Best Non-Classic Banh Mi in the East Village – NYC
There are a lot banh mi sandwiches shops in the East Village, and I’ve eaten at all of them except one since I wasn’t a huge fan of their main restaurant, but Original Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches is the one I frequent most.
It’s not for the classic banh mi. For classic, I like Banh Mi Zon (which by the way also makes a non-classic coconut curry beef banh mi that’s bomb). But for non-classic, I LIVE for the duck banh mi at Nicky’s.
The owner is Chinese, so it makes sense she makes this banh mi with a Cantonese twist. Fatty roast duck plus mayonnaise is dreamy, especially with pickled carrots to help cut the grease. I wish there was some pickled radish in the sandwich as well, but it seems banh mi heavy on the carrots is becoming the norm in the city. And at $10 for a non-classic, specialty banh mi, the sandwich is a steal.
Nicky’s also carries a roast pork banh mi ($10), which is actually made with roast pig (roast pig is pork belly with crisped skin as opposed to BBQ roast pork), but combined with mayo, it’s a bit unctuous and salty. If I want pork, which is most of the time, I order the pork chop banh mi ($8.50; pictured at the top of the page, right). The meat is juicy, and makes for a very hearty, budget-friendly meal.
And if you want a classic banh mi ($8.50), Nicky’s does that too, but it’s mostly minced pork. It’s good, but the pork chop banh mi is better, and if you have an extra $1.50 to spare, the duck banh mi is a game changer.
Stay safe and happy eating!
Rating: 4/5 stars
Pro Tip: Classic is decent, but the duck banh mi is what you want. If you prefer pork, the pork chop banh mi is surprisingly better and cheaper than the roast pork which is actually roast pig.