You will immediately fall in love with a sandwich commonly available in Vietnam. It is named as Banh Mi and is one of the locals and tourists favorite. This sandwich is a very common snack and specialty of the country, that is made with clean and fresh ingredients. If you are going to a boat trip or hiking, then this thing is one of the best options to keep in your back pack for a light meal. Hoi An welcomes most of the people from around the world and offer them a lot of delicious things. You will find a variety of places which serve delicious Banh Mi in Hoi An.
The history of Banh Mi
There is a variety of ingredients in the filling of the sandwich that is a part of the Vietnamese freedom and independence history. During the French colonialism era, the French used to think that the fish and rice which are used as the local food make the body weaker. The wheat flour, meat and vegetables, make the body stronger. They brought a variety of foods with them to Vietnam like carrots, cheese, meats, coffee and wheat. They asked the locals to grow wheat that failed badly because of the weather conditions and tropical climate. They tried to fill the food demand by importing from Europe with very high price. It was not possible for the local people of Vietnam to buy a lot of wheat from Europe because of the lack of money and resources.
(Best Banh Mi Hoi An)
The shipments of the wheat were disrupted until WWI. To fulfil the demand of food, some bakeries started producing the bread by mixing rice flour (that was easily available on low cost) in the lesser quantity of wheat floor. The baguette made by the mix of both flours was crustier, crispy, fluffy and lighter as compared to the whole wheat one. The other time two leading shipment companies in Saigon were seized and the French had to sail off for war by leaving the good behind in the German warehouses. After that those good became available in the market of Vietnam in very cheap rates. That was the time when the working class of Vietnam could afford the deli meats, pate, Cheese, butter, condensed milk and breads. The Vietnamese became able to customize the foods in the market with their local ingredients after the withdrawal of the French military. After the fall of Saigon, the refugees of South Vietnam fled to different areas where they introduced their recipe. It became a part of their culture and tradition.
Ingredients of Banh Mi
Banh mi has a huge variety of ingredients that cannot be restricted in any way. If you order from the stall the ingredient will be the local and organic whereas if you order from a very touristy, you will get a menu of different combinations. Some have the English menus with a lot of imported ingredients. The basic details of ingredients are as follows
The bread is inspired by the French colonial period as discussed in the history of Banh mi. It is not chewy and has a thin and crispy crust made by the combination of Flours. The crispy crust is considered as the most important identification of the sandwich.
The French spread plays an important role in the taste of the sandwich. Although, it is not considered much while picking the ingredients but it adds a subtle taste. This spread is made of duck livers or chicken.
The butter and margarine is commonly available but still the mayo is used that gives richness to the Banh mi. The best Banh mi Hoi An has a lot of mayo that saves the bread from the moist filling and the crust remains crunchy.
Mostly homemade sauces are used with different oils or pastes to the banh mi. Usually the small stands use maggi sauce that is made of soy and vegetable protein, imported from Switzerland. If you visit some places in Hoi an with big menus then you will find a variety of sauces.
Vegetables and herbs
Vegetables are used in both forms as pickled or fresh. Strips of fresh cucumber with the pickled carrot, papaya or daikon is used. The vegetables add richness to the fillings. Coriander and mint are used to add the fragrance. Sometimes other local herbs are also added to modify the flavor.
(Best Banh Mi Hoi An)
Proteins in banh mi
- Cha Lua is a ground pork that is tightly packed in banana leaves after seasoning. Then it is steamed and used as thin slices. This is the most commonly available sandwich.
- Thit Nguoi is the cubes of meat which are cooked and created in the shape of a log. It has strips of fat that can be cut in thin slices. It tastes like ham and very delicious filling.
- Gio Thu is the Vietnamese cheese created by cooking the less desirable parts of the animal. It can be made from skin, tendon, tails and head meat. They are cooked until they release gelatin that is cooled down and used as thin slices.
- Thit Nuong is the marinated and grilled pieces of pork over charcoal. It has dry, sweet and charcoal roasted flavor. The parts to be cooked depends on the chef.
- Xa Xiu is the seasoned and aromatic pork created by Barbeque.
