Banh mi is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich that packs in many different vibrant flavours and textures into a crunchy baguette. While Dubai didn’t have Vietnamese options when the Frying Pan sisters were growing up, we do have some excellent options in the city today. Our co-founder Arva featured one of these places, Saigon Station, on this week’s episode of Cheap Eats on the Dubai 92 radio station.
What’s This Week’s Cheap Eat?
Saigon Station started 4 years ago in Silicon Oasis, and if its Google reviews are anything to go by, it’s gained quite a fan following. In early 2023, it opened a second branch in Business Bay. Both branches serve the traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi in a baguette that is made by the restaurant itself. The proof of an authentic Banh Mi is in the crunch of its baguette — and this one doesn’t disappoint.
Their 28 dirham sandwich is quite the massive monster. Butter, housemade pate, pickled carrots and cucumber, heaps of coriander, chili, chicken shreds, beef curls and jellified chicken stock are all snuck into a baguette. Eating it is no small feat; you need to really smash the sandwich down so that all the flavours come together when you take a bite.
You can find Saigon Station Restaurant on Google Maps here.
Tune in to the segment using this audio recap or check out the transcript below.
It’s Dubai 92, you’re with Jono and Nats and it’s our Wednesday we get to do my favorite thing, talk about food with the food guru of gurus, Arva from Frying Pan Adventures.
Arva, good to have you back again this week. Where are we off to and what are you treating us to with your taste buds?
Alright, we’re gonna have one of my favorite, all-time favorite sandwiches, which is the Vietnamese banh mi, and we’re going to have it at Saigon station. This is their newer branch in Business Bay.
Tell us more about the sandwich and what’s in it and how much coriander are we talking? The right amount? Or are they being, you know, scrimping on the coriander?
No, no, no, there’s lots of coriander. So the key for a fantastic Vietnamese Banh Mi is actually the baguette. It has to just be like when you knock on it, there should be that gorgeous crisp crunch hollow sound and that is what they get spot on because they are making their baguettes on premises. So they’re actually making their own, and this makes all the difference.
So for 20 dirhams, you could get their Banh Mi Vietnam. Which is completely, like it’s fully loaded. Honestly I think you could split it if you’re doing a lunch, you could split it between two people easily.
But basically what they put inside there is they smear in a good pat of butter. Then they put in their own house-made pate which is basically made out of chicken liver so if you’re not a fan… it doesn’t have a strong smell or anything like that it just adds a nice creamy texture but if you don’t want it you can always tell them: I don’t want it. So they put in the pâté which is very traditional then they put in heaps of pickled vegetables like carrots and cucumber and that’s so important because it adds that nice vinegary crunch to the whole sandwich. Heaps of coriander and then a very mild-looking but totally deadly chili. It was hot! Plus they had chicken shreds on the top plus there were curls of beef plus they make their own sort of reduced-down chicken stock. It’s almost like chicken jelly which they add in there. A little bit of soy sauce, I mean honestly there was so much going on. The first two bites I was like, I have no idea what on earth is going on. And then you know what I did, the key is you’ve got to smash everything in, crunch that sandwich down, like just press it down and then go in for the big massive bite and then you get all the flavors happening at once.
28 dirhams for all of that in one sandwich plus some spice dusted fries on the side. Honestly, I think for, especially for Business Bay, but for anywhere. That’s a steal.
Arva, you really have found your calling in life, like honestly, to goodness. I don’t know another human being that I’ve ever met in all my years on this planet that makes me want to eat everything that you ever describe.
At this time in the morning. That’s what’s impressive about it.
Yeah, like get in my belly, sandwich from Saigon station, please. Now! With everything she just said. Want it now!
Amazing Arva. Thank you so much for that one. Again, it is called Saigon Station. There is the Silicon Oasis branch, there’s a Business Bay branch. And they are getting hit up for sure at some stage this week.
28 dirhams for that crispy, crunchy, delicious, salivating-inducing and juicy sandwich. Yes, please. Yeah.
As always, Frying Pan Adventures on Instagram, you can see the food tours and everything else that Arva and her sister get up to. And thank you for joining us. As always, Arva, a pleasure.
Always a pleasure. Have a scrumptious week ahead, guys.
Find out where to find Authentic Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani in Dubai here.