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Banh mi – the popular dish of Saigon cuisine

Mon, 12 Jan 2015 . Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:59

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Banh mi is a common fast food in Saigon cuisine in particular and in Vietnam cuisine in general. With various kinds of banh mi from traditional to fresh bread, Ho Chi Minh is often dubbed as the city of banh mi.

Banh mi was introduced in Vietnam by the French in the 19th century. It was call “baguette”. However, “baguette” was very long, but our Banh Mi is much shorter, as it was localized in Vietnam. And the fillings were made in the Vietnamese style with meat, pork liver pate, Vietnamese sausage, etc. Only banh mi has accompanying vegetables like cilantro, cucumber slices. Banh mi is considered a blend of Western and Oriental element. And banh mi was added into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011. And it is written in the original form “banh mi”.

The idea of takeaway meat banh mi came from Hoa Ma stall. In 1958, Hoa Ma stall was opened but the meat and banh mi was served in one dish. After that, due to the takeaway demand, the owner of the stall had an ideal of putting all the meat and vegetables in the bread. Then we have a nice banh mi with fillings. That’s right. Then they called it casse-croute in French or snack in English. The owner made small bread and added the fillings into it, so it can be taken away.

One set of Hoa Ma banh mi are famous for all kind of seasoned pork belly, two sunny-side up eggs and an hot and crust surface bread. This western dish more and more became a popular dish in Vietnamese cuisine. And Vietnamese people have brought this dish aboard, created their own brands of banh mi in Little Saigon and some state of the US, like Tan Hoang Huong, Top Baguette, Banh mi and Che Cali, Lee’s sandwiches, etc. All of them made us proud of Vietnamese cuisine.

This is steamed pork, one of the famous dishes of this stall. The French in Vietnam ate them with the bread and they were served in one dish, so that we call that Eastern meal. The Eastern meal originated from Hanoi and it was brought to Saigon. Nguyen Sinh stall was opened 70 years ago in Hanoi, and in Saigon, it is nearly 40 years old. It’s one of the oldest stalls in Saigon too. And many people know this stall.  

Barbecued pork banh mi stall at no. 37, Nguyen Trai Street. Conde Nast Traveler magazine listed it as one of 12 top street foods. From 4.00 to 7.00 pm, this vendor sells banh mi with barbecued pork. Since it was mentioned in a travel magazine 6 years ago many people have come to this vendor to buy banh mi. Inside the bread, there are barbecued meat balls, soy sauce and pickles.


Source: VTC10 - NETVIET

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