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Banh Mi Hoi An (Baguette)

July 13, 2021 - 2960 views

Considered one of the most delicious street foods in the world, ‘banh mi Hoi An’ or ‘banh mi Da Nang’ has become more and more popular among foreign visitors to Vietnam. Let’s see how unique ‘banh mi Hoi An’ is and where to taste the best ‘banh mi Hoi An’ – a masterpiece of the charming ancient town.

In Vietnam, the locals usually have ‘banh mi’ for breakfast or snacks in the afternoon. With the great combination and savory taste, ‘banh mi’ is definitely street food that makes your mouth water. That’s the reason why ‘banh mi Vietnam’ is recommended by many reputable travel bloggers as well as famous people in the world. And your visit to Vietnam will be incomplete without a taste of ‘banh mi Hoi An’, the best version of this Vietnamese sandwich.

Banh mi Vietnam is one of Obama's favourite foods

Banh mi Vietnam is one of Obama's favorite foods


The history of 'banh mi Vietnam'

The story begins with the French colonization of Vietnam in the mid-nineteenth century. The French brought a variety of food items to the region in search of creature comforts and familiar cuisine. Coffee, cheese, deli meats, and wheat are examples. Wheat production, on the other hand, was extremely difficult in the tropical climate. As a result, harvests are decreasing and quality is declining. Because of this, the only way to meet the demand is the wheat had to be imported making it very expensive. For that reason, the French baguette (Vietnamese Banh mi later) was used mostly for wealthy people and government workers who have money to pay for it.

Shipments were not disrupted until World War I. In order to compensate for the lack of wheat, some bakeries began using low-cost rice flour in their recipes. The end result was a fluffier and lighter baguette with a thin, crunchy crust. In comparison to its French equivalent, which is dense and chewy. Following the French loss and evacuation in 1954, the Vietnamese were free to customize their cuisine using local resources, they have been adapting the local flavors to creating versions and creating some of the best banh mi sandwiches not just in Hoi An but also in Vietnam.

Today, you can find a Banh Mi stall at every corner across the country. It is a popular well-favored food for locals to eat at any time of the day.

What makes banh mi Hoi An so special

At first, let’s find out which ingredients make ‘banh mi Hoi An’ fantastic. The components of filling inside can be diverse, depending on one’s recipe. You can find the fillings of ‘banh mi’ different in every restaurant and street vendor in Hoi An. However, the main ingredients of ‘banh mi Hoi An’ include the following layer of texture.

Fresh ingredients to make 'banh mi' in Vietnam

Fresh ingredients to make 'banh mi' in Vietnam

  • Bread: As a relative of the baguette from colonial times, ‘banh mi Hoi An’ is made from lighter and less chewy bread with a thin crust. The bread will be crispy when being ready to eat, which makes the best ‘banh mi’ found nowhere else in Vietnam.
  • Pate: The rich and savory paste made from poultry’s liver is one of the most important subtle flavors to add in ‘banh mi Hoi An’
  • Mayo: Mayo, which can be altered by margarine or butter, is the most popular ingredient to provide richness in ‘banh mi'.
  • Sauces: The most commonly used sauces are homemade in order to give the best flavor and moisture.
  • Vegetables: Locals often use strips of cucumber and shredded pickled carrot or papaya with a view to adding some acidity for the richness balance of the fillings.
  • Herbs: Another balanced component in ‘banh mi Hoi An’ is the herbs such as coriander and Vietnamese mint.
  • Proteins: The main nutritive proteins in ‘banh mi Hoi An’ contain a great diversity of meat, including ground pork, ham, head cheese, grilled pork, char siu, sausages, and more.
  • Cha Lua: This is the typical component that goes into a banh mi. This is made from ground pork that has been seasoned and wrapped securely in a banana leaf then steamed.
  • Thit nuong: Pork is chopped and marinated before being roasted over charcoal. The texture is dry, and the flavor is sweet and savory, with a great coal flavor.
  • Xa Xiu: Well marinated char siu pork.

A guide to 'banh mi Hoi An'

From the inside to the outside, banh mi Hoi An is perfectly exquisite. As you take a mouthful, you can feel the unique texture crushed in your mouth, and you can hear the crunchy sound when you bite it firmly. Many people believe banh mi Hoi An to be the best because it is light, has a thin and crunchy crust, and is pointed at the ends. To make the certain crunchy skin, before giving over the bread to the customer, they make sure it's well toasted.

Banh mi Hoi An is surely the best banh mi throughout the country. All of this is most likely the result of one good recipe that was passed down through the generations. No tricks, no filter, just simply as it is.

