A city's foodscape needs to have a good balance of everything: the high, the low, the cheap, the cheerful. The Banh Mi stall in the Capital Market needs to be given some airtime as one of the best banh mi spots in the city. It's certainly cheap and it's certainly cheerful at $7.50 a pop.
Its little bolthole in the market isn't the most ambient spot you could imagine — we're not even sure what the stall's name is. For geographical reference, it's on the Victoria St side of the market around to the left as you walk in. Appearances aside (this is not what the review is about), the little banh mi spot's beauty lies in the way that you can walk in and walk out with an ace lunch in hand in less than ten minutes.
Let's talk about the baguette. Vietnamese-French cuisine is known for taking the essential elements of French food and freshening them up with zingy flavours and an innate way of using acids to lighten their dishes. The baguette that hosts your banh mi filling is perfect — not overly thick and chewy as rustic French bread can be, but light and crisp with the slightest tension as you bite into its lightly toasted, warm crust. It has substance without giving your jaw a workout. The meats are always perfectly slow cooked and seasoned, not overwhelming in flavour but giving the sandwich the right level of umami without competing with the and spreads of the sandwich. The greens are what you'd expect, fresh Vietnamese flavours of lettuce, coriander and spring onion with pickled carrot and capsicum to give the banh mi a decent hit of bright crunch.
In short, this is the little banh mi place that could. Make sure you stop off for lunch sometime soon (and don't share this article around too much. Just kidding, this place needs talking about).