Who Has the Best Banh Mi in Houston? Check Out These Competition Winners

The 6th Annual Bánh Mì Cookoff Fundraiser took place last night at Warehouse Live, where hundreds of attendees samples sandwich creations from twelve restaurants, caterers and food trucks to determine the honor of best bánh mì in Houston.

Hosted by BPSOS Houston (Boat-People SOS) and organized in partnership with local pastry chef Dory Fung, the annual competition raises money to support the non-profit group’s efforts. BPSOS started in 1980, rescuing over 25,000 Vietnamese refugees from the high seas and defending their rights following the end of the war. In more recent years the organization has shifted its focus to community outreach, advocacy and education, with a network of branch offices in eight cities including Houston. Fung, with the help of the event’s competing chefs and the BPSOS board, has organized the Bánh Mì Cookoff since its inception.

Cuc Lam of pop-up dining experience Just Cuc It (as well as Blind Goat at Bravery Chef Hall) (center) surrounded by family and friends at the 6th Annual Bánh Mì Cookoff Fundraiser.Photo by Evelyn Garcia.

A celebration of the culture and cuisine of Vietnam, the cookoff showcases both traditional and creative takes on the classic baguette sandwich by a variety of Houston-area chefs and cooks. This year featured twelve competing restaurants and caterers. Winners were selected in two categories: judges’ choice and people’s choice. The event’s three-person judging panel included Tim Malcolm, dining editor of Houstonia Magazine, Christine Ha of The Blind Goat and Linda Nguyen (Roostar).

The competitors were:

Thai Tea samples to wash down the jalapeño heat! Photo by Carlos Brandon

Judges’ Choice Winners

  1. Duc Tran – Banh Milicious Food Truck
  2. Tony Nguyen & Rick Dixon – Saigon House Midtown and R-C Ranch
  3. Cuc Lam – Just Cuc It

People’s Choice Winners

  1. Duc Tran – Banh Milicious Food Truck
  2. The Pho Spot
  3. Tony Nguyen & Rick Dixon – Saigon House Midtown and R-C Ranch
Beef bánh mì with pho broth from The Pho Spot. Photo by Carlos Brandon

Attendees enjoyed several unique creations throughout the evening, including a succulent Hoisin-Glazed Smoked Pork Rib Bánh Mì from last year’s winners JJ Garcia & Garrison Mathis of TexZas Wood Fired Pizza. Cuc Lam’s Chinese/Vietnamese BBQ Pork Meatballs were a thing of beauty, and The Pho Spot delivered a knockout with their simple beef sandwich served with a side of pho broth for dipping. Cajun and Texas barbecue influences were prevalent. Pearland-based caterer Treats by Tygr served a classic chicken bánh mì with a side of homemade Cajun gumbo.

The Bánh Mì Cookoff served as both a celebration of a vibrant and delicious cuisine and and altruistic community fundraiser. For those looking for a similarly delicious way to help community-focused organizations like BPSOS, Fung is also organizing the cookoff’s sister event, the Big Bao Battle. It’s the fourth year of the event, benefits  OCA-Greater Houston and is on November 6th at the Ballroom at Bayou Place. Tickets are already available online.

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