Vy Banh Mi food truck parked on Portland’s Eastern Promenade April 14. Photo by Ray Routhier

Some people would travel pretty far for a good sandwich. So it’s a cool thing when you find a really good sandwich that will travel for you.

Such is the case with the new Vy Banh Mi food truck, which began selling banh mi sandwiches and other Vietnamese favorites at various spots around Portland earlier this year.

The food truck’s schedule for one five-day span in mid-April included the city’s Eastern and Western promenades, Three of Strong Spirits distillery and Belleflower Brewing Company in East Bayside, and Foundation Brewing Company in the city’s Riverton section. You can see the truck’s weekly schedules on its Instagram and Facebook accounts.

The truck is run by Minh Nguyen and Vy Phan, two natives of Vietnam. The banh mi mixes French influences – from when Vietnam was under French rule – and local ingredients. So it’s basically a sandwich on a baguette-style piece of bread with various meats and vegetables.

When I visited the truck parked on the Eastern Prom, during a Wednesday lunch hour, the sandwich menu was varied and innovative. There were banh mi with lemongrass beef, BBQ pork, teriyaki chicken, cold cuts, tofu and veggies. They ranged in price from $7.50 to $9. There was also a daily special banh mi with Cajun shrimp, for $11.

The lemongrass beef banh mi from the Vy Banh Mi food truck. Photo by Ray Routhier

I got four sandwiches for a family lunch, choosing the beef, pork, chicken and cold cut versions. Each came in a large, fluffy and crusty roll and was packed with meat and veggies, including cilantro, pickled carrot, some jalapenos, cucumber and daikon radish and mayo.


They were a lot of sandwich for the money. My teenage daughters each cut theirs in half and saved a half for another day. I sampled the lemongrass beef and found the beef very tender with a nice pink-red color. I especially liked the carrots and other pickled vegetables.

I also tried the cold cut one, which was packed with slices of meat, including something that was kind of spicy but not really hot. Maybe it was a Vietnamese version of a Maine Italian? Not sure though. My daughters told me the chicken was excellent too.

The teriyaki chicken banh mi from the Vy Banh Mi food truck. Photo by Ray Routhier

Besides sandwiches, the truck was also offering salad bowls the day I went. These included a spring mix salad with pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber, cilantro and jalapenos. Then you could top it with lemongrass beef, BBQ pork, teriyaki chicken, tofu or Cajun shrimp, with prices ranging from $11.50 to $14.50. Choices of dressing included peanut sauce, garlic fish sauce or homemade mayo. The menu also includes black milk tea with boba – little balls of tapioca. My daughters are big fans.

I would definitely go back to Vy Banh Mi based on the taste and value of the sandwiches. But it’s nice to know that I could be out some day, driving around Portland, when all of sudden I spot the truck right in front of me. Because I’m not one to turn down an unscheduled banh mi.

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