Banh Mi Girl is a fantastic spot near the Byward Market to enjoy Vietnamese food. The name, Banh Mi refers to a kind of Vietnamese sandwich served on a baguette. On the menu, you’ll find Banh Mi and two types of bao (plus any daily specials they might have. The three standard menu items are Saigon banh mi $7, pork belly bao, and braised beef bao $5. When I visited Banh Mi Girl also had two daily specials of duck bao $7, mushroom & tofu bao $6.
If you’ve never had a Banh Mi, it is a flavor-packed sandwich with cilantro, pickled daikon, pickled carrot, cucumber, Vietnamese ham, pork patties, slow roasted pork belly, pate, and chili served on a fresh baguette. Meanwhile, the other item on the menu is Banh bao, which translates to “cakes that wrap something” in Vietnamese and is a steamed bun filled with toppings. There are two basic shapes of Banh bao, either a bun with toppings inside, or similar to a taco, and at Banh Mi Girl it is the later.
As bao is one of my favorite foods as Iove the light, soft bread I ordered the braised beef bao and duck bao for dinner. Both bao were extraordinary with super tender meat and flavor-packed sauces. $12 I left full and had a delicious meal.
The small shop only has one long table with just a few seats and is best suited for takeaway. When I visited, I did surprisingly find plenty of seats available, so I decided to dine inside. The interior is fantastic with a huge neon pink sign that made me laugh, as it says “feed me Banh Mi and tell me I’m pretty” and a huge poster Anthony Bourdain who was one of the main inspirations for me working as a travel writer.
Banh Mi Girl is open only until they sell out of food, with a neon sign in the front window to let you know when they have sold out. If you are looking for a hearty meal the Saigon banh mi or two bao should do the trick. Feeling extra hungry? Perhaps make it three bao.