Located in the bustling, culturally rich street of Telegraph Avenue is a mom-and-pop shop named Nom Nom Bánh Mì. Trâm, the owner of Nom Nom, is a warm and welcoming lady, dedicated to bringing the missing Vietnamese culture into Berkeley, where it is not well known. Nom Nom Bánh Mì is a fast and convenient place to grab a culturally rich and fresh bánh mì—the famed Vietnamese sandwich.

Quality Ingredients

Cindy Lin

One aspect of the bánh mì that Trâm is bringing to the floor is the freshness of the ingredients. When they said “bite into the Nom Nom difference”—they really meant it. My first bite into the bánh mì was an explosion of wonderful flavors: from the crunchy bread to the quality meat to the refreshing vegetable complements.

Talking to Trâm and her husband, Alan, proved to me how big of an effort they make to ensure that their sandwiches are fresh and that their ingredients are of the best quality with a reminiscent Vietnamese taste. The simple ways they ensure the freshness of the ingredients are everyday delivery of bread, grilling meat every hour, prepping ingredients the night before, and, what blows my mind most, using the only day Trâm has off to get delicious pork loaves from a vendor in the South Bay.

Sharing the Culture

Cindy Lin

If talking to the owner Trâm herself and reading the graphics inside on the store's walls wasn’t enough to share the history of Vietnam, take a look at the menu. Each item on the menu itself is a part of history. Every sandwich on the menu has a unique name that points back to places in Vietnam—besides this one specific one—which shows more about the nature of the country.

The Saigon, now known as the city Ho Chi Minh, is home to the delicious pâté. Chả—pork sausage loaf wrapped in banana leaves—is an homage to Hanoi, North Vietnam. The South Seas, although it can sound unusual, contains tomato-y sardines that bless your taste buds. To ensure that all types of diets can eat the delicious sandwiches, the Pagoda and the Telegraph were carefully thought out and included. The Pagoda pays tribute to the Hue city, home to a large vegetation diet, while the Telegraph puts the wonders of cheese into this delicious Vietnamese sandwich for a twist of flavors.

#SpoonTip: Take advantage of the newly formed sandwich system to get a free sandwich on your eighth bánh mì.

The Experience

Cindy Lin

Although Nom Nom seems like a simple shop, there was an extreme amount of thought put into everything from the menu to the moment you receive your sandwich. When asked why Nom Nom Bánh Mì wasn’t doing delivery services, Trâm answered immediately that the experience of coming into the shop is what makes grabbing this bánh mì worthwhile. You might not realize it right away, but Trâm puts a ton of effort into making your sandwich and making sure her sandwich is truly quality you can taste. 

Bánh mì making is like an art to her—the sandwich itself has to be balanced. The individual components of the sandwich, to her, must complement the main ingredient—typically the protein. Trâm makes sure that whether you’re eating the sandwich in-store or to-go, you can still taste the flavors she intended to create.

#SpoonTip: Order a traditional Vietnamese Coffee or unique Basil Drink to complement your sandwich.

Cindy Lin

Nom Nom Bánh Mì isn’t just another shop in the culturally rich area of Berkeley, it brings much more than that and gives consumers a taste of something new. If you’re ever in a time crunch due to your busy schedule and can’t worry too much about what you’ll eat for lunch or dinner, stop by Nom Nom Bánh Mì for a quick yet flavorful bite.