Let’s briefly talk about “Banh mi”

“Bánh mì” has become a phenomena in Vietnamese street food cuisine. It plays an important role in street food of Vietnam. Literally you can find “bánh mì” in every corner of Vietnam, in walking distance. Together with other street food dishes, “Bánh mì” from “Bánh mì Bảy Hổ”, a century-old vendor, was featured in a Netflix original documentary series – Street Food: Asia (Ep. 7: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), with inspirational stories from the owners. Just a toasted short and airy baguette spreaded with butter and pâté, filled with meat or fried eggs, pickles and herbs, sprinkle of ground black pepper and a drizzle of soy sauce and chili sauce, it brings out an amazing harmonized taste and flavor!

A loaf of “bánh mì” from “Bánh mì Bảy Hổ”
A close look on the vendor “Bánh mì Bảy Hổ”

The toppings can be varied: from grilled pork, roasted chicken to just simply a fried egg! The most popular combo at all vendors is probably ham or the Vietnamese pork ham/pork roll. I still remember that I was addicted to a “bánh mì” with fried egg (Bánh mì ốp la) in front of my high school or a “bánh mì” with ham (Bánh mì thịt nguội) from the wet market near my house (with all the pickles and cilantro, of course!). I also need to mention my dad’s favorite combo – “Bánh mì chả lụa”: a “bánh mì” with Vietnamese pork ham/pork roll, sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper with a lot of cilantro and pickles (I guess I also inherit the love for cilantro from him). No matter what versions of “bánh mì” you have, it still brings out harmony in flavors of the meat and the veggies!

Vietnamese pork ham/pork roll – Chả lụa
Source: RunAwayRice
Regular ham – Thit nguội/jambon
Source: Bakafood
“Bánh mì ốp la”
Soure: Delicious Vietnam

Another popular version of “bánh mì” is “Bánh mì chảo”, meaning the topping is served hot in a small plate or pan with all the sauce for dipping the bread. This type of “bánh mì” is for dine-in and chill with your friends. The usual toppings include ham, stir-fried marinated beef, meat balls, pâté, cheese, sausage and fried egg. It is a little bit saucy so it is best served hot (usually right after pulling off the heat) with a loaf of “bánh mì” and side salad.

A typical combo of ham, cheese, sausage, marinated beef, egg and pâté with “bánh mì” | Source: Saigoneer
A portion of marinated beef, cheese and eggs in a cast-iron pan with “bánh mì” and side salads.

“Bánh mì chảo” is easy to prepared anywhere and we can you any types of bread we want. I recreated mine, including fried eggs, fresh cheese, stir-fried marinated beef and sausage, served with toasted bread. I’m thinking of making other version of “Bánh mì chảo” soon, like the meat balls.

I tried to recreate “Bánh mì chảo” with a few slices of toasted bread.

While making “Bánh mì chảo” is pretty doable in the US, I was struggling to recreate the regular “banh mi” because I couldn’t find right bread. I once tried the loaf in the bakery aisle in supermarket but they were not airy enough. I’m thinking of making the bread loaf soon, haha!

Regardless, “Bánh mì” is such a delicious and convenient treat. It is truly “fast food” of Vietnam, beat all branded fast-food chains in terms of “preparing speed” and nutrition in the food.
Have you tried “Bánh mì” yet? If yes, what is your favorite pick?
You haven’t tried it yet? Well, find the nearest “Bánh mì” place and try some!
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Published by Titanium #22

I am a graduate student in Chemistry and I love to cook some good food to relieve the stress from doing my research.

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