Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Banhmi 11 @ Broadway Market, London

After my disappointing search for banh mi in Melbourne, I was adamant to get one in London. Upon checking out the reviews from local bloggers on the various banh mi(s) available in the city, I settled on the famous Banhmi 11. They do not have a permanent shop as far as I'm aware, so I had to settle for their mobile stall at Broadway Market. They are stationed there every Saturday and you can check out their website for their schedule on other days.
Among all the locations listed on their website, Broadway Market is one of the nearer ones to the city centre. Having said that, it is still quite a distance to get to the market and I had to purposely make a detour from my itinerary to get there. They are also open on Mondays at Berwick Street Market at Soho but unfortunately, I only had time on Saturday =( Anyway the point is, if you're planning on getting to Broadway Market, do make sure to get a detailed map as it is quite a distance (for us Asians) from the tube station.
There are lots to see at Broadway Market but do take note that it is one of the smaller markets. In any case, there are fresh produce, homemade jam and preserves, ethnic food stalls and lovely flowers. There is also a park nearby called London Fields where you can chill, soak up the sunshine (if the sun has not gone into hiding) or enjoy typical British blustery winds and watch the world go by =P
Huge banner to ensure you don't miss it
Banhmi 11 seems to be managed by a family as there is a group of teenagers helping to man the stall and cope with the never-ending orders.
Chalkboard menu
The accompaniments
Each banh mi consists of pickled carrot and radish, cucumber and coriander nestled in a freshly baked French baguette. You'll be asked if you want your banh mi spicy and once the go-ahead is given, the salad gets a generous splash of cili padi (bird's eye chillies) and soy sauce.
The baguette is crusty and warm and provides a good base for the filling. The taste of the Vietnamese salad was rather mild - I prefer it to have a sharper zing of vinegar.
Op La Di Beef (GBP 4.50)
The Op La Di Beef has a wonderful aroma from the sizzling grill and the thinly sliced sirloin steak is very tender and flavourful, not a surprise since it has been marinated in a unique pear BBQ sauce. It  goes well with the pickled Vietnamese salad and it is kind of like eating an Asian dish in a bun. 
Crackling Pork Belly (GBP 4.50)
The Crackling Pork Belly consists of roasted pork in lemon juice and five spice powder. There was not much crackling in my sandwich and most of the time, my bites consisted of bread and salad only. Also, after being compressed in the bun, some of the crackling got a bit soggy and soft. But when you do get a bite of crispy crackling, salad and bread, what a superb explosion of yumminess in your mouth!
Perhaps I kept imagining the yummy taste of banh mi and kept my expectations too high but when I finally tried it, it was...average. I would have given it a higher rating if the taste was more pronounced. Nevertheless, it was a good experience eating an Asian baguette which is not yet available on Malaysian shores.
PawPoints: 3 Paws
Banhmi 11
Tube: Bethnal Green
Broadway Market
Sat: 10am - 5pm

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