Bánh mì or bánh mỳ is a Vietnamese baguette made with wheat and rice flour, as well as a type of sandwich traditionally made with this type of baguette. The sandwich is made up of thinly sliced pickled carrots and daikon, onions, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeño peppers and meat or tofu. Popular bánh mì fillings include roasted or grilled pork, Vietnamese ham, paté, mayonnaise, chicken, and head cheese. Most Banh Mi sandwiches contain a Vietnamese mayonnaise-like spread that is a mixture of egg yolk, cooking oil/butter, and sometimes spices.
Bánh mì is generally served in small shops and at some phở noodle eateries. Bánh mì shops can be found in many countries, especially in areas with a Vietnamese immigrant community. The contrasting flavors and textures of the sandwich — as well as its relatively low cost — make it a popular dish. Bánh mì is referred to as a "Saigon Sub", "Vietnamese Po' boy" in the New Orleans community (USA), a "Vietnamese Hoagie" in other parts of the United States, or a "Vietnamese Sub" in Canada.
The genesis of the bánh mì sandwich stems from the French countryside "salad sandwich" which consists of lettuces, tomatoes and sometimes vegetables as well as dressing served on a baguette. The sandwich is a product of French colonialism in Indochina, combining ingredients from the French (baguettes, pate and mayonnaise) with native Vietnamese ingredients like cilantro, hot peppers, fish sauce and pickled carrots.
In Vietnamese, bánh mì means, "bread", but it can also be used to refer to the bread stuffed with meat.
The ingredients in a Vietnamese sandwich vary most notably in their meat selections. Common varieties are bánh mì gà made with chicken, bánh mì trứng with scrambled egg, bánh mì bì made with shredded pork skin and roasted rice powder, bánh mì thịt nướng made with grilled pork, bánh mì xíu mại made with juicy crushed pork meatballs, and the bánh mì đặc biệt or "special combo" which includes all the ingredients found in the other sandwiches. Some restaurants also offer bánh mì chay, a vegetarian option, made with tofu or textured vegetable protein. One variety is made with various Vietnamese coldcuts made of pork, along with pickled carrots and radishes. Chili peppers and pate are often added as well. In the United States, the typical Vietnamese sandwich is known as the bánh mì thit and it is often made with broiled pork and goose liver pate. In Canada, the most popular Vietnamese Subs are made with beef or chicken.
Another popular option is the breakfast bánh mì, either with fried scrambled eggs served in a baguette, or the version eaten more widely for breakfast in Vietnam: Eggs fried sunny-side-up with onions, sprinkled with soy sauce or maggi sauce, and eaten with a fresh (and sometimes buttered) baguette.
Vietnamese food became very popular in Canada starting in the 90's, and continues to be: Banh Mi Thi Thi in downtown Calgary Alberta has consistently had lineups down the street for their chicken sate sub for over ten years. The demand has also been growing places like France, Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Laos and Thailand. A renaissance of Vietnamese food including banh mi and pho is showing up in U.S. cities. The New York Times reported on the many banh mi shops popping up around the city.
Have you tried Banh Mi yet? My greatest lunch obsession right now are these vietnamese sandwiches. The sandwiches are always fresh, super filling, and cheap. It’s the type of lunch that completely fills you up, but does not weigh you down. Basically, the sandwich is made of a small loaf of fresh, crusty French baguette and then stuffed with thin slices of daikon, cucumber, onion, carrot, cilantro, and a tangy Vietnamese mayonnaise like sauce. You can also opt for more fillings, usually pork … more
Bahn Mi sandwiches are my favorite of all sandwiches, they're very different from any other sandwich, I've never used the word scrumptious for any particular food before, but these are. I absolutely can't stand cilantro, and have a mild reaction to it, but I brave ahead and eat it on a bahn mi! I would've never thought I'd eat liverwurst either, or pickled carrot slices, but this is a union of things I can't stand that turned into something I can't live without. … more
I discovered bahn mi sandwiches in the past year while living in New York. I believe that it's a dish that originated when the French colonized Vietnam. There are some French ingredients (crusty French bagette, mayonaise), and some Vietnamese ingredients (cilantro, daikon radish and carrots, various forms of meat stuffing like pate or grilled pork, jalapeno peppers). I can genuinely say that my life has improved b/c of this sandwich. To me, what really makes this sandwich … more