salad, noodle bowl, or rice plate so there is truly something for everyone. Jonty’s is located at the Morgan Hill train station. They have a small outside eating area and there is a park for kids across the street.
#14 of 16 Leading South Bay Bahn Mi Restuarants
Thanh Huong has been making bánh mì in the South Bay for years now. The secret to their success is likely their baguettes. They make them all fresh, in-house, and they are always served warm. The bread is the perfect balance of crunchy on the outside and airy on the inside, and they stuff their bánh mì with a flawless ratio of fillings and generous portions. They also have a variety of other Vietnamese goodies including rice dishes, coffees, and spring rolls.
#15 of 16 Top-Notch Banh Mi San Jose
Bánh Mì Baguette has something that sets it apart from other bánh mì restaurants in the area, and it is their authentic Vietnamese mayonnaise. They make it from scratch and lather all of their sandwiches in it. It is the ultimate mayo that is tangy, zingy, creamy, and elevates their sandwiches to the next level. If you are a headcheese fan, then Bánh Mì Baguette has a sandwich you will love. And if you have never tried headcheese, just understand is not cheese at all, but actually a cold cut that's made from the head of a pig. It is chewy, crunchy, meaty, and slightly gelatinous. If you've never given it a try, then Bánh Mì Baguette is the place to do so!
#16 of 16 Top Banh Mi Sandwiches in the San Jose
Last but certainly not least, Yummee Sandwiches is a true gem located in Campbell. You cannot have a great bánh mì without great pickled daikon and carrots. The way these vegetables are julienned and the balance of sweet and acid is truly an art form. Yummee Sandwiches nails the pickled daikon and carrots every time. They also make a mouth-watering crispy pork belly bánh mì. If you like milk teas and boba there are a ton of different flavors to choose from. Jasmine milk tea and a pork belly bánh mì? Sounds like the perfect afternoon. We will meet you there.