Banh Mi - Cultural Features of Vietnamese Cuisine

In Vietnam, people can meet any bread shop all over the street, from the National Highway, the main road, to the little-known alleys. Although extremely popular, not everyone can claim to fully understand this "sandwich." And today's article, Top Ten Reviews would like to share with you some valuable and exciting information about Banh mi - a typical cultural feature of Vietnamese cuisine.

  1. What is Banh mi?

What is Banh mi? 

Banh mi is celebrated as one of the best street food and the best sandwich in the world. Even "Banh mi" - (banh mi /ˈbɑːn miː/) was honored to be one of three Vietnamese words included in the Oxford dictionary data, along with "Pho" (pho /fə ː/) and "Ao Dai" " - (ao dai /ˈaʊ ˌdʌɪ/). All are enough to prove the popularity and irresistible charm of this dish. 

Banh mi is a food made from flour from crushed grains mixed with water, usually by baking. Throughout history, it has been popular worldwide and is one of the oldest man-made foods, and has been important since the dawn of agriculture.

There are many combinations and ratios of flours and other ingredients, and there are also different traditional recipes and methods for making Banh mi. As a result, there are many varieties, shapes, sizes, and textures of Banh mi in other regions.

Banh mi can be fermented by various processes, from natural microorganisms (e.g., in sourdough) to the use of artificial ventilation with high pressure in the preparation process or baked. 

However, some remaining Banh mi products are left unfermented, either for taste or for traditional or religious reasons. Many non-grain ingredients can be included in Banh mi: from fruits and nuts to various fats. Commercial bread in particular often contains additives, some non-nutritive, intended to improve taste, texture, color, shelf life, or make manufacturing more manageable. Depending on local customs, bread can be eaten in different forms at any meal of the day.  

Origin of Banh mi in Vietnam

Many people disagree that Vietnamese Banh mi originated from France, but Banh mi was gradually introduced to Vietnam, and especially to Saigon from 1859, the expedition occupied the city. Gia Dinh of the French colonialists brought Banh mi closer to the people. Initially, this type of food was considered by our people as a snack, not as a main dish. Banh mi is used to eat through the meal, not as complete as a regular meal. Gradually, Banh mi has become one of the features of Vietnamese cuisine.

In particular, the beginning of Banh mi in Saigon in particular, and of Vietnam in general, was the Baguette bread brought by the French in the early 19th century. By 1975, the traditional French brick ovens in the decade The 50s and 60s could not meet the increasing demand in Saigon, so several electric ranges and "drum-baked Banh mi" were produced from large drums (200L).

During the conversion process, the Saigon people processed the baguette into a typical Saigon Banh mi with a shorter length, only about 30-40 cm. The loaf of Banh mi, processed and added with meat, became so familiar that it became a popular Vietnamese dish, believed to have been around for 150 years. And depending on the ingredients inside, sandwiches have different names.

Types of Vietnamese Banh mi 

The food inside of a loaf of Vietnamese Banh mi often varies by region, including 3 main groups: 

  • Animal ingredients: roasted pork, minced meat stewed with spices, shumai, pate liver, sausage, Vietnamese sausage, chicken, sardines, cheese, fried eggs, rolls, cold cuts, tamarind, butter, onion fat, etc. 
  • Vegetables: thinly sliced cucumber, coriander (cilantro), pickles, onion, onion, basil, etc. 
  • Sauce, seasoning: soy sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, pepper, sauce, soup powder, chili sauce, etc. 

And depending on the ingredients sandwiched inside, it is divided into different types of Banh mi with other names: 

  1. Meat Banh mi
  2. Banh mi shumai
  3. Banh mi sticks
  4. Banh mi op la (Bánh mì ốp la)
  5. Chicken Banh mi
  6. Pork skin Banh mi
  7. Fluffy Banh mi
  8. Sardine Banh mi
  9. Beef soup Banh mi
  10. Banh mi pate
  11. Banh mi "Cóc"
  12. Tofu Banh mi
  13. Banh mi "Phá Lấu"
  14. Grilled fish Banh mi
  15. Butter Banh mi (margarine)
  16. Some typical Da Nang Banh mi

Meat Banh mi  

This is the most popular type of Banh mi in Vietnam. The seller cuts the bread along with the banh mi and stuffs it with meat, spread with pate, some cilantro, vegetables, then a little sauce typical of each region, each door. (with roast pork, you can have no spice, instead, salt and green chili depending on each person's taste). Meatloaf has many variations, but the most popular is still cold meat, accompanied by rolls. Then there are grilled meat sandwiches, roasted pork sandwiches,... 

