House Special from House of Banh Mi
House Special from House of Banh Mi Suzette Smith

Since it opened in April, Vietnamese coffee shop, Portland Cà Phê, has gathered a well deserved buzz—due to the passion and prowess of its owner, coffee roaster Kim Dam. Eater PDX just pushed a lovely longread, profiling Dam and a new generation of immigrant and first-generation coffee roasters.

But what immediately caught my eye about the new cafe is that you can now actually grip a House of Banh Mi sandwich somewhere other than Montavilla, where Dam's family has been quietly kicking out delicious food and drink in this city for years. Somewhere within this rising cafe and important conversation about coffee, it's nice to see a little attention trickle down to Dam's family sandwich shop because the ones made at House of Banh Mi are some of the freshest, crispiest, fluffiest, and crunchiest banh mi sandwiches in town.

House of Banh Mi, affectionately nicknamed "The HOB PDX" by the family, is owned by Dam's mother Que Bui. Hidden off NE Glisan, in an unassuming storefront on NE 76th, the HOB offers up a variety of surprising goods—everything from quick sandwiches to macaroons to bubble tea. They also bake flakey pastries, with savory fillings like ground pork pâté or sweet ones like banana or chocolate.

That variety extends to their banh mi as well. The sandwich—already loaded with pickled delights—can come topped with everything from grilled chicken to fried egg to teriyaki tofu. That's not so exceptional when it comes to bahn mi, itself a versatile sandwich, but the HOB has that sought-after dynamic menu which comes from a team of people unafraid to try out interesting ideas.

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For instance, pandan flavor has recently swept Portland's food scene—piping hot, green baked goods popping up across town—but the HOB has been whipping up freshly-prepared pandan waffles since it opened in 2017. They also regularly have salad rolls and pork-filled bánh bao on hand.

The HOB is still offering takeout only, and they ask to have no more than three customers indoors at a time. But their staff brings your order out quickly. The HOB's family-owned atmosphere lends a genuine quality to the interaction. No frills in the service, the frills are in the food.

The Hob PDX, 511 NE 76th, (503) 254-7074, thehobpdx.com

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