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Fu-Wah Mini-Market Offers a Fresh Alternative for Lunch: The Vietnamese Hoagie


The hoagie is Philadelphia’s second most popular culinary invention. But, like all foods, our favorite sandwich faces innovation over time. And, here in Philly, a well-established and still-growing ethnic group has brought a new spin on an old favorite. 

Bahn Mi, or more popularly called a Vietnamese hoagie, is a sandwich specialty that combines meat or tofu on a soft roll with a mixture of carrots, onions, cucumbers, cilantro, mayo and jalapeno peppers. And it’s available at a variety of restaurants and small shops in the city’s many Vietnamese pockets. 

The Vietnamese community in our city has been rooted for quite a while; estimated at over 6,000 strong, Vietnamese restaurants dot themselves all throughout the city. Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia, in particular, has a host of Vietnamese restaurants and grocery stores. But other Vietnamese hotbeds include parts of Chinatown, Southwest Philly and Kensington. 

But West Philly, on 47th street just south of Baltimore Ave., has a tiny Vietnamese strip well worth searching out. Included in this is the Fu-Wah Mini-Market, a convenience store/deli that makes one great sandwich.

I ordered the traditional hoagie, which included pork as its protein. My wife, a strict vegetarian, had marinated tofu in hers. They weren’t as big as a traditional hoagie, about the same size as a Wawa Junior. But they were both plenty filling and perfect for a light snack.

Fu-Wah is probably the ideal place to try out a Vietnamese hoagie. Its proprietors are extremely fluent in English and very helpful, making it easy to order. While I’m a huge fan of searching out places that have total authenticity, walking into a place where you’re the only one who speaks English can be more than just a bit daunting. A few weeks back, I had a Vietnamese hoagie at a kiosk located in one of the Vietnamese strip malls located on Washington. I had to communicate by using a lot of pointing and nodding. That’s not the easiest way to figure out what it is you’re putting into your stomach.

In addition, one can order plenty of traditional American-style sandwiches just like at any neighborhood deli. And, if you need a few groceries and the like, the convenience store has a little bit of everything as well as a ton of Asian specialties. 

This place is well worth searching out in order to enjoy a new spin on an old favorite.



Image Courtesy of Google Maps. 


810 S 47th St 

Philadelphia, PA‎

(215) 729-2993‎