Good Morning Vietnam! The sun arises on another day in Saigon and we are on the hunt for breakfast. Fortunately, we don’t have to look far. On a side street virtually opposite our hotel at Alagon D’Antique in District 1, sits a small yet bustling street food stall. Banh Mi Chao.
This is a stall that you could confuse with selling the famed filled baguette under the name ‘Banh Mi’ but actually all Banh Mi means is ‘bread’. This baguette comes with a Vietnamese take on the fried breakfast. No menu is present as the stall only specialises in this one dish.
As motorbikes screech in and the riders park themselves on a 30cm high stool, the place begins to fill rapidly. We manage a seat inside on a standard low stool with a table just a few centimeters taller. On the table, we have soy sauce, mayonnaise, chilli sauce, pepper and a plate of pickled vegetables.
The ladies at the stall are so friendly and work a speed that manifests itself into a blur. Within a couple of minutes, our food is in front of us. The steel bowl consists of a fried egg, a spoon of pate, sausages (similar to frankfurters), coriander and a slice of salted pork.
With a crusty, fresh baguette in hand, the idea is to dunk your bread into the egg and pate mixture. This produces an incredible flavour combination. I was really impressed by the fresh flavour of the pickled vegetables – white radish and carrot. Everything together almost tasted like a Banh Mi.
A splash of soy sauce really helps add a salty flavour and chilli sauce is there if you like it a bit more spicy. The dish was rich enough so no need for mayonnaise on this occasion. For just 35,000 Dong per portion (around £1.17) this was money well spent.
Breakfast options are plentiful in Saigon with vendors up and down each street specialising in various different dishes. For us, we were delighted to have found Banh Mi Chao. This is a local favourite and it’s not hard to see why.
Opening Times: Daily 0400-1130