- Nem Nuong is the small sausages and patties of ground pork with seasoning that is grilled on the charcoal.
Why The Taste of Bread is Better in Hoi an
The bread is the most important part in the making of the Banh mi. The shelf life of the crispiness of the bread is less because of the tropical climate due to that it is baked twice a day in some bakeries. Some places use the old method of the rice flour where as some people use the whole wheat flour that is now easily available in Hoi an. The bread is considered as the best because of the crisp and the pointed end. The dough of the bread is properly kneaded, and shaped before baking due to that it becomes like a small ear like shape after baking. The Banh mi likers look for this ear of bread before buying. Best banh mi Hoi An is the result of the best bread that is prepared by the French recipe. The bakeries of Hoi an follow the same recipe without changing it since 1800s. In the North and South of Vietnam, bakeries tried to copy the recipe without knowing the crafts and understanding of the procedure. Hoi an remained the center of the Banh mi in the early times. The bread here is traditional, exact and delicious.
Best Banh mi Hoi An
Hoi an has a lot of places serving the best and traditional Banh mi. The main location is the old town where you will find the stands selling the sandwich. A lot of places offer vegetarian options as well and the healthiest part is that, they use mostly organic vegetables and herbs. The main places serving the best banh mi Hoi An are:
Banh mi Phuong
You can easily recognize the place by their glass counter where different cooks assemble the Banh mi. There are crowds of people at the stand because of the delicious banh mo with its original flavor. It opens are 6:30 am to 9:30 pm daily and the price range is from 15000 VND to 35000 VND. They have almost every type of meat filling available like pork, pate, ham, sausages, grilled meat and more. Their meaty sauce makes it very rich. You can buy their original bread from the next door. You can also get this quick meal while exploring the attractions.
(Best Banh Mi Hoi An)
Phi Banh mi
This location is also available on trip advisor and is considered as one of the best places of banh mi Hoi an. It started in 2013 and the positive reviews make it among the top most. The opening timing is from 8:am to 8:pm daily and the cost is from 15,000 VND to 35,000 VND. The couple run this business named Phi and his wife Tau. They live in the old town. They also have a variety of filling and their banh mi is smaller than other places in low price. They also have an English menu with excellent selection of meats, vegetables, herbs and sauces.
(Best Banh Mi Hoi An)
Madam Khanh- The banh mi Queen
You will find one of the most amazing banh mi Hoi an at this place. It opens at 7:00am to 7:00pm every day and the price is 20,000 VND. This place is selling street food for over 30 years. The owners of the restaurant are often seen outside walking among the customers, filling their sandwiches. This place can easily be recognized or found by asking the locals. The sauce is the main power of the banh mi that is especially made and loved by the people. They have a plenty of option but the most amazing ones are the vegetarian banh mi. For the take away order, they give already prepared sandwiches so it is advised that ask for the freshly made.
Banh Mi Chay
Veitnam is the food heaven for the vegans and vegetarians. Banh mi Chay is run by a woman in old town. You will find only one kind of banh mi that will be the best one in Hoi an among the vegetarian option. She makes the sandwich full of diced mushrooms, tofu, chopped peanuts, slaw and herbs. A special kind of flavorful liquid is drizzled in the sandwich to moisten the bread that increases the flavor. It opens every day from 6:30 am to 10 am. Sometimes it closes when she sells out all of the banh mi. The price is 15,000 VND and you can get extra fillings for 5,000 VND.
Conclusion from different Banh mi
After trying a lot of places, it is very difficult to name one for the best banh mi. In Hoi an you will find a specialty of every banh mi. The bread, filling and the locations everything makes the place special to visit. The tip for the best banh mi is that you should ask for the freshly prepared so the crispy bread remains in it full flavor. If you want to take away for a trip, then select the ingredients carefully or as the seller.
Everyone has his own choice of flavor. Most of the places in Hoi an use their local herbs and vegetables so they are fresh and organic. You can make the choice according to you and if you cannot make a choice then trying the vegetarian options is the best decision. This traditional street food makes its visitors crave for it after they leave Vietnam.