Banh mi shumai 

Banh mi shumai is available in many places, but perhaps, Da Lat still has its own characteristics that make people remember it. Each portion of shumai is served in a small bowl filled with soup, inside with shumai balls, pork rolls, pork skin, and scallions sprinkled on top. Enjoying the taste of bone sweetness, with the pungent taste of chili in the broth combined with freshly baked bread in the cold weather is really interesting. 

Banh mi sticks 

This is an exciting type of Banh mi. It is rod-shaped, elongated cylinders, fried onion, chili, butter, signature sauce. This type of Banh mi can be easily found in the central provinces.

Banh mi op la (Bánh mì ốp la)

There are 2 types of Banh mi op la. More popular is the kind covered in a pan, with some cilantro, pickles, sauces and eaten on the spot. The other is a sandwich with an egg omelet inside.

Chicken Banh mi 

This is a pretty popular Da Nang Banh mi. Chicken Banh mi has a round shape, looks quite funny, comes with a straightforward bread filling, including butter, pâté, pickles, vegetables, jam,... These ingredients blend beautifully. Perfect inside the loaf creates an unforgettable taste for everyone.

Pork skin Banh mi 

Burgers or pork skin cut into small pieces, the seller will add fish sauce to the Banh mi.

Fluffy Banh mi 

The food that comes with the Banh mi is shredded meat and sprinkled with a bit of soy sauce.

Sardine Banh mi 

Banh mi is served with sardines. Usually, sardines are canned sardines with ketchup.

Beef soup Banh mi 

This is actually a flatbread, dipped in and served with braised beef.

Banh mi pate - Pâté sandwich

Banh mi "Cóc"

This type of Banh mi is about 1 hand long, about 60% longer than regular bread. Sandwiched with meat and pate like meatloaf, it's pretty hard to see this type of Banh mi nowadays.

Tofu Banh mi


This is vegan Banh mi. There are also sugar bean loaves of bread.

Banh mi "Phá Lấu" 

The main ingredient of the kernel is Phá lấu.

Grilled fish Banh mi 

Fried fish cake sandwich, this dish is increasingly popular in Saigon.

Butter Banh mi (margarine)

Banh mi with a bit of butter, a little sugar.

Some typical Da Nang Banh mi: 

Roasted pork Banh mi, filtered flour Banh mi, dry rim Banh mi,... 

Foreigners' comments about Banh Mi - A typical cultural feature of Vietnamese cuisine 

According to some American culinary newspapers, the Banh mi of Vietnamese shops are dishes with contrasting flavors and characteristics: the outside is crispy, but the inside is soft and spongy. The filling is both rich and spicy. 

In March 2011, Banh Mi, which refers to a Vietnamese burger, appeared in the Oxford dictionary. The press recognizes that Vietnamese sandwiches are one of the best street foods in the world.

The article "The world's best street food" in The Guardian in December 2012 said: "A little-known secret is the best sandwich in the world, not found in Rome, Copenhagen or even New York City, but on the streets of Vietnam. It starts with a light baguette grilled over charcoal. After a bit of mayonnaise and a dollop of pâté, the crispy crust, filled with meat, crunchy pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs, it's usually seasoned with a few drops of soy sauce hot chili seasoning.

In 2014, Andrea Nguyen published The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches, named by National Public Radio (NPR) as one of the year's best cookbooks. With the help of Andrea Nguyen, chef Robyn Eckhardt took a survey trip in Ho Chi Minh City to identify the best places to sell Banh mi (meat) and then wrote the article "Finding Saigon's best banh mi" on the EatingAsia website. 

On November 10, 2017, on the occasion of his visit to Vietnam, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Vietnamese-born chef Luke Nguyen walked and stopped for Banh mi at a bakery in Da Nang.

Hopefully, the above article will help you get answers to the questions: what is Banh mi? The origin and history of Banh mi in the world and the formation and development of Vietnamese Banh mi - an attractive street food, a typical cultural feature of Vietnamese cuisine.

Post created : 65   
Your comments must be minimum 30 charachter.
You are commenting as a visitor, you canlogin
Continue Reading
Last views