Bon Banhmi: The Search For The Hidden Banhmi in Makati

It is not so new that the Vietnamese love their banhmi just as we love our pandesal. Although in general, banhmi is but another name for 'bread' in Vietnam, mainly in the form of a baguette, the type which was introduced by the French during the time they colonized the said country. It's a shame that I've never been to Vietnam yet (although I plan to, it's one of the more affordable places to travel in Asia) but I find it as sheer luck when someone told me that you can have good banhmi which is available in Makati without buying a ticket to Vietnam.

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When my friend Neri messaged me on Facebook a few weeks ago, she said that she wanted me to try the this authentic banhmi shop in Makati called Bon Banhmi. Neri is the wife of my former officemate (and owns www.themonsterwife.com) who I became instantly close with the first few times we met. It's been a few years since I last saw her, so I was thinking it'll be great to catch up with her soon. Prior to that, she was also invited by her friend Tetchie Le, who is the sister of Anne, Bon Banhmi's owner. To make it short, it was a double reunion :))

Weeks passed until we finally saw each other two Saturdays ago. That day, me and JV had a hard time dealing with the traffic just to get to Makati, and we even struggled going to Mandaluyong where we had to pick-up Neri. An instant registration to Waze, getting lost on the road, and one hiphop playlist later using Spotify (I had to do this in so JV won't get bored and sleepy and blame me for the traffic eventually hehe), we found ourselves along Mayapis Street in front of the small and humble Bon Banhmi store. There is no aircon, with only one table and four seats. The shop is connected to a simple residential home, and if you take a peek on the left side going inside, you can see an area where the breads are usually made.

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Now, in all honesty, I am fully aware of what banhmi is, but I don't think I had the real one EVER. Having to travel in Palawan last year, I was able to try their decent chaolong (or local pho) and their banhmi, which was rather in the form of a mini baguette-sized stale white bread, ketchup and a small slice of meat.

Looking at the menu, it seems promising (for now). I was actually shocked when I saw that the sandwiches are priced at P79.00 for their medium banhmi and P99.00 for the large banhmi. Was I in for a disappointing treat? The least I can think about is a small sandwich that cannot compensate all the hunger I had during that traffic jam earlier that day.

What's even worse was that they were already closed, but they had to keep the store open because they were expecting us.

You wouldn't believe that Bon Banhmi, on a Saturday, closed at around 5:00PM because they're already sold out. Imagine, they make 150 sandwiches per day and everyday it's sold out!? Just...stunning!

The good news was that they managed to reserve three large sandwiches for us, so we just had to choose which kind we want. Whew. I do hope it's big (while I crossed my fingers).
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I opted for the Traditional Banhmi, while Neri and JV chose the Fire Beef Banhmi.

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There are a few other varieties of banhmi at Bon Banhmi, like the Optional Banhmi, which I find a bit confusing, but I think it's just adding their special pate, mayonnaise, or both to your preferred banhmi. They also serve Vietnamese Coffee, which is more popular with it's own coffee filter that you can place on top of your coffee cup. Artichoke Tea is something we also wanted to try, since it's considered a healthy option for iced tea.

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I'm also quite fascinated that they offer Vietnamese Spring Rolls, but only during weekends. The fried version is cheaper than the fresh spring rolls, and they sell it for a minimum order of five pieces. I really love Vietnamese spring rolls, and though I find them a bit expensive when having them at Vietnamese restaurants, I sometimes do them at home so it's more affordable and of course, I get to have bigger servings (demonic laugh straight ahead)

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Bon Banhmi manages to make their special pate using only fresh ingredients. I wasn't able to ask though what it's made of exactly, but usually it's made of chicken liver and spices. It's truly one of the essential ingredients for making authentic banhmi.

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The Artichoke Tea, on the other hand, is said to enhance my immunity system, promotes delay in aging, lowers cholesterol, detoxifies the liver, and is good for your skin.

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After getting a bit excited about our orders, it turned out that the artichoke tea was just like iced tea. I thought it's the hot tea but apparently, I was wrong. Stoked (and hungry) as I was, we got our sandwiches a few minutes after. I remembered having to buy baguettes at The French Baker and packed in this similar paper bags where each sandwich fits perfectly.

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I asked Neri and JV to open their sandwich bags so we can see what Bon Banhmi is really all about. I was surprised to witness a big sandwich, cut into threes (as requested), and looking extra scrumptious. The bread was lightly toasted so it was warm and fresh from their small toaster oven.

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P99.00 and it's this big? I smiled, while slowly swallowing my pride. Hahaha. Amazing!

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My Traditional Banhmi was very exquisite, unique, and unlike any sandwich I have tried in Manila. It was filled with all the ingredients which is supposed to be in a good banhmi: pork lean meat, sated shredded meat, boiled meat, jambon (a type of ham), their Bon Banhmi special pate, mayonnaise, cucumbers, cilantro, and their special brown sauce made. The bread was soft and chewy as it brings everything together without the ingredients falling off of it. The bread was an instant hit, and so was the filling.

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Meanwhile, the Fire Beef Banhmi was made from ground meat, cilantro, that same brown sauce, and a mild chili sauce that won't burn your tongue. It was soft, savory, and delicious. Both sandwiches were big, and thankfully I was stuffed! Although I wish they had more.

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The verdict? I loved it! Bon Banhmi is definitely a hole-in-a-wall banhmi joint that is worth having on a bad day. Along with their artichoke tea, 'twas a simple yet satisfying combination indeed. It's the banhmi like I never had before.

And just so you know, one of their secrets is that they bake their bread fresh daily, and that their baker was basically flew in to the Philippines from Vietnam, so what is achieved is good baked bread that's even better than most places who sells baguette in the metro. So you are sure to get the freshest sandwich every single time. Also, take note that they don't use their leftover baguettes the day after. Instead, they make sweet toasted bread out of it (shaped like our local biscocho) and sell it for only P25.00.

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Thank you Neri and Tetchie for sharing with us your friendship over a slice of banhmi. And with that, I craved for it the next day and had it delivered to my office for lunch (yes, it's that good). They have free delivery if you're within Makati area.

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Bon Banhmi is located in Mayapis Street in Makati (near Avida)
For deliveries, you may call them at 8087979

Check them out online:
Bon Banhmi Official Facebook Page
Bon Banhmi Official Website

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*Disclaimer: The following post is written from the author's own thoughts and views on Bon Banhmi. 

  

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