Vietnamese Fast-Food Takes On a Fusion of Flavors

Features Inside Feature

August 4, 2013

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Leah Friel


Nguyen has spent more than 25 years crafting and preparing a variety of tasty dishes at home for her family, and opened Hi Sandwich & Drink as a means through which the general public could enjoy the passion she puts into every culinary creation. The restaurateur also owns the popular eatery Pho Five-O in the same Aiea shopping center, and is thankful for the loyal customers that continue to frequent both restaurants.

“Business is picking up, and I really want to thank our customers — especially those who also enjoy Pho Five-O” says Nguyen. “I really like to cook at home, and I decided to open the restaurant so that I can share that passion with my customers.”

Freshly-baked French bread, which is gently toasted so the bread remains soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, and buttery croissants set the stage for the more than 20 sandwich varieties available at Hi Sandwich & Drink. The restaurant has developed a loyal following for its freshly-made sandwiches, including BBQ Chicken Sandwich on French Bread and Smoked Ham Sandwich on Croissant Bread. All sandwich selections, including the aforementioned favorites, start at $6 and vegetarian options are also available.

The Vietnamese Special Sandwich ($6.75, noted on the menu as the Hi Special) brings together pate, char siu pork and steamed pork that are then topped with vegetables. Other sandwich varieties include Meat Ball, Tuna, Ham & Cheese, Turkey Cheese and Turkey Breast ($6 each).

Nguyen explains that she utilizes fresh vegetables in her sandwiches, including cucumber, carrots, white onions and Chinese parsley. The veggies are prepared with a special blend of seasonings to enhance all the flavors.

The restaurant also specializes in fresh fruit smoothies, and features 22 varieties of the flavorful beverages. With each selection, including Honeydew Smoothie and Thai Tea Smoothie ($4.95 apiece), diners may also add their choice of black jelly pearls, grass jelly or colored fruity jelly. Customers may also add an additional jelly flavor to the 24-ounce smoothie for just 35 cents more.

Hi Sandwich & Drink recently introduced Lychee Poppers, as an alternative to the jelly pearls, that can be included in any smoothie or bubble tea selection. The poppers burst with flavor and are very soft, making them easier to chew, especially for elderly customers and young children.

“Before I opened this restaurant, I visited some other places that served smoothies using powdered flavoring,” explains Nguyen of her flavorful beverage selections. “I wanted to use real fruit, because it tastes much better and is healthier for you.”

The vast beverage menu at Hi Sandwich & Drink also includes Bubble Teas ($4.95 for each 24 ounce serving), which are available in a host of flavors such as Vanilla, Strawberry, Green Apple and Mocha Coffee. The Bubble Tea selections are crafted with a blend of black and green tea.

As a special deal for Dining Out readers, Hi Sandwich & Drink is offering 20 percent off its Café Latte bubble tea — but don’t delay, the offer is good for a limited time only.

Nguyen also recommends Condensed Milk Iced Coffee ($3.50), a Vietnamese java drink that offers a cool rush of bold flavors. Dessert beverages are also available, including Crazy Drink ($4.75), a unique blend of ingredients including colored jellies, colored tapioca and a treasure trove of additional treats.

“Our customers can enjoy some of the same food that I love to cook at home,” says Nguyen of the Hi Sandwich & Drink experience. “The real-fruit smoothies are delicious, and our tea is brewed fresh (daily). You can really taste the difference.”

HI Sandwich & Drink

Waimalu Shopping Center
98-042 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
Open daily, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Aiea, HI 96701

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