Landing in Vietnam and enduring a taxi journey to test even the most steely of nerves had made us hungry. Throughout the flight over from Kuala Lumpur, my thoughts had swayed towards a popular Vietnamese sandwich. The Banh Mi.
Ho Chi Minh City is filled with places specialising in this humble snack. Following on from the French colonisation of Vietnam, the legacy of a filled baguette with an asian twist became a street staple. Right near our hotel at Alagon D’Antique on the Nguyen Van Trang sits Banh Mi Hong Hoa, a stall selling a wide range of Banh Mi.
It is said that every special meal begins with a special journey. I have never risked my life in the name of food but there’s a first time for everything. Crossing the street here is downright lunacy. A hand up in the air to signify that you are crossing and the traffic weaves around you, or that’s the idea. This method is best at a steady pace, not that cars or buses seem to care.
Mercifully, we reach Hong Hoa. The lady who greeted us was lovely and informed us that sadly our first pick, bbq pork, had sadly finished for the day. Luckily, there was still roast pork. We watched as our sandwiches were constructed expertly. It’s a nice touch that the crusty baguette rolls are freshly toasted prior to being filled.
For 27,000 Dong ( 90 pence, UK money) per sandwich, we felt like we had done well. The first bite into this spicy and flavoursome baguette was something truly memorable. It tastes a world away from any replication back in the UK. The pork, with the addition of crackling, was full of flavour. The pickled carrot, radish and cucumber add that fresh hit with chilli giving a spicy kick.
Looking back, we may have needed to ask for the pate and mayonnaise but there’s always a next time. As the bikes whizzed by, we continued to munch on our new purchases. As an introduction to street food in Ho Chi Minh City, this had made a huge, and tasty, impression.
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