Bánh Mì Bé Bi: Vietnamese-run hawker stall with homemade banh mi & the best spring rolls I’ve had

It’s unfair. They cannot name themselves Bánh Mì Bé Bi— which sounds to my ears exactly like Banh Mi Baby— and expect me to not visit. Or maybe, that was the plan all along.

If yes, it worked. Last week, I found myself sitting at the corner of Upper Aljunied Road and Jalan Mulia, the street on which I grew up. This unassuming corner stall used to be a convenience store and I was here every day as a kid, buying crackers and biscuits and looking cute doing it.

Hopefully, the food being sold today at the very same spot was going to be just as delicious.

bahn mi - stallfront

Bánh Mì Bé Bi is an authentic Vietnamese affair. The lady hawker who owns it is from Vietnam but can speak fluent Mandarin after living for over a decade in Singapore. She is helped at the stall by her daughter. A young man also helps out and is the only one of the 3 who can converse in English, albeit haltingly.

banh mi - hats at store

They have made some effort to give the place a Vietnamese feel. Swinging in the breeze of the fan were serval strings of 3 beautifully illustrated nón lá, the iconic Vietnamese conical hats, stacked vertically. Adding to the atmosphere was the conversation between mother and daughter in their lilting native tongue.

Bánh Mì Bé Bi has been receiving rave reviews from almost everyone who tries their fare. As I looked at the menu, the promising aroma of cooking meat seemed to prove them right.

I would have liked to make my way down and appreciate the aroma of the bread that’s baked fresh every morning, too. When I asked, they told me that the baking happens at around 5.30am. So, I’m fine not knowing that aroma.

On to the eating.

What I tried at Bánh Mì Bé Bi

banh mi - banh mi and spring rolls

If it’s in the name, you have to try it. So, I chose my banh mi, settling on the Bannh Mi Ga Nuong (S$5), which is the grilled chicken baguette.

banh mi - close up of banh mi

It arrived literally overflowing with coriander. Some people may call it an ‘overstuffing’ but not me, I adore the herb. Its characteristic fresh flavour was palpable but not overwhelming. I think it helped accentuate the taste of the other ingredients, particularly the meat, very well.

The meat chunks were tender and well-marinated. So full of flavour! Also squeezed into the tight crevasse were long cucumber slices and carrot julienne.

banh mi - close up of banh mi

Banh Mi is so simple in its execution but can deliver such a powerful hit of satisfying chomp and tasty enjoyment when prepared and executed as well as it is at this simple stall. A second visit is definitely on the cards for me.

banh mi - spring rolls with dip

I also ordered the Cha Gio (S$5), their fried spring rolls. Oh. My. God. These were incredibly delicious!

These spring rolls do not have just any old regular skin but an exotic string-patterned crispy one. It’s amazing how just the difference in the texture as you take a bite can affect your perception of the food you are eating.

banh mi - spring roll closeup

Here, the up-and-down roughness of the skin inspired chaos on my tongue but in the best way possible. It became a pleasant background for the meat to dazzle me. As always with fried items, sweet chilli sauce gave the spring rolls a beautiful, subtle infusion of heat and sweetness.

banh mi - filling of spring roll

I don’t think there has ever been a time when I’ve complained that I was served too few spring rolls. It certainly wasn’t the case on this evening— we were left wanting more so badly. Amazing taste aside, I do think that charging S$5 for a set of 3 spring rolls is a little too steep.

Final thoughts

So, yes, this quaint little Vietnamese stall does indeed serve food as delicious as the little snacks that I used to buy from the same spot decades ago.

banh mi - pouring sauce into banh mi

For the most part, I would describe Bánh Mì Bé Bi as a wallet-friendly destination for authentic and delicious Vietnamese fare. A filling S$5 baguette with a truckload of meat chunks in perfect marinade is certainly worth the price.

That just puts the spring rolls in such stark contrast— it’s insane that the very same stall sells 3 (very addictive) spring rolls for an astronomical S$5. Maybe it’s because it tastes so darn good.

banh mi - storefront

I have to say, though, that the nostalgic location, coupled with how quiet the area still remains, I will probably come back regularly.

Expected damage: S$5 – S$10 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Bánh Mì Bé Bi

375 Upper Aljunied Road, Singapore 367860

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Bánh Mì Bé Bi

375 Upper Aljunied Road, Singapore 367860

Telephone: +65 9054 3939
Operating Hours: 9am - 9pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 9054 3939

Operating Hours: 9am - 9pm (Daily)

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