What can be surprising about banh mi? It’s all about the same ingredients which most of the time would be bread roll (obviously), cold cuts, pate, fried egg, cucumber, coriander and sometimes pickled carrot and papaya shreds, yet somehow it is never boring and always makes for a fun meal. And that is not only my opinion as this popular national breakfast is probably the most famous sandwich in the world! I had dozens, if not hundreds of them in my life sometimes treating them just as a quick snack on the go and other times hunting for hours to find a recommended place.
One of them is Banh Mi Hong Hoa in Saigon and this is a kind of place where everything is just as it should be. The baguettes are top of what I have eaten and that was no longer surprising as soon as I realized that hidden behind their steel-glass counter is their own bakery with shelves of freshly baked goodies. A lot of customers come here only for their bread rolls but that doesn’t dimish the constant flow of people arriving for their daily, crunchy sandwich serving.
As I was craving more delicate foods my choice was banh mi ca, fish-filled baguette and oh what a good choice that was! The tomato sauce from the fish mixed perfectly with a tiny splash of mayonnaise and a hearty serving of crunchy veggies. All topped with a few slices of chilli to boost the flavours and awaken the taste buds. This would be my everyday breakfast if not for the distance I had to travel from the place I was staying. Definitely worth a try!
Banh mi Hong Hoa, 62 Nguyen Van Tran, Quan 1, Saigon; open morning to evening