Top 10 Banh mi Hoi An vendors and restaurants

It goes without saying that Hoi An and Da Nang are the best places to taste ‘banh mi Vietnam’. In Vietnam, people try to make food following oriental philosophy: food needs to have 5 tastes “sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy” which are similar to five elements of the universe “earth, wood, water, fire, and metal” or includes five colors “red, green, yellow, white, and black” or has the harmony between “yin” and “yang”. Banh mi Hoi An is just fabulous for this. When eating ‘banh mi Hoi An’, you can find 5 tastes mingled together perfectly.

With only 1 USD, you can enjoy a set of ‘banh mi’ everywhere around Hoi An ancient town. Among the rising number of banh mi stands in Hoi An, we highly recommend the top 10 must-try stands based on the reviews of food critics, travel bloggers, and tourists visiting Hoi An.

1. Banh Mi Phuong

  • Address: 2B Phan Chu Trinh Street
  • Opening hours: 6:30 am – 9:30 pm daily
  • Price range: 15,000 – 35,000 VND (0.65c to 1.50 USD) 

Banh Mi Phuong is a little eatery that attracted many tourists to Hoi An and her ‘banh mi’ got the international quality. Google ‘the best banh mi in Vietnam’ and “Banh Mi Phuong in Hoi An” will be the first result. Ms. Phuong, the owner of Banh Mi Phuong in Hoi An, has experienced making millions of loaves of 'banh mi' to serve both local citizens and worldwide travelers over 20 years.

The soul of ‘banh mi’ lies in the heart of the sandwich: the fillings and accompaniments. Her most signature sandwich, ‘banh mi day du’ (all types mix), consists of thin slices of roast pork loin, ham, and ‘cha lua’, a pork sausage loaf. Banh Mi Phuong’s legendary recipe was praised by none other than Anthony Bourdain, the famous American chef, author, and television personality with “No Reservations” travel show, as the best 'banh mi' in Vietnam. He described that it was a symphony in a sandwich. Since then, people from all over the world now know about and are eager to try it. If you travel to Hoi An, don't forget to try Banh Mi Phuong!

2. Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen

  • Address: 115 Tran Cao Van
  • Opening hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm daily
  • Price range: 20,000 VND ($0.85)

Madam Khanh has been selling banh mi for more than 30 years and she deserved her crown with her legendary banh mi.

Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen is only a short distance north of the old town. Despite being missed by the storefront’s sign, the Banh Mi Queen is outstanding with uniquely distinguishable fillings and sauces. Locals say that her banh mi wonderfully encapsulates the yin-yang taste of the banh mi: It's sweet and salty, spicy but not excessive, and crunchy yet rich saucy all at once.

Without offering various options like other stands in Hoi An, the Queen specializes in vegetarian banh mi and non-vegan one with the fillings of roast pork or chicken, along with pate, Vietnamese sausage, well-seasoned fried egg, homemade pickles, papaya, carrots and herbs, chili sauce and soy sauce. Last but not least, adding her extraordinary secret sauce make it the best banh mi in Hoi An. Cheap price goes along with good quality, there is no doubt that Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen sandwiches have managed to win the hearts of locals as well as travelers from all over the world.

3. Banh Mi Lanh

  • Address: 430 Cua Dai
  • Opening hours: 6:00 am – 9:30 pm daily
  • Price range: 10,000 – 20,000 VND ($0.45 – $0.85)

Another must-try banh mi stands in Hoi An must be Banh Mi Lanh, a brand-new local stand on the way of driving down Cua Dai Road. At first, Banh Mi Lanh seems to be unignorable without a second glance. Even you can’t find any information about Banh Mi Lanh on TripAdvisor or Now/Foody, the famous Vietnamese social media for foodies. However, the stand is really famous among the local community. Despite no unique selling point, Banh Mi Lanh is somehow mesmerizing thanks to the secret recipe of pate, not dry like the other stands. Not to mention her special sauce that makes the banh mi really stands out. If you have a transfer between Hoi An and Cua Dai, don’t miss out on the chance to try this unique taste of ‘banh mi’ in Vietnam.

4. Banh Mi Chay Co Hoi

  • Address: 03 Nguyen Hue Street
  • Opening hours: 6.30 AM – 9.30 PM every day
  • Price range: 15,000 VND ($0.65)

You can find vegetarian sandwiches at nearly every food stall or vegan restaurant but Banh Mi Chay Co Hoi is definitely the best vegan banh mi in Hoi An or even throughout the country. Ms. Hoi only sells one kind of banh mi which is very simple yet delightful and delicious. Her flavorful vegan banh mi is served with plant-based meat, tofu, mushroom, peanut, salad, chili jam, and soy sauce. Sit by the side of the road and watch the world go by while eating the finest banh mi you've ever had.

