Banh Mi So #1: A Vietnamese Institution in St. Louis
The Truong family has claimed to make “the best spring rolls in town” since 1994, as their pink-and-green neon sign suggests from the window that looks out onto South Grand. Poached shrimp, vermicelli rice noodles, lettuce and fresh herbs fill the translucent rice wrappers and are served with a light sweet-and-sour dipping sauce.
Banh Mi So #1-Saigon Gourmet has produced some of the most authentic Vietnamese food in the area for many years. The light and bright flavor combination of lemongrass, peanuts, fish sauce and herbs are what make Vietnamese cuisine so refreshing and unique. Each dish has a heaping handful of fresh cilantro and mint that comes straight from the family’s garden (in season).
Their namesake menu item, banh mi, is a traditional and simple Vietnamese sandwich served with thinly sliced roasted pork (or other meat) with cilantro, jalapeños, crushed peanuts and a carrot-daikon relish served on French bread, a lingering culinary influence of Vietnam’s colonization by France in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Other specialties include a variety of curries, brightly flavored vermicelli noodle bowls and soups with noodles and rice. For vegans and vegetarians, there are a multitude of options and substitutes listed on the elaborate menu. Guests can choose to sit inside and enjoy the tropical greenery and an imported beer with their meal or order take-out.
Banh Mi So #1
4071 S Grand Blvd,
St. Louis, Missouri, 63118
Featured image courtesy of James Tran.