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A platter with fried crab Rangoon, dumplings and a sandwich.
Phobox is open inside the Old Post Office.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Where to Eat Banh Mi in Chicago

From traditional to newer spins with Korean and Filipino influences

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Phobox is open inside the Old Post Office.
| Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Usually comprising a crusty roll, pickled veggies, fresh herbs, hot chiles, pate, and a protein, the banh mi is a traditional dish that invites creativity. Regardless of what’s inside, a great banh mi is always a spicy, tangy, rich masterclass in flavor and texture. With a vast population of Vietnamese restaurants that offer everything from barbecued jackfruit and ginger chicken to savory ham and crispy pork, Chicago is home to many stellar iterations of the dish.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Saigon Sisters

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Run by actual sisters Mary Nguyen Aregoni and Theresa Nguyen (alongside their mother, Mama Suu), Saigon Sisters opened in 2009 in the Chicago French Market, followed by locations in Northwestern Memorial Hospital and West Loop. The spicy-creamy Porky is a must, while the barbecue jackfruit version is a worthwhile vegetarian option.

Ba Le Sandwiches

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Ba Le is the brainchild of chef Le Vo, who opened restaurants in San Jose and Chicago in the ‘80s after decades of cooking in Vietnam. Its long list of options includes char siu pork, vegan lemongrass chicken (made with king oyster mushrooms), and a lemon-fish sauce shrimp version.

Bon Bon Sandwiches

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This Wicker Park haven does traditional banh mi the right way, but also has solid fusion options like Thai coconut curry chicken (or seitan) and Korean bulgogi beef. While the fringe offerings are enticing, you can’t go wrong with a classic, whether straight ahead or vegan, which features walnut-mushroom pate.

Nhu Lan Bakery

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Nhu Lan Bakery, who bakes their bread fresh daily and has a menu of around 20 sandwiches, is basically synonymous with banh mi in Chicago. You can’t go wrong with anything from this Lincoln Square staple. That said, there’s a reason that the first item on the banh mi menu is named after the restaurant.

Lotus Cafe & Banh Mi Sandwich

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Many know Lotus Cafe as a University Village mainstay — owners Dao Nguyen and Kim Dao are former UIC students — but with a number of locations across town, all have access. A small-but-mighty banh mi menu includes honey grilled pork, sauteed rib-eye with sunny-side up egg, and the Veggiecado (crispy tofu, soy, avocado, sweet chili sauce).

CoCo Vietnamese Sandwiches & Phở

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This affordable and lauded Ravenswood spot offers classics like lemongrass pork and grilled beef, as well as traditional egg and shredded chicken sandwiches. For those looking to branch out, the pho game is strong and the vermicelli bowls don’t disappoint.

Nhà Hàng Vietnam Restaurant

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Uptown Vietnamese spot Nha Hang’s banh mi sandwiches feature “sour carrots” alongside radish, jalapeno, and green onion for a fresh, punchy bite. Its vast menu also offers hot pot and countless noodle soups.

Bánh Mì & Co

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When a restaurant is named for a dish (or vice versa), it can really go one of two ways. In the case of Lakeview’s Banh Mi & Co., it indicates a specialty worth trying. The banh mi menu is full of classics; a vegetarian and vegan menu adds a couple more options, like lemongrass tofu and seitan.

Del Seoul

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Known for Korean tacos and wings, don’t sleep on Del Seoul’s sandwich offerings. Predictably, they lean Korean with bulgogi and a crispy fried shrimp version with a sweet sesame glaze. Del Seoul is a bright spot along Clark Street in Lincoln Park.

A collaboration between Phodega, the Wicker Park Vietnamese restaurant, and Chicago Lunchbox, a food truck, Phobox brings a variety of Asian flavors to the Old Post Office’s food hall (From Here On). The menu includes banh mi in Korean beef, “the dip” (with a side of pho as jus), Vietnamese pork, and a Filipino-style longanisa.

A platter with fried crab Rangoon, dumplings and a sandwich.
Phobox’s offerings include a Filipino banh mi with longanisa.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Saigon Sisters

Run by actual sisters Mary Nguyen Aregoni and Theresa Nguyen (alongside their mother, Mama Suu), Saigon Sisters opened in 2009 in the Chicago French Market, followed by locations in Northwestern Memorial Hospital and West Loop. The spicy-creamy Porky is a must, while the barbecue jackfruit version is a worthwhile vegetarian option.

Ba Le Sandwiches

Ba Le is the brainchild of chef Le Vo, who opened restaurants in San Jose and Chicago in the ‘80s after decades of cooking in Vietnam. Its long list of options includes char siu pork, vegan lemongrass chicken (made with king oyster mushrooms), and a lemon-fish sauce shrimp version.

Bon Bon Sandwiches

This Wicker Park haven does traditional banh mi the right way, but also has solid fusion options like Thai coconut curry chicken (or seitan) and Korean bulgogi beef. While the fringe offerings are enticing, you can’t go wrong with a classic, whether straight ahead or vegan, which features walnut-mushroom pate.

Nhu Lan Bakery

Nhu Lan Bakery, who bakes their bread fresh daily and has a menu of around 20 sandwiches, is basically synonymous with banh mi in Chicago. You can’t go wrong with anything from this Lincoln Square staple. That said, there’s a reason that the first item on the banh mi menu is named after the restaurant.

Lotus Cafe & Banh Mi Sandwich

Many know Lotus Cafe as a University Village mainstay — owners Dao Nguyen and Kim Dao are former UIC students — but with a number of locations across town, all have access. A small-but-mighty banh mi menu includes honey grilled pork, sauteed rib-eye with sunny-side up egg, and the Veggiecado (crispy tofu, soy, avocado, sweet chili sauce).

CoCo Vietnamese Sandwiches & Phở

This affordable and lauded Ravenswood spot offers classics like lemongrass pork and grilled beef, as well as traditional egg and shredded chicken sandwiches. For those looking to branch out, the pho game is strong and the vermicelli bowls don’t disappoint.

Nhà Hàng Vietnam Restaurant

Uptown Vietnamese spot Nha Hang’s banh mi sandwiches feature “sour carrots” alongside radish, jalapeno, and green onion for a fresh, punchy bite. Its vast menu also offers hot pot and countless noodle soups.

Bánh Mì & Co

When a restaurant is named for a dish (or vice versa), it can really go one of two ways. In the case of Lakeview’s Banh Mi & Co., it indicates a specialty worth trying. The banh mi menu is full of classics; a vegetarian and vegan menu adds a couple more options, like lemongrass tofu and seitan.

Del Seoul

Known for Korean tacos and wings, don’t sleep on Del Seoul’s sandwich offerings. Predictably, they lean Korean with bulgogi and a crispy fried shrimp version with a sweet sesame glaze. Del Seoul is a bright spot along Clark Street in Lincoln Park.

Phobox

A platter with fried crab Rangoon, dumplings and a sandwich.
Phobox’s offerings include a Filipino banh mi with longanisa.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

A collaboration between Phodega, the Wicker Park Vietnamese restaurant, and Chicago Lunchbox, a food truck, Phobox brings a variety of Asian flavors to the Old Post Office’s food hall (From Here On). The menu includes banh mi in Korean beef, “the dip” (with a side of pho as jus), Vietnamese pork, and a Filipino-style longanisa.

A platter with fried crab Rangoon, dumplings and a sandwich.
Phobox’s offerings include a Filipino banh mi with longanisa.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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