It used to be that in order to find a banh mi sandwich in Wichita, you had to travel to Midtown.
But with the recent opening of Banh Mi Ngon, things have changed. This small eatery, located at Central and Woodlawn, specializes in the delicious Vietnamese sandwich and also serves pastries and drinks made in-house.
The dining room has the feel of a small coffee house. There are plush couches and chairs, just a few tables, and Wi-fi. It is a perfect space to relax, enjoy good food, and perhaps get some work done.
The menu centers on banh mi, the traditional French-influenced Vietnamese sandwich. Diners can fill their sandwiches with beef, chicken or pork, and each one comes topped with jalapenos, sliced cucumber, cilantro, carrots, and Vietnamese mayonnaise, all served on homemade French baguette.
In addition, the restaurant offers croissants stuffed with cream cheese or chocolate and a savory pastry called Bird’s Nest, made with sausage, onion, cheese and shredded chicken. The restaurant also offers spring rolls and a daily special.
On our visit, we ordered the traditional combination sandwich ($4.25) with ham, pork roll, and charisu pork (thinly sliced braised pork), a grilled pork sandwich ($4.25), a savory pastry ($2.49), a chocolate-filled croissant ($1.99) and a glass of homemade soy milk.
I was impressed with with the quality and quantity of the ingredients in our sandwiches. The veggies were fresh and crisp, while the meat was tender and lean. I was especially impressed with the ham, which had small pieces of pickled pig’s ear mixed in. For the less adventurous, I recommend the glazed pork banh mi. The sweetness of the thinly sliced pork balanced nicely with the jalapenos.
The baguette was appropriately sized as to not swallow up the filling of the sandwich, and while it was high-quality bread, I would have liked it to be crustier. The Bird Nest pastry was made on the baguette and was a delicious snack. Someone could make a killing selling these outside of bars at 2 a.m.
The dessert croissant was amazing. You really can’t go wrong with a good pastry filled with semi-sweet morsels, although it was not as flaky as I like. The homemade soy milk had a hint of ginger to it and was refreshing.
Banh Mi Ngon is a counter service restaurant, and our server/cashier was very helpful in explaining the menu and offering samples. The prices were reasonable as our total meal was under $20. For those you with small children there are no high chairs, so carryout is probably your best bet.