Lucky for me I have many friends who love finding good food in the city. Although I get to be the one who documents the experience, I must give full credit to my friends Amanda and Mark for first introducing me to this new find. Oh Mai is a Vietnamese Restaurant on State Street in Salt Lake, serving up all of the best traditional fare of their country including Bánh mì and Pho.
This small cafe has come up in countless conversations around town after we discovered it. Many people calling it a great ‘hole-in-the-wall’ Vietnamese Restaurant but I must tell you that although it is located on State Street and serves up ethnic foods at cheap prices, it is no hole-in-the-wall. The owners have taken great pride in making their atmosphere comfortable and quaint, with art on the walls, lighting made from vintage colanders and hanging plants over the window sills. I’m really not sure what constitutes a hole-in-the -wall anyways but in my book this is not one! (though I will interject to say I have nothing against hole-in-the -wall restaurants!)
My first trip to Oh Mai my friend Amanda and I shared their Thit Nuong, a Bánh mì sandwich with honey glazed pork, and a bowl of their Pho Chin, a Pho noodle dish with brisket. Bánh mì is technically the baguette bread that is used for a traditional Vietnamese sub sandwich, although we most commonly refer to Bánh mì the as the whole sandwich. The sandwich is comprised of meat: usually grilled, oven roasted or pan roasted, with an assortment of vegetables: sliced fresh cucumbers, pickled carrots, and cilantro. At Oh Mai I experienced my first Bánh mì sandwich and loved every bite! The crunchy pickled vegetables perfectly complimented the honey roast pork making each bite full of interesting flavors. And any excess bread happily found its place soaking up the excess broth of my Pho noodle dish.
On our second visit, I reluctantly tried one of their rice dishes, which I enjoyed but I must say that I really longed after the Bánh mì that I tried on our first visit. Luckily Josh was generous enough to give me a few bites of his sandwich.
The biggest surprise of our meal was the Thai Iced Tea that we ventured out to try. It’s orange color wasn’t the only shock, the flavor of the tea was unlike any drink I’ve ever tasted. I honestly have no idea what the flavors were but we sipped and enjoyed, finding it a perfect cool compliment to the spicy sriracha sauce that we drizzled over our food.
If you haven’t already you must go and try a Bánh mì at Oh Mai soon and let me know what you think! If you have already been there, please share with the rest of us your favorite dish or sandwich.
Oh Mai 2 locations: