If you’re a fan of sandwiches, you’ve probably heard of Vietnam’s most famous sandwich. It’s called a banh mi. The Vietnamese term “banh mi” means “bread” in English. It is a Vietnamese toasted baguette sandwich with cold cuts, pate, and veggies.
Additionally, this sandwich comes together very quickly. The unique aspect of this dish is its bread stuffing, typically loaded with various items such as pork tenderloin, fresh Vietnamese veggies, and peppers.
Like Vietnamese coffee, Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches broke into eateries after the French colonization of Vietnam. Thus, French bread is the main base, but the Vietnamese have prepared it their way.
So, let’s talk about it.
Where to Find Banh Mi Locally
You are in great luck if you live near Little Saigon, a significant Vietnamese neighborhood in Southern California. Numerous banh mi businesses are nearby, including Gala Bakery and many Bánh Mi Che Cali outlets.
Although Lee’s Sandwiches are still a good choice because they offer freshly baked baguettes, you may get higher-quality sandwiches at smaller mom-and-pop eateries.
Maybe Southern California’s high competition level helps keep costs much below the $5 American sandwiches, which is a good thing. And if you purchase the typical Vietnamese buy-2-get-1-free offer, buying is even more affordable.
The Type of Bread Used for Banh Mi
The bread is the key thing that sticks out. Quality and type are essential, and the foundation for the remaining elements is good bread.
After trying typical French baguettes about a dozen times, we have decided that people can make this bread at home for ultimate freshness. Nevertheless, in this instance, I used pre-made little Vietnamese baguettes for this sandwich recipe, and nothing shameful about it!
However, the big, somewhat thick loaves that American grocers prepare can be helpful if you are in a pinch. Always choose a crispy crust and steer clear of anything overly thick or sourdough-like. Little loaves of French bread are available in some markets and would work for this.
The Flavorful Meat Filling
Specialized handmade meat might be much superior to generic store-bought meat for these sandwiches. The quantity of meat can make or break your sandwich; the slice width, the flavor, and the fat content should be perfect.
The Veggies and Pickled Vegetables Stuffing
Choose the Persian type for cucumbers for the best crunch. However, if you are In a hurry, regular cucumbers will work fine too!
With herbs, all you need is cilantro. We have observed some people using different plants, which could taste okay but to be more authentic, we recommend cilantro. Additionally, if your audience is Vietnamese, they would prefer cilantro.
Jalapenos and onions are possible additions to the sandwich; most establishments add them; they are, however, optional. An icy Vietnamese coffee, also known as Ca Phe sua da, is the ideal beverage to go with a Vietnamese sandwich.
The History of Vietnamese Bread
The French sought to satiate their appetites, so they created the baguette, where the authentic bánh mì started. The width and crunchy crust of a baguette are two characteristics that set it apart from other bread types.
French bread may be up to one meter long but is typically 5 to 6 cm. Vietnamese people recreated this bread to suit their needs in the 1950s and 1960s by decreasing it by two to three times and adding new items such as meat, pork buns, and pate.
Saigon was home to the first banh mi franchise. Then, banh mi rose to national prominence in Vietnam. Due to its variety, accessibility, and price, banh mi has become a well-known fast food.
The bánh mì sandwiches experienced several significant achievements for more than a century. Vietnamese bread won “The finest sandwich in the world” honors from The Guardian newspaper in 2012.
According to National Geographic magazine, one of the top 11 global street cuisines in 2013 was banh mi from Vietnam.
Today, there are many locations worldwide where travelers may experience Vietnam’s essence.
Banh MI in Vietnam and Everywhere Else in the World
With this broad understanding of the origins and flavors of banh mi, what really distinguishes banh mi from Vietnam as unique in the sandwich world?
The Vietnamese utilize unique methods and unusual ingredients to prepare a banh mi sandwich. Coriander, for instance, is a Vietnamese herb uncommon for outsiders to see on Western sandwiches, even in France, the birthplace of baguettes.
Additionally, several variations of banh mi exist in various areas of Vietnam.
All Types of Banh Mi
Since banh mi is a roadside dish, it may readily contain the distinctive mix of each area of Vietnam.
- Banh Mi Hanoi
Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, is home to various national specialties. The contents in the stuffing of each loaf are not redundant but include pate, poultry, corn, mustard, and a few thin pieces of spring rolls.
The exact form of Banh Mi frequently has butter, mayonnaise, and chili as its version of Maggi seasoning. Although Banh in Hanoi appears straightforward and conventional, its balanced flavor and crisp bite make it a distinctive mild-sweet sandwich.
- Banh Mi Hai Phong
Hai Phong may host the most distinctive type of banh mi, and Vietnamese people call it Banh mi que because of its small size. Even more straightforward than the Hanoian banh mi is the filling, which consists of pate and chile.
However, sometimes Hai Phong natives use specially prepared smoked salmon. You might feel burning heat on the surface of your tongue since the chill for this particular banh mi is spicy. The idea is intriguing, though, and is worth a try.
We are confident that you won’t be able to stop eating banh mi Hai Phong, so carry at least ten pieces for each transaction.
- Banh Mi Hoi An
Hoi An’s banh mi is renowned for its variety of ingredients. Each restaurant offers more than ten varieties of banh mi, including ham, sausages, pig barbeque, and cheese.
You will want to consume more and more banh mi since they are small in size; however, be aware they have a heavy filling. The mustard and ketchup are unique to each store due to different recipes, making the banh mi flavors in Hoi An even more delicious and varied.
- Banh Mi Saigon
Saigon is the city where you may find the most intriguing banh mi. You can get banh mi in every nook and cranny of Saigon, especially in the numerous glass cabinets that line the streets. Hence, this town is like a universe of banh mi.
The fantastic growth rate of the banh mi businesses here may be used to illustrate the Saigon banh mi lifestyle. Each banh mi bread uses similar ingredients to those used in other regions of Vietnam; however, it is famous for the variety of sandwiches found there.
Saigon’s banh mi has become more exceptional due to its particular recipe and constant experimentation with new ingredients.
3 Major Components of Banh Mi
The three elements that distinguish Banh Mi from a standard sandwich are as follows:
Although pig is the primary meat featured in banh mi, you can often find a wide selection of meats to use.
These meats might be anything from beef to pig to chicken to sausages to chicken liver.
We advise sticking to chicken or deli meats because they include the most protein and the least cholesterol compared to the other selections.
But if you want to treat yourself, combine all of them!
- Pickled Veggies
Banh mi’s deliciousness is due to its vegetables. Vietnamese chefs have mastered canning vegetables, giving them a sweet, acidic, and salty taste.
A typical french baguette with a highly crispy outside and a puffy inside is the bread used in a banh mi, which is the foundation of this sandwich.
Inside a Loaf of Banh Mi
The Inner Soft Crumb and Outer Crunchy Layer
You will be amazed by the loaf’s crispiness when taking the first bite, but its interior remains soft like candy floss.
Aside from some types of charcoal and whole wheat bread producing black or brown bread, most banh mi is made from white wheat flour and has a yellow color.
The Nutritious Ingredients
The abundance of components is the most crucial part of each banh mi bread sandwich. Pork, beef, ham, fried eggs, springtime rolls, and fish balls are often used.
There are many different veggies, like cucumber, onion, and essential Vietnamese herbs, to complement the flavor of the meat.
Depending on the type of banh mi, the herbs could include scallion, basil seeds, or peppermint. The ketchup is the last factor in the flavor eruption!
The hoisin sauce often incorporates fish, mayo, honey, butter, chili, and onion and can be spicy, savory, or sour. Whatever it is, the introduction of the chili sauce soup allows for the mystical completion of this sandwich, leaving a distinct impression on whoever eats it.
The fact that each eatery in various locations of Vietnam may have its own recipe and maintain its secrecy is also noteworthy. Because of this, when you visit Hanoi, you will experience different flavors of banh mi that are unique to Hanoi and aren’t found elsewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are Vietnamese sandwiches healthy?
A regular Banh Mi sandwich may be delicious, but we still need to count the calories. An average Banh Mi pork sandwich has 30 grams of protein, 19 grams of fat, and 72 grams of carbohydrates.
The level of calories is rather good! Yes, there are a lot of carbohydrates in it, but as long as you exercise regularly, carbs are an excellent component to consume daily.
Additionally, a regular Banh Mi has 19 grams of fat, which is both acceptable and bordering on excessive.
Fats are not bad, they help your body maintain appropriate hormone levels and the intake of several vitamins. Nevertheless, it is possible to overdo them, just like with carbohydrates.
Additionally, this meal has 30 grams of protein, which contributes to muscle development. Furthermore, it makes us feel full after eating and is the least likely to make us fat if consumed in excess.
- What bread is used in banh mi?
Vietnamese baguettes often have an airy interior despite having an exterior that resembles a standard French baguette. Many stores offer a “baguette” choice and the 12″ Vietnamese loaf. We advise you to use little Vietnamese baguettes in this dish.
- What does banh mi mean in Vietnamese?
In Vietnamese, “wheat” and “bánh” refer to bread and baked foods.
Bánh Mì Recipe – Vietnamese Sandwiches w/ Pork Belly
- Vietnamese baguettes
- Homemade pork belly
- Grilled pork
- Pork meatballs
- Drained pickled vegetables
- Pork slices
- Fish sauce
- Rice flour
- Rice vinegar
- Crunchy cucumbers
- Vietnamese Pate
- Crunchy pickled carrots
- Vietnamese homemade pickles
- Medium yellow onion
- Sprigs cilantro
- Maggi or soy sauce
- Medium Jalapenos
- Black pepper
- Baguettes should be toasted until warm but not so crisp that they will fall apart when they are halved to add fillings.
- Prepare the vegetables by washing them all and slicing them. Using a mandoline to make your slices will ensure they are all the same thickness.
- Split the baguettes into halves.
- Put some mayonnaise or pate on the baguette, and then layer the meat and vegetables however you like.
- To taste, incorporate a few dashes of Maggi or soy sauce and a few twists of pepper, but use liquids with caution to avoid soggy bread.
- Sit down and enjoy a delicious sandwich!
Vietnam attracts millions of visitors annually because of its delectable cuisine. More than just a meal, bánh mì is a cuisine highlighting the Vietnamese people’s national identity.
And if you ever go to Vietnam, try the original Banh Mi. However, if you follow the steps in this article, you get a taste of Vietnam from the comfort of your home with this delicious banh mi recipe.