Saigon City: A Banh Mi That Does the Trick

Categories: Eat This
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There's a sizable Vietnamese population in D.C. where I moved from, so it's easy to find decent pho and a respectable banh mi. Here? Tougher to find either: It appears South Florida isn't having the same banh mi love affair as elsewhere, which seems about right, since Vietnamese immigrants don't exactly dominate the area's demographics.

One place that's been on the radar is Saigon City in Lauderhill, where I sampled both dishes for lunch. It was here I kicked off "Where Are We Drinking?" last week with avocado bubble tea.

Pho is tremendous for a rainy day: a beef broth with rice noodles, shaved beef or some meat variation, scallions, Thai basil, jalapeno, hot chilis or Sriracha, and bean sprouts among other things.


As fun as it is playing mad scientist doctoring a soup with condiments and heat, I crave pho for the broth, made with roasted beef bones, then steeped with caramelized onions and infused with star anise and cinnamon. Once I was at a pho shop while a guy picked up five quarts of it. "What are you cooking?" I asked. "I drink a couple glasses every day for breakfast." It's so delicious I can see why.

A steaming bowl at Saigon City teased the memory of delicious pho, but the broth was disappointingly salty. I slurped through to access flavors I have missed, occasionally sipping broth, wishing it were lovely. Instead, it was like drinking sand.

The banh mi was better, a traditional grilled pork sandwich without the pate layer, heaped with pickled carrots, cucumbers, jalapeno, painted with fish sauce, and garnished with handful of cilantro. The key here is the bread: a French demi-baguette with a crusty exterior and an airy, flavorful crumb. Wrapped like a package in waxed paper, circled with a rubber band, the sandwich and its presentation did not disappoint.


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Location Info

Saigon City Vietnamese Restaurant

4301 N. State Road 7, Lauderhill, FL

Category: Restaurant


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8 comments
scott medvin
scott medvin

i'm partial to the pho at Basilic in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea...

PhoTastic
PhoTastic

i think Saigon City's pho is the best in South Florida. If it's too salty, perhaps you put too much soy in it. (I don't put in any).

Kvance1971
Kvance1971

South Floridians love to brag about the "diversity" of the population here, but there are very few Asians.  There are fewer Vietnamese, Korean, and (real) Chinese restaurants here than probably any city of similar size in the country.  Sad, really.

HWDGAL
HWDGAL

As a former Dc resident I so miss the vietnamese foods and markets that I used to frequent, especially just outside DC in the suburbs..Down here very few options try pho78, not bad def authentic

Jcb7472
Jcb7472

I think it's also the climate of South FL. People don't exactly start craving a bowl of hot soup when it's 80-something degrees and humid outside

Melissamccart
Melissamccart

I never use soy in pho. it was just salty on its own. i'll go back to try again. I want to love pho somewhere. And thanks for the rec Scott. I'd heard mixed things but I'll go to Basilic if I can keep myself away from Sea and Jo Jo's over there.

Melissamccart
Melissamccart

Thanks! I miss it. I've been making a couple things I've been missing, but I'm not ambitious enough for broth.

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