Vietnam has always been famous for its culinary arts with various different kinds of foods varying along nearly 2,000 kilometers from the northern to southern region. Many dishes from this small yet beautiful country are a perfect combination of Asian culture with Western influences. Among numerous ideal destinations for a culinary tour in Vietnam, Hoi An is definitely a wonderful place to get your stomach full and satisfying at the same time. And, of course, Hoi An is known for its Vietnamese sandwich, also known as banh mi, which many claim as the best one they have ever had.
Banh mi, which basically means “wheat flour bread”, is a great harmony of bread and a lot of ingredients inside, such as pate, grilled pork, pork floss, eggs or butter. Then added to that mouth-watering flavor is accompanying vegetables like cucumber slices, cilantro, pickles and condiments like spicy chili sauce. Banh mi is influenced by the casse-croute, a popular baguette served with pate, ham and butter during the French colonial period in Indochina. Nonetheless, the difference here, also as the key secret that makes banh mi crunchy on the outside while being super soft and airy inside is that banh mi is made from a mixture of both wheat flour and rice flour.
Many have questioned whether banh mi is the best sandwich in the world or not. Let’s follow us GoAsiaDayTrip to some of the most popular banh mi shops in Hoi An, a small picturesque coastal city in Central Vietnam.
1. Banh mi Phuong (Vietnamese sandwich – Madam Phuong)
This particular banh mi Phuong shop is definitely one of the first destinations that ever come to the mind of those who love this Vietnamese sandwich. If you ever watch the show “No Reservations”, you might remember Anthony Bourdain trying banh mi and describing it as “symphony in a sandwich”.
(In case you have not seen it, that is totally alright. Here is a short video of the shot where you can see Anthony tasting banh mi.)
It is not even an exaggeration that this Vietnamese sandwich is like a smoothly musical harmony of all the ingredients. We can easily find all the five tastes “sweet, salty, spicy, sour and bitter” in just one single banh mi. It is like the combination of five elements of the universe, which are “metal, wood, water, fire and earth”.
Madam Phuong, who gets up at 3 AM to prepare all the ingredients, is able to sell around 2,000 loaves of bread per day. A long queue of people is seen at her shop during lunch and dinner to get a taste from a variety of different flavors with an unbelievably reasonable price.
Address: 2B Phan Chau Trinh street, Cam Chau, Hoi An
Open time: 6:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Phone: +84 90 574 37 73
2. Banh mi Khanh (Vietnamese sandwich – Madam Khanh)
Situated on Tran Cao Van street, quite far from the city centre, banh mi Khanh shop is not as popular as banh mi Phuong. However, her shop still receives lots of recognition from tourists, and people on TripAdvisor give her a lovely name, “The Banh Mi Queen”.
Madam Khanh is over 80 years old now, so she could make her Vietnamese sandwich slower than other shops. Nevertheless, it is totally worth the wait for her banh mi. The banh mi is made from 10 separate ingredients like grilled meat, fried eggs, pate, cheese, pickles and many other, along with the crunchy plain bread taken from a bakery near her house. The sauce is specially handmade too, from tomato and wood ear mushroom. Once you get your hand on this beautiful little sandwich, you will see that it is so full of ingredients that you might get the sauce or some meat fallen down.
The owner only sells about 100 or 200 loaves per day, but it is guaranteed that each bite you take will be unforgettable. The price is not costly at all. It takes about 20,000 VND for a delicious banh mi.
Address: 115 Tran Cao Van street, Hoi An
Open time: 7 AM – 7 PM
Phone: +84 90 666 03 09
Those are two of the most popular banh mi – Vietnamese sandwich, a must-try dish when you come to visit Hoi An in particular or Vietnam in general. Please do not forget to tell us your thoughts after trying this common yet wonderful food, too.
Check out our other writings about Hoi An’s culinary art: