|Tiệm Phương Bánh Mì's |
'bánh mì ốp la'
or 'bánh mì deluxe'.
There're many odes to this tasty, filling and kinda-healthy Vietnamese 'sandwich', a recent one being BBC's rave about it. Bánh mì is always welcome at lunch. Love the bread. It's pretty light. It fills me up on not-too-hungry-days, and on others, leave me plenty of space to gobble up more food.
The man loves the meat versions, bánh mì thịt, which are mainly pork in all types- ham, paté or terrine, floss, sausage or char siew. Most bánh mì cost under VND25,000 (~S$1.50). A super-happy meal. There's grilled chicken available. But there're always vegetarian versions for me, bánh mì chay, with the option of adding an omelette.
The man marked out all stalls in Hội An that have been reviewed online and dragged me around eating many loaves of fantastic bread. Oddly, these two are good- Tiệm Phương Bánh Mì at its new premises 2B Phan Chau Trinh Street, earlier made famous by Anthony Bourdain and his 'No Reservations' in 2009, and the other locally known favorite, Madam Khánh of The Bánh Mì Queen at Tran Cao Van Street, thankfully sited outside of Ancient Town. That's not to say these are the best, but even the locals eat there, so it's cool.
|Madam Khánh presiding over her modest stall under the avocado tree. |
Her husband helped out with the ingredients and frying of the omelette.
One could put anything inside the baguette and call it bánh mì. It's up to you. One just needs to find a damn good tiny baguette to make it. Finding that bread alone will take forever. Even the dressing is entirely decided by the individual stalls- cheese, mayonnaise, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, pickled carrots, daikon. Whatever, really. Thousands of interpretations out there which are just as delicious. But this is the home of bánh mì, and I'll take their version as authentic.
We very much prefer the flavors in Madam Khánh's loaves. There's something about her choice of sauces and all. Apparently she's 90 years old, and still personally tends to her stall every day. Wow. The family lives in the shophouse, and opened up the front space for additional tables. Bánh mì is best eaten on-the-spot. It's no good soggy. It's tiny enough to be eaten quickly on-the-spot anyway. Merrily plonked ourselves outdoors at the table right next to the preparation counter. Wanted to watch what went on.
Forgot to remind the man I wanted plain black iced coffee. He likes cà phê sữa đá and ordered one for me too. Eeeeks. Too sweet! Luckily they served up green tea as chasers. The cold tea went well on a blazing hot day with the food. The man had the everything-in-it version- bánh mì thịt nguội. He totally LOVED IT. Almost ordered a second to chomp on. Two fantastic bánh mì, two strong good coffees and two teas- all for VND80,000 (~$5). Prices we'll never see elsewhere. The baguette is crisp on the outside and all soft within. In Vietnam where pork rules, I've eaten many loaves as main meals. Ate some other versions around the world too. Most are mediocre. Few are good, and so far, I love Madam Khánh's best.
Madam Khánh, The Bánh Mì Queen
115 Tran Cao Van Street,
065 Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam