It’s hard to miss this modest shop on the top floor of Myanmar Plaza, nestled between the much larger Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop and Yogurtland, because of the wafting smells of freshly toasted baguettes as they get hit with a spread of heady pate.
There is a general commotion on this floor, where most of the restaurants — like Manhattan’s Fish Market, Shwe Lar Hot Pot, Indian Tadka and the Korean Fried chicken chain Bonchon — are located. However, there is a concentration of energy around My Banh Mi, a tiny but mighty establishment that is regularly churning out toasted Vietnamese-style baguette sandwiches packed with fresh ingredients and flavor.
It’s herbaceous and savory, it’s tangy and toasty — it’s everything you ever want in a sandwich. It’s the perfect marriage between Vietnamese and French cuisine, an unlikely mash-up made possible after the French introduced pate and baguettes to Vietnam during the country’s colonial days.
This latter one is the sweet spot in which My Banh Mi really excels — delivering single serving baguettes packed with a meat filling of your choice (chicken, beef, pork, or fish), a layer of pate, chiles (hot or not, but we prefer the heat), all topped with pickled vegetables and their house hoisin sauce and mayo.
Despite the queues of customers, the staff of four worked quickly behind the counter in a tiny 4×6 foot space, moving in sync like a well-oiled machine, handing out sandwich after sandwich, hot off the press.
These sandwiches are the best fresh-baked bargain you’ll find in town: The prices range from 1,300 kyats (a little under one US dollar) to 2,100 kyats (a little over a dollar).
One of their banh mi makes for a nice snack, while two is more than a meal. They also make 100% organic fruit juice from carrots, watermelon and centella asiatica or Asian pennywort, all of which go refreshingly well with the strong flavors of the pickled vegetables and pate.
The baguettes are toasted just right, balancing the vegetables and the spicy green chili with the strong flavors of the pate and meat. Without compromising the structural integrity of the bread, the hoisin sauce and mayo helps bring the sandwich together with a sweetness that ties the whole thing together.
The shop had its humble beginnings as a food truck in downtown Yangon, in the culinarily blessed streets of Yaw Min Gyi. Since then, they’ve moved to a brick-and-mortar location in Myanmar Plaza and has been a sensation with locals and expats alike. All the while, they’ve stayed true to their mom-and-pop feel — always using all their ingredients, down to the baguette, which are toasted after being filled to the brim with meat, herbs and vegetables, delivered fresh to each customer after ordering.
They now have two physical locations — one in Myanmar Plaza and one in South Okkalapa — although the latter is more of a spruced up pit-stop for their old food truck. While the South Okkalapa location is a ways away for most, Myanmar Plaza is only 15-minutes away from most of Yangon’s residential neighborhoods — provided the traffic is cooperative.
My Banh Mi is located on the top floor of Myanmar Plaza
Open from 9 AM to 9 PM, daily
Other location: No. 439 (B) , Ward 10, Thitsar Road in South Okkalapa