Vietnamese street food : banh mi thit nuong (Vietnamese pork roll)

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If there were an Olympics based on sandwiches, I’m pretty sure Vietnam would win.

Sure, a BLT is a great choice and a fish finger sandwich definitely has its merits (ketchup or mayo?) but the bánh mì conquers all. The champion of sandwich lovers!

Bánh mì is one of the go to street foods of Vietnam and it’s eaten all over the country.

The pictures are taken from Flickr using a Creative Commons License, no modifications were made – thanks to wEnDy & Khánh Hmoong.

The ingredients and ratios are often different, depending on each creators preference and available ingredients. All bánh mì start with a crusty, but light and airy French style baguette with a good smothering of mayonnaise and pâté. Cold cuts of pork are added along with pickled carrots and diakon, fresh chilli, coriander, and sometimes cucumber. Tofu can be added as well, or as a replacement for pork.

It is Vietnamese past, and present all wrapped up in one of the tastiest sandwiches ever created. The bread, mayonnaise and pâté are references to the French colonial rule of parts of South East Asia, which was known as French Indochina, chilli and coriander are some of the more well known flavours of South East Asia, and pork just makes everything taste awesome.

 

Bánh mì thit nướng simply refers to the two key components – bread (bánh mì) & grilled meat (thit nướng). The word bánh mì is a the generic term for bread, in Vietnamese but just asking for that should usually get you a Vietnamese sandwich and not just a dry roll.
Vietnamese often eat bánh mì for breakfast and a lot of the stalls are only open in the mornings to cater for this. other tourist-centric stalls are usually open most of, If not all day but generally are more expensive.
Some vendors will have experience with tourists and speak enough English to ask if you want egg, or chilli sauce or pâté. If you’re wary about the open, unrefridgerated jar of pâté sitting on the counter top don’t be, it’s rich, creamy meaty and absolutely essential ingredient along with fresh chilli and coriander on top. Expect to pay around 15’000 to 30’000VND.

Due to the popularity of these sandwiches with tourists and the migration of Vietnamese communities it’s often quite easy to find these in other big cities around the world. Sydney (and Australia in general) has a large Vietnamese population. If you’re in need of a Vietnamese food fix, get yourself out to Cabramatta in Sydney’s west, the largest Vietnamese population in Australia. You can buy a  Bánh mì all over though, usually sold as ‘Vietnamese pork rolls’ or just ‘pork rolls’.

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