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The BBC’s gastronomic page once had the article “Is the Banh Mi the world’s best sandwich?”, expressing the author’s feelings when trying this Vietnam dish. Not only in the BBC but also other world-famous culinary magazines, Banh Mi, with the popularity might be just after Pho, is considered a portion of must-try iconic street food in Vietnam.

Similar to Pho, people prefer not to call the dish Vietnamese baguette or Vietnamese sandwich, but with a proper name, Banh Mi – the name is full of national pride that no matter which country you are from, you need to speak Vietnamese when you order the dish.

What is Banh Mi?

Banh Mi is literally bread made from wheat and stuffed with a combination of ingredients, like meat, pickles, cucumber, pate, sometimes pork ham.

Banh Mi varies in shapes and fillings in different Vietnam regions. Banh Mi Hanoi is neither the kind with a hard crust like Banh Mi Saigon nor the small, long one like in Danang; also, not the tiny breadstick as Banh Mi Que Hai Phong.

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The food appeared in Hanoi a little later than Saigon. Hanoians used to call it “Western baguette” due to its origin in France. The traditional Banh Mi Hanoi is quite simple, featuring moderately-thin crust, crispy outside but soft inside, and extremely rich, fragrant Pate sauce that bears the essence of Hanoi and a few slices of greasy fat. Until the 1930s, people added meat floss, thinly-sliced red sausages, and spicy chili sauce with a pinch of vegetables. Sometimes you have to split it in half to eat. Hanoi bread is just right, full enough.

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You can effortlessly find Banh Mi Hanoi throughout the Capital’s streets with a dozen of typical brands. “Best of the world” Banh Mi on Hue Street has been praised for its crunchy crust, tasty meat, and spices by gastronomic expert Geoffrey Deetz. Another outstanding name is the aged Banh Mi with Western-style and delicious liver pate on Nguyen Sinh Street. More special is the Banh Mi on the sidewalk of Cha Ca Street with one-of-a-kind pate and little dried shallot. Last but not least, Banh Mi Thai Thinh is also famous for the cheap price and attractive savor.

Everyone loves Banh Mi Hanoi, from children to elders. Banh Mi is just right, full enough for served as breakfast and lunch, or even dinner and supper.

Some recommendable addresses to buy Banh Mi in Hanoi:

– Banh Mi Old Quarter – Add: 38 Dinh Liet – Opening hours: 7:00-17:00 – Price: From 10,000 VND

– Banh Mi Ba Dan – Add: 34 Lo Su – Opening hours: 6:00-22:00 – Price: 15,000 VND

– Banh Mi Nguyen Sinh – Add: 19 Ly Quoc Su – Opening hours: 7:00 – 21:30 – Price: From 15,000 VND

– Banh Mi Dinh Ngang – Opening hours: 8:00 – 23:00 – Price from 30,000 VND

– Banh Mi Hoa Ma – Opening hours: 6:00-22:00 – Price: from 30,000 VND

– Banh Mi Chao Thai Thinh – Opening hours: 6:30 – 21:30 – Price: from 30,000 VND

– Banh Mi Quang Trung – Opening hours: 9:00-21:00 – Price: from 10,000 VND