The two most famous and craved foods in the Viet world are bánh mì sandwiches and phở noodle soups. Bánh mì is the love child spawn from a match made in gastroheaven during the French colonization of Vietnam, circa 1900s, aka the French Indochina. How else could a baguette sandwich rule a country of rice and noodles? The bánh mì is half French—baguette, pate, mayo, cold cuts, and half Vietnamese—pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, cucumber and fish sauce.
My quest for the BEST bánh mì in Utah took over a decade (what?!). And the winner is Hồng Phát Market (yay!) in West Valley (the hood of Salt Lake) on 3100 South and Redwood, a mom-and-pop grocery and fish market specializing in everything Vietnamese. It might seem a little shady from the road but go in (trust me!) and walk straight to the back, to the hot deli counter stacked with grab-and-go and witness the tight action.
|Hồng Phát Market, 3086 S Redwood Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84119, 801-975-1534|
The open and overcrowded kitchen will be run by two or three workers at any given time, multitasking between prepping soups and curries and tapioca desserts, frying eggrolls, steaming rice cakes and rolling spring rolls all day long to the secret recipes of the owner of the market. So old school, fresh and fabulous! Wait your turn and put in an order for that specialty bánh mì sandwich. Hồng Phát's bánh mì does it right by using the very specific golden Vietnamese baguette, housecured meats and fresh herbs.
Bánh mì đặc biệt, $3 each - This is the "special combo" Saigon-style version filled with traditional bánh mì accoutrements of pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber, spreadable liver pâté, housemade butter and a pile of cold cuts—steamed and roasted pork, head cheese and tasty housemade chả lụa, the popular Vietnamese steamed meat loaf. I order it with extra pâté.
The Vietnamese baguette is made using a high proportion of rice flour to wheat flour, resulting in an airy, crackly and flaky, yet ultralight, crust. Nothing like the dense, hard-crusted, chewy sourdough or Italian baguettes.
The texture and flavor combo is brilliant—pickled veggie crunch, strong peppery meats, splash of salty fish sauce, fresh herbs, flaky baguette. There's nothing like it! After having a bánh mì, the only street sandwich of Vietnam, the Western sandwich will never have the same appeal ever again!
In addition to Hồng Phát's fabulous bánh mì sandwiches, I love their take-out noodle soups! The broth, noodles and add-ins are packaged separately for heating up at home.
Hủ tiếu Nam Vang, $5 - In this noodle bowl: chewy clear tapioca noodles, slices of roasted pork, ground pork and black fungus, pork liver, bean sprouts, shrimp, Chinese chive and lime wedges.
This broth is served cold (hence, the solid floating fat). It is probably a clear stock of dried shrimp, dried squid, pork bones and rock sugar.
Heat the broth in a small pot until it lightly boils and add everything, stirring, until it lightly boils again. Done! So easy.
Pour into a large deep bowl, squeeze lime and ENJOY! Hot, delicious and slurpy! I always add a dab of chili paste for a kick. The long flat Chinese chive flavors....omg.Bún bò Huế, $5 - This is a spicy noodle bowl from the central region of Huế containing: rice noodles, Vietnamese steamed meat loaf, beef shank, oxtail, chopped shiso leaf, mint, lettuce, bean sprouts, lime.
Located on the corner of 3100 South and Redwood Road.
3086 S Redwood Rd
Salt Lake City, UT 94119