Banh mi - Vietnam “super-sandwich” appeared in Hong Kong newspaper

02 July 2021

Banh mi is one of the most famous street food in Vietnam and known by many tourists over the world. Recently, Banh mi was honored in an article in South China Morning Post (SCMP) of Hong Kong.

Theign Yie Phan and her Banh mi restaurant


Theign Yie Phan and her "Banh mi" in Hong Kong - Photo: SCMP

"Theign Yie Phan splits the baguette bread, puts into slices of pork, pork patties, chicken liver pâté and butter. Next she balances the flavor of the dish with slices of fresh cucumber, pickles. soy sauce, coriander, green onions and chili for an explosive flavor.” It is detail described in the article “Banh mi story - super-sandwich of Vietnam impressing the world” about how to make a loaf of bread in Le Petit Saigon.

Every morning, Ms. Theign Yie Phan always "struggles with her mind" to not eat Banh mi, because she usually eats this dish 7 days a week. But it is not easy to quit eating Banh mi, especially when she is the chef of a Vietnamese bakery in Wan Chai commercial area.

"Eating banh mi is not boring," the chef of Le Petit Saigon laughed and said.

"Banh mi has a balance between flavor and texture, with crunchy bread crust, bold flavor of meat, hot flavor of pickles." Theign Yie Phan explained about the food that SCMP calls one of the most Vietnamese famous "exported" dishes, along with Pho.

Banh mi Vietnam


Theign Yie Phan at Le Petit Saigon bakery in Hong Kong - Photo: SCMP

From the French baguette to the Vietnamese loaf of bread

How did a Southeast Asia country just famous for rice and noodles, become the cradle of a very "Western" sandwich? SCMP article looks for the answer.

Banh mi began to appear in 130 years ago when the French came to Vietnam, bringing the French cuisine and culture.

"The French needed to eat their food, so brough something like wheat to make Banh mi, cheese, coffee, and other daily products" explained by Peter Cuong Franklin, who researched the influence of French cuisine on Vietnam.

Chef Peter Cuong Franklin


Chef Peter Cuong Franklin - Photo: Anan Saigon

Since then, the Vietnamese got familiar with French foods, despite quite expensive at that time. When wheat and baguette making technique were "imported" into Vietnam, Vietnamese, especially Chinese-Vietnamese, learned how to make Banh mi in their own ways, Peter added.

According to this Vietnamese-American chef, the Vietnamese version of Banh mi has been modified to suit the local taste, by adding yeast and water during the baking process, to make the Vietnamese Banh mi lighter than the French baguette.

The French often eat the baguette with chicken liver or foie gras. However, Vietnamese think that eating so is too fat, so they have developed their own version of Banh mi with pork liver pate, much cheaper and easier to make.

Vietnamese local Banh mi vendor


A Vietnamese local Banh mi store - Photo: SCMP

Banh mi - a global phenomenon

From a rustic food on the streets of Saigon, Banh mi today has become a global phenomenon, especially in countries with crowd Vietnamese community such as Australia and the US...

Today, there are more than 1.3 million Vietnamese living in the US, so their traditional cuisine has been gradually accepted by Americans.

"The United States is the center of popular culture, and over the years, TV shows, travels, Anthony Bourdain, culinary blogs and social networks help to introduce unique Vietnamese food to Americans", Chef Theign Yie Phan explained.

A woman sells Banh mi


A Banh mi vendor in Hanoi - Photo: Alamy

Theign Yie Phan believes that many Americans like Vietnamese Banh mi because the ingredients of this dish are very familiar to them, from bread, meat, pickles...

In Hong Kong, about 90 loaves of Banh mi are sold daily in her Le Petit Saigon store. The main menu in this shop includes Banh mi with pork, chicken or vegetarian with tofu, but this young lady was not afraid to be creative.

Banh mi Vietnam in Hong Kong


Every day Le Petit Saigon bakery in Hong Kong sells about 90 loaves, but the best-selling is Banh mi with pork - Photo: SCMP

Theign's best-selling item is Banh mi with Saigon-style pork.

A 100 USD loaf of Banh Mi


100 USD loaf of Banh mi by Peter Cuong Franklin

100 USD loaf of Banh mi by Peter Cuong Franklin - Photo: Anan Saigon

Anan Saigon Restaurant in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, by Chef Peter Cuong Franklin, is a place to sell loaves of Banh mi worth up to $ 100, which are made from truffle mayonnaise, pate, grilled ribs, foie gras, coriander, eaten together with fried sweet potato and caviar.

"A part of my mission is to promote Vietnamese cuisine, helping people to change their minds about Vietnamese food.

Banh mi is very famous in the world for its nutrition, lightness, and diversified tastes. However, Vietnamese food is thought to be delicious, but cheap, so I decided to do something crazy to change their minds." said chef Peter.

In case you want to discover Vietnamese cuisine with Banh mi or other authentic food, you can contact Travel Authentic Asia for a food tour in any destination you want via email: [email protected] or WhatApp: +84 912221442.

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