Chow down in CT

Best Banh Mi

Kien Oriental Market
1801 Park St. Hartford, CT 06106

Growing up in Bridgeport, a very diverse city, there are a plethora of restaurants serving different ethnic foods.  One of those foods is the banh mi.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, banh mi is a French-influenced Vietnamese sandwich.  It usually is smeared with homemade pate and a homemade mayonnaise concoction or garlic butter.  It also comes with some sort of meat and veggies (cucumber, cilantro, and pickled daikon radish and carrots), and slivers of chili peppers if you want your sandwich spicy.  I grew up eating this, getting it from Mimi’s, a bodega-style store.  It was the tastiest sandwich and cheap for only $3.00.  I was so upset when the store closed because there wasn’t any Vietnamese restaurant whose sandwich compared to theirs until my best friend had mentioned there was a place in Hartford.  It’s called Kien Oriental Market.  When you first enter, it looks like a little supermarket with several aisles selling Asian products.  If you walk to the back of the store, you’ll see a kitchen and eating area.  They sell other Vietnamese dishes, but their sandwiches are the best and they are inexpensive.

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I always get the #1 Vietnamese style cold cuts and the #2 which has grilled beef.  For both sandwiches, the baguettes are toasted, although that is optional.  The meats are flavorful, coupled by the tanginess of the pickled daikon radishes and carrots, and a kick if you get the chili peppers.  If I am in the area for a workshop or my parents want to stop at A Dong, the Asian Supermarket, I always make sure I stop at Kien to pick up sandwiches.