5. Phi Banh Mi

  • Address: 88 Thai Phien Street
  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 8 PM
  • Price range: 15,000 VND – 35,000 VND ($0.65 – $1.50)

Phi Banh Mi is a family-run food stand that opened in 2013 yet achieved a higher rating on TripAdvisor for a short time. This sandwich stands offering a variety of banh mi as well as able provide options for vegetarians. This popular banh mi establishment attracts both locals and visitors. The baguettes are usually crispy, all of the ingredients are well prepared and cooked at home and the service is excellent. Their traditional banh mi comes with slices of pork braised, cucumber, Vietnamese sausages, pate, cucumber, and herbs. Phi also serves banh mi with a slightly western taste of cheese and avocado slices.

6. Banh Mi Bich

  • Address: 51 Phan Chu Trinh Street
  • Opening hours: 7:30 AM – 10 AM and 3:30 PM to 9:30 PM
  • Price range: 15,000 VND – 20,000 VND ($0.65 - $0.85)

Banh mi Bich is another small stall that serves delicious sandwiches and is regarded by foodies as one of Hoi An's best banh mi stalls. A bakery is located on the same corner, allowing fresh bread to be obtained promptly. If you're lucky, your sandwiches will be cooked right away by warm people, eliminating the need to reheat them after filling. This hidden gem is conveniently located among some of the most well-known chicken rice restaurants as well as other must-try local specialties, making it a great location for those planning a self-guided food tour.

7. Banh Mi Bua

  • Address: 57 Phan Chu Trinh
  • Opening hours: 07:00 – 09:00 PM
  • Price range: 15,000 VND – 20,000 VND ($0.65 - $0.85)

In Hoi An in particular and in the central coast of Vietnam in general, local people love to eat banh mi with sticky rice. Sound a little bit strange and yet this is a one-of-a-kind and tasty Hoi An banh mi stand. Banh mi’s filling and sticky rice’s topping are similar: pate, meat, cucumber, cilantro, crunchy pickled radish, and savory sauce. Everything goes super delicious together. Come here and experience the exclusive combination of freshly crispy banh mi and hot sticky rice.

8. Banh Mi Than

  • Address: 227 Ly Thuong Kiet Street
  • Opening hours: 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Price range: 8,000 VND – 10,000 VND ($0.35 - $0.43)

If you ask any locals, especially students and workers, for the best banh mi in Hoi An, Banh Mi Than is probably where they take you to. As main the main customers are locals with lower expenses, the price of one sandwich here is pretty cheap. However, the cheap price doesn’t mean low quality or less tasty banh mi, here you will find a variety of selections. Fillings include pate, pork char siu, sausage, fried egg, homemade pickles, papaya, carrots, parsley, chili sauce, soy sauce.

9. Banh Mi Minh Thu

  • Address: 248 Ly Thuong Kiet Street
  • Opening hours: 06:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Price range: 10,000 VND – 15,000 VND ($0.43 - $0.65)

There is only one kind of bread sold here: roasted pig sandwich. The pork is marinated before being roasted till the skin crisps up. You can taste the tasty-flavored pork blended in with the soft crumb and crispy crust in each bite. The owner adds exactly the appropriate amount of sauce - not too much that you get all greasy while eating.

10. Drunk Banh Mi Stall

  • Address: An Hoi Street
  • Price range: 25,000 VND – 30,000 VND ($1 - $1.30)

This banh mi stall may be an odd inclusion on a list of the best banh mi. The challenge is real for those caught up in the late-night hunger game. There isn't much of a late-night scene in Hoi An. Those that stay out until the bars close will be released into a region where food is nearly impossible to get by in the early hours. Don't worry, there's a banh mi stand nearby. There is no need to be worry as there is a banh mi stand directly across the street from Tiger Tiger Bar on An Hoi. It first appears in the late evening and will remain open until the last of the perplexed customers has left. This stand isn't trying to take over the banh mi market or become as well-known as some of the others in town. They're there to offer late-night revelers the nourishment they require.

They have a good selection of choices to cover your cravings—from pork, rotisserie chicken with cheese, to egg, and more. On the window of their stand is an English menu to help you with your decision.

Tips to taste the best banh mi in Hoi An

  • When you come to Phi Banh Mi, try their traditional banh mi and ask the staff to add some avocado slices, your taste buds will sing and dance to the rhyme.
  • Banh Mi Phuong is absolutely popular and undoubtedly a large crowd lining up in front of the store. Because of that, they are now serving banh mi in another location. Head to the east side of the Central Market and lookout  for a small stand that opens every day from the early morning till 9.00 PM
  • For those looking for a takeaway, The Queen has pre-made banh mi. The banh mi is tasty, but the texture isn't quite as excellent as one makes fresh. So, it is highly recommended to sit down at the restaurant and enjoy the best quality of banh mi from Madam Khanh.

Finally, no one can resist the charm of ‘banh mi’, which is best tasted in Hoi An, Vietnam. If you have enough time, try to savor 'banh mi Hoi An' in all three suggested places. It is really worth visiting the captivating ancient town in Hoi An and enjoys the best street food in the world.

Minah Trinh

Image Source: Internet

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