When you think of Vietnamese foods you probably envision lots of spicy chilies, exotic spice blends and percolating pots of fishy soups. Well even across the globe busy people are still eating on the go. One of Vietnam’s most traditional and popular to-go foods is the Banh mi, or Vietnamese sandwich.
With its origins in French cuisine the Banh mi sandwich is made with a traditional French baguette, filled with a variety of fresh and local Vietnamese ingredients. Typically a spread of mayonnaise, garlic and cilantro is used on a sliced, whole-wheat baguette. The most common ingredients used n Banh mi are Vietnamese ham, ground pork, cilantro, pork pate’, daikon, pickled carrots, fish sauce and mayonnaise. A search of Banh mi recipes on the Internet will yield hundreds of traditional recipes and preparations as well as many modern interpretations using more western ingredients.
Breakfast Banh mi sandwiches are also popular. These include ingredients such as scrambled eggs, chili and soy sauce, pickled onions and bacon. There are also a large variety of vegetarian Banh mi sandwiches such as the “banh mì chay”, which is a soybean pate’ spread with cilantro, pickled inions and carrots, daikon, sprouts and radishes on a toasted baguette.
Typically you would find Banh mi served in small noodle or Banh mi shops in any urban area of Vietnam, as well as scattered specialty shops across the globe. Recently Banh mi sandwich shops have surfaced in America’s large cities and are becoming a popular alternative to the typical fast food lunch, as well as a taste of home for Vietnamese Americans. In any Asian community across the world, you wont have to look very far for a Banh mi shop.
Vietnamese Banh mi sandwiches are a healthy alternative for fast foods. Typically a classical Banh mi has about 1/4 the calories of your typical fast food hamburger, and zero trans fats. Vegetarian sandwiches are an even healthier option, with typically less calories than even most green salads.
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