Hanco’s vs. Nicky’s: The Great Banh Mi Battle

Alright the title is misleading. First I’m not just comparing banh mis, I’ll be looking at the appetizers too. Second, neither place is really “great” compared to some of the other banh mis you can get in NY. So why these two? Well because I spend way too much of my time on campus and these two vietnamese shops are the closest for delivery purposes.

Ease and Timeliness

To make this contest as even as possible I ordered from both locations for delivery, and had them delivered to the same location. When it comes to ordering, Nicky’s takes the win simply because it’s on Seamless and Hanco’s isn’t. Hanco’s is on GrubHub, but the menu there isn’t even up to date, so if you ordered online you wouldn’t be able to get the appetizer I got because they only started selling it. Now you may ask, “why not just order by phone?” Well, that’s what I had to do for Hanco’s and that’s ridiculous. Might as well just revert back to the stone ages. I’m not some cave man that I should be picking phones and calling places. We all know that the only thing phones are used for at this point is texting, playing games, and browsing the internet. However this overall category becomes a draw because of delivery time. Hanco’s delivered in less than thirty minutes (I think they got it here in twenty minutes actually). Nicky’s took over a fucking hour to get their food here, that’s not okay in my book. Actually, it’s not a draw, I’ll take the speedy delivery time over the orderingĀ convenience. Slight edge to Hanco’s.

Appetizers

Now we get to the meat of the issue, literally… because we’re talking about food. I made a funny. From Hanco’s I got an order of spring rolls.

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These things are fucking delicious. The shell is crunchy, if not a bit greasy and the meat inside tastes so juicy. It came with a container of nuoc cham for dipping, obviously, but it tasted so good on their own that I started to feel guilty dipping them.

For Nicky’s I went with an order of summer rolls.

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Now here’s probably where I fucked up. Hanco’s actually has summer rolls too and I should have probably compared summer roll to summer roll, but the spring rolls at Hanco’s are too good to pass up, my stomach got the better of me. However I’ve had their summer rolls before so comparisons can still be made, I guess. Nicky’s rolls were pretty good for summer rolls. The veggies tasted fresh and crisp, and the shrimp really had some flavor to them. As you can see in the photo, they also came with a container of nuoc cham sauce. Hanco’s summer rolls have a little less taste in their shrimp, but Hanco’s gives you peanut butter sauce with the summer rolls instead of the nuoc cham sauce. And that peanut butter sauce is a real difference maker. Hanco’s gets a bit less taste out of its shrimp than Nicky’s but it provides you with a much better sauce. So, for reasons of both taste and variety, the edge for appetizer goes to Hanco’s.

Banh Mi

Finally we get to the most important part, the sandwiches themselves. To make it as comparable as possible, I got pork sandwiches from both locations. Also, for both orders, I asked for the spiciest level they have.

Hanco’s Sandwich

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Hanco’s really hits the spot with this sandwich. The meat is a bit chewy and it’s hard to take a bite without pulling out the full chunk of meat, but the flavors are good. I told them spice, they gave me spice, still not as spicy as I would like, seeing as how that was their spiciest level and I could’ve taken a lot more, but at least there was spice to taste. The bread is nice and crispy, and the pickled veggies have got some real flavor to them and compliment the spice nicely.

Nicky’s

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Oh Nicky’s, they had so much promise, but this is where it all falls apart for them. First, I don’t know how sensitive the rest of you are to spice, but I didn’t feel anything with this sandwich, such a disappointment. Their meat was actually much easier to chew through, but without the spice and any real flavor to the meat, it seemed like such a waste. The veggies were fine and I liked that they threw in a cucumber, which Hanco’s didn’t have. The sandwich itself also seemed a smidge smaller, either that or I was so hungry by the time the food got there that nothing could satiate me properly at that point.

So, if you find yourself in downtown Brooklyn, somewhere around the Fulton Mall area, and you think to yourself, “man, I really want a banh mi but I’m much too lazy to take a trip into Manhattan,” then Hanco’s is the place for you.

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