It may have to spend all day long to talk about the Vietnamese, especially Danang-ians endless creative recipes to make awesome Banh Mi, from the name list that I mentioned in Part 1 of this subject, to the other names that I will tell you below. For each kinds of Banh Mi, even with simple ingredients, but it still can get anyone’s heart at the first time biting. That’s why for some travelers, they choose to make tours to Vietnam just because they want to get to know about Banh Mi and its secret for such wonderful taste.
4. Bánh mì gà (banh mi with cotton meat)
If I have to pick one version to represent banh mi in Da Nang, this must be it. Distinctive, simple, cheap, tasty, widely available locally and can’t be found anywhere else.
Unlike normal banh mi, bánh mì gà (literally “chicken bread”) is round in shape and filled with cotton meat originally made from chicken (hence the name), mayonnaise, carrot and green papaya pickle. Bánh mì gà is very cheap (about 8000VND) and simple, yet super tasty and addictive. Who can resist the sweet and salty taste of cotton meat, sourness of carrot and papaya pickle, spiciness of chilli sauce, and fatness of mayonnaise… all combined in a crispy hot bread roll? I know I can’t.
Banh mi with cotton meat is a unique trait of Danang
Banh mi ga is very popular in Danang. You can easily spot banh mi ga stands along Phan Chau Trinh St, at the area from Trung Vuong theater to Pasteur St. I often buy them at the intersection of Phan Chau Trinh and Pasteur, right next to the street name sign.
5. Bánh mì heo quay (banh mi with roasted pork)
Another favorite. I remember eating this a lot when I was small. Roasted pork has very different texture and taste as compared to normal pork. The sellers chop it with some “rau răm” and pepper salt, and ultimately finish assembling with a special sauce made from roasted pork. Nowadays they usually miss this final and very important step by using just normal soy sauce or pepper salt, which can seriously destroy the final product. It is not easy to find a decent banh mi thit quay these days, almost impossible to find one with the perfect topping sauce. Why do the best things always disappear?
Banh Mi with roasted pork looks so yummy, right!
6. Bánh mì chả (banh mi with pork bologna)
This banh mi is quite unique as it has no vegetable and the fillings are so simple to the point of being boring: Only Chả, dried chili flakes and a bit of sauce. To be frank, curious as I was about this banh mi as it is one of the oldest and most popular banh mi stalls in Danang (they have been in business for nearly 40 years!, and now have 2 shops in Danang), I was disappointed when I bought one. The thing just had a lot of chả and chili flakes if you want it spicy or only the former if you don’t have a thing for mouth-tingling food.
Banh Mi with pork bologna is always tender like a traditional sandwich with ham
However, to my surprise, it tasted amazing and the day after I came back to buy some more. As you can imagine, the selling point of this banh mi all comes down to its in-house made cha which tasted nothing like the ones I normally have. Mr. Ti has spent a lifetime perfecting his cha and banh mi, repeating the same process every day for 40 years. He really reminds me of the legendary sushi master Jiro Ono and the simple fact “practice makes perfect”.
7. Bánh mì bột lọc (banh mi with tapioca dumplings)
If this was a competition, banh mi bot loc would certainly win the “most regional banh mi” prize. Even the name screams out CENTRAL. You probably know that bột lọc is generally made using 2 methods: one steamed after wrapped up in banana leaves (bột lọc lá chuối), and one directly boiled in water (bột lọc trần). The latter is used for banh mi bot loc, along with some herbs and light sweet fish sauce. For foreigners bột lọc may be a little chewy, but for the locals including myself bánh mì bột lọc is the absolute favourite.
Banh Mi with tapioca dumplings are another unique trait of Danang cuisine
8. Bánh mì bơ (banh mi with… banh mi)
They say save the best for last, so here it is: Danang’s banh-mi-ception, aka banh mi inside banh mi. Beat that!
The filling is made from banh mi itself, probably soaked and mixed with some spices. As bánh mì bơ literally means banh mi butter, there’s a thin coat of butter on both the inside and outside surface. Don’t underestimate this 3000VND stick sandwich, it may be stronger than the strongest heroin. I dare you to find something edible with 15c, let alone something this magical.
Most of us are curious with the name of this Banh Mi a lot, right!
Apparently it would take a millennium to make a fortune selling this version of banh mi. Thus it is getting much harder and harder to find one, especially when most of them are hauled around town on mobile vendors. Catching a snitch is obviously no match. So you can imagine the thrill when I saw the grandpa below, right in the city center.
In the summer there’s a high likelihood of finding banh mi bo along the beach, especially for early swimmers.
But don’t just focus on Banh Mi of Danang and forget that this city is also a center of tourist destinations like My Khe beach, Ba Na hills,…
So, let’s come to Danang and enjoy its fancy things!