Representing a true melting pot of cultures and cuisines alike, Vietnamese banh mi distinguishes itself from other kinds of baguettes and sandwiches thanks to its smaller and shorter shape, its crunchy crust on the outside but fluffy on the inside.
A traditional version of banh mi is filled with a dollop of pâté; char siu pork; butter; slices of pickled papaya, kohlrabi and carrots; cilantro; and chilli sauce.
Eateries also offer other tasty banh mi stuffing, such as eggs fried with green onions, tuna, barbecued pork, grilled chicken, and roasted pork.
Banh mi has not only left good impressions on international visitors to Vietnam but it is also now present in many countries worldwide. Many banh mi shops and stalls have been set up in many big cities abroad, attracting many food-lovers.
The world “banh mi” was admitted into the Oxford English Dictionary on March 24, 2011, which defines it as a sandwich in Vietnamese cuisine.
Banh mi was ranked second by the Guardian in their “World’s Best Street Foods” index. In an article published in 2012, the Guardian said: “A little-known secret is that the world’s best sandwich isn’t found in Rome, Copenhagen or even New York City, but on the streets of Vietnam.”
David Farley, a BBC writer specialising in travel and cuisine, praised banh mi as "the best sandwich in the world".
Meanwhile, the late chef Anthony Bourdain, one of the most influential culinary experts in the world, once complimented banh mi in his “No Reservation” programme on CNN.