Sunday, January 21, 2007

Banh Mi, Baria-Vungtau, Vietnam

A review of the foods in Vietnam will never be complete without featuring banh mi. Banh mi basically means "bread". These bread loaves resemble sub-style mini baguettes and are ubiquitous in Vietnam; probably another reflection of their French colonial past. Banh mi comes with a variety of fillings, the most common one being "banh mi thit" which is basically a mixed meat sandwich with a very tasty pate spread. Other varieties include banh mi nem nuong (with the grilled sausage), banh mi ga (with chicken) or banh mi rao cai (just vegetables).

For simplicity's sake I'm lumping Baria and Vungtau together as a single province but they aren't really. Baria is about 20km from Vungtau. Baria has about 20 bakeries that make banh mi, of these 20, only three are still using traditional wood-fired ovens.

So here I was at the oldest wood-fired bakery to get my fresh and warm banh mi.

There's a lot of wood stocked outside to fire these ovens, not surprising since they hand-make (all the dough is kneaded by hand) about 2500 banh mi a day and always sell out!

So here I was with a warm banh mi in hand. What's in it? Was it a banh mi thit, banh mi nem nuong? It was just empty banh mi. The warm and crisp crust gave way to reveal the soft, chewy and delicious bread.

Plain banh mi and a cup of ultra thick Vietnamese coffee. Sometimes, the most enjoyable things in life are best kept simple.



cruel-intentions said...

have u ever tried the one in raffles city?
if yes,
any difference?

zhengning said...

the vietnamese coffee looks super thick and dark. how does it taste like?

Lord Dianabol said...

The coffee's looking mighty wicked stud.

I can't believe you ate that loaf sans meat :oD

D said...

cruel-intentions: Hmm, which part of Raffles City is it in? I'll definitely want to give it shot when I'm in the area. Even better still, I'll bring along my Vietnamese colleague for the ultimate test of authenticity haha!

zhengning: Very fragrant and very very thick. It wakes you up in the morning like a mega hit, literally jolts you up =D

lady dianabol: I wanted to test the banh mi au naturale, just to appreciate it in its purity.

cruel-intentions said...

its located at the basement, opp cedele..
i think bryan has written some reviews on it before..but i couldn't find tt old post coz its not so user-friendly =x