Vietnam’s First Banh mi (bread) Festival, aimed at celebrating the values of banh mi in Vietnamese cuisine, has left a great impression on visitors during the four-day event that ended today [April 2].

With 120 pavilions set up by bakeries, restaurants, and leading food suppliers, the festival held in the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City drew a large crowd.

The festival showcases a variety of bread loads made in different shapes and flavors regardless of traditional and inventive ingredients with the goal of promoting the virtues of banh mi to foreigners.

Visitors can experience firsthand the steps involved in making bread and sample bread made with a variety of ingredients and flavors.

Some typical kinds at the festival are Banh mi thit nuong based Hanoi (bread filled with baked meat), Banh mi xiu mai based Dalat (bread filled with ground pork meatballs), Banh mi pha lau from Ho Chi Minh City (bread with braised pork meat and offal), Banh mi ep from Thua Thien-Hue (pressed bread), Banh mi que Haiphong (crispy and spicy breadstick), Banh mi cha ca in the central region (bread with grilled fish).

The prices vary from VND15,000 (US$0.65) to VND50,000 ($2.2)/loaf. 

In Vietnam, a banh mi is usually consumed for breakfast or as a snack.

On March 24, 2011, the entry banh mi was added to Oxford Dictionary. It’s described as “a type of Vietnamese baguette sandwich filled with cold meats, pâté and vegetables”.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the baguette was introduced in Vietnam in the mid-nineteenth century when Vietnam was under French colonial rule. The banh mi is believed to have been invented in Saigon much later in the 1950s, and it has since become one of Vietnam’s most iconic specialties.

On March 24, 2022, a Vietnamese banh mi loaf appeared on Google Doodle.

In September 2022, the term banh mi was added to the world’s leading dictionary Merriam-Webster. It appears to be “a usually spicy sandwich in Vietnamese cuisine consisting of a split baguette filled typically with meat (such as pork or chicken) and pickled vegetables (such as carrot and daikon) and garnished with cilantro and often cucumbers.”

 Vietnam’s 1st Banh mi Festival draws the crowd. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/Mekong Environment Forum (MEF)
 A picture depicts Vietnam’s map in bread. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF
 Different kinds of bread are showcased at the four-day festival. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF
 A variety of bread is available at the event. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF
 The festival gives chefs the chance to satisfy the pickiest diners. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF
 Various kinds to meet the demand of diners. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF
 An array of bread in different shapes and flavors. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF
 From a kind of traditional taste. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF
 …to those full of creativity. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF
 Each loaf of bread varies from VND15,000 (US$0.65) to VND50,000 ($2.2). Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF
 Diverse options are available for visitors. Photo: Tuyet Nguyen/MEF