Restaurant review: Com Bánh Mì, Wan Chai - Vietnamese with a twist

Street-food standards have fusion toppings such as Iberico pork or Cantonese-style roast duck here. We liked most of what we tasted, but service could have been better and some dishes lacked finesse

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 January, 2016, 6:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 October, 2017, 1:02pm

A lot of Vietnamese restaurants have opened recently in Hong Kong. Com Bánh Mì, which replaces Bao Wow on Tai Wong Street East in Wan Chai, is one of the newest. The design of the restaurant is said to be inspired by houses in old Hoi An, and features yellow and turquoise walls and nostalgic knick knacks. There are high tables and around two dozen stools, and the restaurant does a brisk takeaway business.

The restaurant has courted controversy with drink names such as Sucky Sucky and a chef ostensibly, and unoriginally, called Phuc Dat Bich.

The fare is Vietnamese street food with a twist. Think bánh mì (Vietnamese baguette) or com gà (chicken rice) with toppings such as Spanish Iberico ham and Cantonese-style shredded roast duck. We liked most of what we tasted, but the service could have been better, and some of the dishes lacked finesse.

Our favourite dish was com gà with shredded chicken, roast duck and lemongrass steak satay (HK$85). Served with scallion sauce, it tastes similar to the rice dishes you get from roasted meat shops, but with more fragrant rice and some delicious, tender meat. We also enjoyed the sides of deep-fried spring rolls and rice paper rolls with prawns and pork (HK$35 each), which had generous amounts of well-seasoned filling. The rice paper rollshad a soft, bouncy wrapper that we liked.

Although the crispy pork belly bánh mì (HK$55) tasted fine, we disliked the chewy skin of the pork belly, while the baguette was so hard we had a tough time eating it. Avocado and coconut lassi was milky and creamy, but we couldn’t detect the flavour of either fruit.

Com Bánh Mì, 28 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai, tel: 2528 9131. Open: Monday to Saturday 11am-11pm