Today, under the hot 36 degree celsius in Nice, we five young men and women were desperately looking for a place that we called “taste of home”, which sells banh mi, bo bun, and bubble tea. “BANH MEÏ” is located in Vieux Nice – one of the most touristic place in Nice, France.
What is banh mi? To be honest, writing or talking about banh mi can take forever because its origin and its unique but what I can tell you now is that banh mi is one of the highlights in Vietnamese’s street food. Banh mi is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of breads, especially baguettes that was presented during the time when France dominated Vietnam. Banh mi is mostly eaten like a sandwich with a lot of ingredients inside such as grilled pork, pâté, cilantro, cucumber, carrot, soy sauce, mayonnaise, Vietnamese sausage…Basically, you can ask to stuff inside your banh mi whatever ingredient you like. I personally grew up eating banh mi for breakfast before school, for lunch, or even for dinner. Banh mi is that easy to love and get addicted to. Once you had it, you surely want more, and I can promise you that.
It took us 30 minutes to find BANH MEÏ even though it is literally five minutes walking from our favorite ice cream place. Blame it on the heat! This little “sandwicherie” (sandwich shop) looks very cute from the outside with white and red tables but once again, it was too hot to sit outside. We quickly went in to order food. I ordered banh mi with boeuf sésame (sesame beef) and chocolate bubble tea and the rest, they all got banh mi with xa xiu (grilled pork) and mango, banana, vanilla, and watermelon bubble tea.
Honestly, this is the first time I had to wait 15 minutes for a banh mi and a cup of bubble tea. I was telling myself that the longer I wait, the better the food is but it did not come true. The quality of the food here definitely needs to improve big time. The baguettes felt like it had been bought from two days ago because it was not crunchy or fresh, it was very chewy instead. The stuffings inside were also a disappointment, the marinated carrot was too salty, my sesame beef was stone cold like it just got out of the fridge, and the grilled pork tasted like nothing. Moving on to the bubble tea, all of them seriously needed more flavor and sweetness. We could not tell which was which since they were all very plain. The black tapioca was very hard and small. Yet, they have many different types of tapioca which we did not have the chance to try it all.
However, I am not trying to be too critical or too harsh on BANH MEÏ. They do have potential to become bigger and more famous with all the advantages they have now. They just need to fix their recipes and improve the quality of the food. It was not a bad meal at all, maybe since we all had “real” banh mi and bubble tea before, we know what do they really taste like, that’s why we were comparing to those that we had.
But let’s put the food to the side for a little bit, BANH MEÏ indeed invests a lot on its decoration. It looks attractively cute, clean, and neat. The girl who served us today was friendly and professional (she also well pronounced banh mi like a true Vietnamese). BANH MEÏ is the place that you and your group of friend can hang out and have a different afternoon snack beside ice cream or crêpes. I bet if they have more supports and guests coming in, they will eventually become better and better. So if any of my readers currently lives in France, or Nice in particular, don’t forget to drop by and check it out BANH MEÏ and show some LOVE.
Location: 7/10 Delivery: No
Service: 5/10 Take out: Yes
Food: 4.5/10 Order online: No
Opening hours: 11.30am – 7pm
For specific menu and price, check out BANH MEÏ’s official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BANHMEI
Until next time, stay freaky.