MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Vietnamese Food : Broken Rice, Dessert and Banh Mi

Today was a day for exploring the culinary delights of Saigon and we tried a number of different items. First up is Banh Mi, which is a Vietnamese baguette containing thinly sliced pickled carrots, cucumbers and some other vegetables, and a spread consisting of a mixture of egg yolk, cooking oil/butter, and sometimes spices. On top of those you can have a choice of fillings such as Vietnamese ham or chicken but I usually go for the grilled pork.

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I'd heard of the revered Vietnamese baguette in London the last few years, but I didn't really fancy what sounded like a repackaged sub with a premium price for the exotic label. Going for the real deal in Vietnam sounded like a better idea to me. It's bound to have an authentic taste and its relatively low cost also makes it popular.

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Getting a slightly warm and freshly made banh mi was one of my gastronomic highlights in Vietnam, since the bread itself is soft and easy to eat, particularly with some interesting, savoury flavours emanating from spices and pickles layered together with the grilled pork.

There are loads of banh mi shops and stalls dotted around Saigon, and it seems the quality (and hygiene) varies between them. It's probably a good idea to get trusted advice on where best to get some - we luckily have Linh's father to help out there.

More on banh mi on Wikipedia.

For dinner, we went to one of Saigon's best places for broken rice (Com tam An Duong Vuong in District 5). Like alot of restaurants here, the seating area opens out to the street easily, and the dishes to choose from can be seen out on display in front.

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To order, we simply chose some meat and/or vegetables and the waiters took it to our table served on a plate of broken rice. This particular place also had a huge, commercial barbecue with which to cook the various meat, and I choose to have some (delicious) bbq chicken with my rice and vegetables.

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Following our meal, we went on to a Vietnamese dessert place to pick up some takeaway.

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I'm not overly enthusiastic on dessert in general, and even less so with the alien-looking specimens on display! I see some lotus and perhaps some kind of plum, but I can't help thinking of specimen pickling jars when I see these. Is that a collection of tonsils?!

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However, Linh loves Vietnamese desserts and is always picking up some kind or other. Packaging is kept to its most basic here, whereupon even hot liquid desserts are poured into clear plastic bags and sealed with an elastic band, ready for serving at home.

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This entry posted in : Food. Vietnam.

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10/07/09  at  03:21 PM
Hey Londoner

Now when you are back in town, you will be able to find banhmi at Broadway Market every Saturday 9-5. Please check out our website www.banhmi11.com for more information, looking forward to see you when you are back in town
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