Bánh mì: Vietnamese Must-Try Sandwich

When it comes to food, bánh mì is one of the most famous trademarks of Vietnam. What’s interesting about the preparation of this sandwich is the fact that in different parts of Vietnam it consists of numerous different ingredients. So, exploring the diversity of tastes of bánh mì is a real foodie adventure for those willing to taste all savory variations.

Image source: epicurious.com

Read on and find out why this sandwich is one of the favorite meals both for Vietnamese people and for international visitors!

The story of Bánh mì

The origins of this sandwich go back to the time when French colonists brought the baguette to Vietnam. Since baguette was a luxury food for the local people, at some point, the bakers started to create their own version of baguette, using rice flour that was cheap yet provided a fluffier structure of bread. At this point, this Vietnamese type of baguette was still eaten in a French way, combined with butter, sugar, mayonnaise, etc.

During the second half of the 19th century, numerous local bakers started to mix the ingredients more freely, creating variations based on available local ingredients. This trend lasted until the Fall of Saigon, when bánh mì became a luxury food, again.  At the same time, in the USA, this sandwich became a popular food sold by numerous food providers including some popular food chains, such as Lee’s Sandwiches.

Bánh mì today

Nowadays, bánh mì is still made using the mixture of wheat and rice flour. This type of bread is not only used for sandwiches but it’s also eaten dipped in milk, as well as with all types of Vietnamese meat dishes.

Image source: thenutfreevegan.com

When it comes to fillings (the more exciting part! 🙂 ), this sandwich includes at least one type of meat and a large number of vegetables. Some of the most frequent meat options are steamed or roasted Vietnamese sausage, pork belly, pork meatballs, grilled pork, chicken, and even sardines in tomato sauce.

The vegetables that enrich the taste of bánh mì usually are pickled carrots, fresh cucumber, white radishes, as well as coriander leaves. And all these ingredients are spiced up sliced chilis, hot chili sauce, cheese or mayonnaise.

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The diversity of tastes

Only some of the popular bánh mì variations are:

bánh mì xíu mại, with minced pork meatballs

Image source: nguoi-viet.com

bánh mì trứng ốp-la, consisting of fried eggs, onions, and soy sauce

Image source: hanhphucgiandon.com

bánh mì kẹp kem, with an interesting mixture of peanuts and ice cream scoops

Image source: hoahoctro.vn

bánh mì thịt, made with pork (belly, sausage or sliced meat), head cheese, carrot, and cucumbers

Image source: banhmigion.vn

Of course, these are only some of the tastiest variations of this amazing sandwich and there are a lot of them as you start to explore them through different regions of Vietnam.

Have you already had a taste of bánh mì? Which variation of it would you like to try?

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