Vietnamese Banh Mi Included in List of 24 Best Sandwiches Worldwide

The beloved Vietnamese snack, Bánh mì (pronounced 'bun mee'), is a type of sandwich that is made with a baguette as its main ingredient.

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Roasted Pork Bánh Mì.
Roasted Pork Bánh Mì.

The renowned website CNN Travel has declared Vietnamese Banh Mi baguettes among its top 24 sandwiches in the world for 2023, as reported by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

Banh mi, pronounced ‘bun mee’, is a popular dish among Vietnamese people, as well as being well-loved by many foreign visitors. This tasty treat is easy to find at street vendors and food carts throughout the country, making it a convenient option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Visiting Vietnam is often accompanied by a compulsion to try some of the country’s delectable dishes, many of which feature regularly on lists of must-try dishes for foreign tourists.

CNN reported that the classic version of banh mi is pork-based, containing cha lua (Vietnamese-style pork roll), shredded pickled carrots, pickled daikon, cilantro leaves, mayonnaise, and other ingredients. Depending on the region, travelers can experience different types of banh mi with a variety of fillings. CNN described the taste of the sandwich as “crunchy, fresh, savory, and utterly delicious.” CNN said the classic version is pork-based, starring cha lua (Vietnamese-style pork roll), shredded pickled carrots, pickled daikon, cilantro leaves, mayonnaise and other ingredients. Depending on the region, travelers can taste different kinds of banh mi with various fillings. “The taste is crunchy, fresh, savory, and utterly delicious,” CNN said.

The criteria for making CNN’s list of the world’s most iconic sandwiches are that they must be famous, represent a particular country, have a delicious taste, and be beloved by the locals.

Besides banh mi, three other Asian representatives were Shawarma and Falafel pita sandwiches (from the Middle East) and Katsu sando (a Japanese fried pork cutlet sandwich with shredded cabbage).

The golden crispy bread is baked over charcoal before being filled, which makes anyone crave it just by looking at it. Baguette is no longer just a luxury food, it has become a staple dish for everyone, as it is delicious, affordable, and convenient.
The golden crispy bread is being filled with different fillings, which makes anyone crave it just by looking at it. Banh mi is no longer just a luxury food, it has become a staple dish for everyone, as it is delicious, affordable, and convenient.

TasteAtlas, a renowned website devoted to unearthing fresh ingredients, traditional dishes, and authentic restaurants around the globe, has recently declared Vietnamese Banh mi as the seventh-best street food in the world.

TasteAtlas is widely recognized as one of the most renowned traditional culinary experience travel guide sites in the world, boasting an impressive catalog of over 10,000 different types of food and drink from countries all across the globe. These recipes are highly praised by food critics and journalists alike.

Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post has labeled Vietnamese banh mi as “a cheap snack and global hit”, while British travel publication Culture Trip has acclaimed it as one of the world’s top street snacks.

The first baguette in Vietnam dates back a whopping 130 years, to the period of French colonization between the 1880s and 1954. The French would often slice it into small pieces to accompany soup, curry, or butter.

In 1970, wood-fired ovens were adapted and transformed into much larger brick kilns in order to bake on a larger scale, thus creating a unique Vietnamese identity for the bread.

From then on, Vietnamese chefs began to experiment with their own takes on the classic dish. Instead of simply topping the bread with butter or jam, they crafted something new – a savory sandwich made with layers of bacon, making it both delicious and more convenient.

Banh mi, a type of Vietnamese sandwich, has become popular all across the country. While the basic components remain the same, the flavor of this dish varies from region to region. In Hanoi, the north of Vietnam, the ingredients are generally simpler than those used in Ho Chi Minh City in the south, and usually consist of high-quality cold cuts. However, in the central coastal city of Hoi An, the meat used in banh mi is served warm.

Today, it is simple to locate “banh mi” in street stalls, markets, and eateries around the globe, from New York City to Seoul and Australia.

Hannah Nguyen