Banh mi Hoi An (Hoi An-style bread rolls) has been listed among the world’s Top 10 sandwiches by Austrian travel website Traveller, together with well-known American cheeseburgers, English bacon butties, and Japanese Katsu Sando.
Vietnam is the spiritual home of porky goodness and you haven’t eaten a Vietnamese pork roll until you’ve eaten one in the town of Hoi An, according to Traveller.
Hoi An is home to famous burgers and a stay in the town will spoil your banh mi eating for life: nothing will ever compare. “It is the bread, crusty on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside,” Traveller wrote.
“It’s the fillings, the pickled green papaya, the herbs, the mix of pork cuts, the homemade farmhouse pate. And it’s the secret chili sauce.”
The site also recommended addresses selling the best banh mi in town: Madam Khanh – the Banh Mi Queen (115 Tran Cao Van Street), who it says lives up to her billing, and Banh Mi Phuong (2B Phan Chu Trinh Street), which has Hoi An’s best pork roll.
Banh mi is tasty everywhere in Vietnam, not just Hoi An. Earlier this year, it was selected as one of the best street food in the world by the UK’s Rough Guides.
Last year, together with pho and bun cha (rice noodles with grilled pork), banh mi was listed among the world’s Top 100 most delicious food by the World Records Union (Worldkings).
Banh mi is found literally everywhere. It was street food long before street food became an obsession.
Readily available, convenient, and a bargain at VND10,000-25,000 (about a dollar), banh mi is now the most common breakfast in the country.
It can also be a yummy midday meal or even dinner for those too busy to cook at home and it also makes a nice change from rice.
Based on various ingredients and eating habits, banh mi tastes different in different parts of Vietnam. But there are some commonalities.
The “classic” banh mi appeared a few decades ago and though many have brainstormed a better baguette the original still stands strong.
Fillings include roast pork, grilled chicken, or beef meatballs together with homemade pate, cured ham, shredded pork, cheese, thin layers of radish and carrot, slices of cucumber, a generous sprinkling of cilantro leaves, and pepper and chili sauce mixed with a little mayonnaise.
It might sound as though everything lying around is used, but it strangely blends together in a delectable way.
Another type of banh mi now popular is pure bread served with French-style beef au vin.
The savory beef mixed with spices and especially wine goes perfectly with the bread, especially on winter days.
A typical banh mi in the northern city of Hai Phong is Banh mi Que (breadsticks) or banh mi cay (spicy baguettes).
As the former’s name suggests, it’s small and long like a stick and has simple fillings of homemade pate and some hot chili. It’s available from street carts at a dirt-cheap VND5,000 (25 cents) for a super-fast snack that quietens a rumbling stomach.
Whatever type you may eat you’re sure to have a moment of heaven from each bite into a well-stacked banh mi that is at once crunchy, soft, aromatic, spicy, salty, sour, sweet, and savory.
VN Economic Times