I have been writing this post for a while now and what better time to publish it after The Guardian declared banh mi the world’s best street food. So here we go.
I have mentioned somewhere
that Danang-ians are very creative when it comes to food. People invent numerous versions of some cannot-be-cheaper stuff
to beautify this life. If you’re a lifetime lover of banh mi
, and you live in Danang or about to visit Danang, well good news: you can get yourself some of the cheapest, most delicious and most creative versions of banh mi
in the world.
1. Bánh mì thịt chả (normal banh mi with pork and cha)
Let’s start with the very basic banh mi
first. As I have introduced in this post
, normal banh mi is filled with pork or char siu, chả, pâté, spring onion, cucumber, cilantro, chilli, Vietnamese mint and possibly some other herbs. This can be found anywhere in Vietnam.
Bánh mì thịt chả (normal banh mi with pork and cha)
If you’re not familiar with the city area, go to 79 Phan Chu Trinh. This shop belongs to a popular banh mi chain in Danang, producing their own banh mi inside the shop and is open from 5am till late in the evening.
If you’re more confident getting around Danang and determined to find the tastiest banh mi in town, I’d recommend my personal favourite: the no-name stand at the red star location marked on the map below. It should be a few meters from 491 Hai Phong, at the beginning of an alley. Among heaps of banh mi shops I’ve tried in Danang, the amazing banh mi of this stand clearly stood out for me, and will be mentioned again somewhere in this banh mi series.
2. Bánh mì thịt nguội (banh mi with jambon)
Another typical type of banh mi is bánh mì thịt nguội. The main ingredients are jambon, cha and pate. There are no other herbs but long strips of chilli, cucumber and spring onion.
One of the most, if not the most, popular shop selling banh mi thit nguoi in Danang is Ba Lan (62 Trung Nu Vuong). It’s so good and famous that there’re already numerous ‘fake’ banh mi Ba Lans everywhere to derive the brand name. I’m pretty sure that the real shop is at 62 Trung Nu Vuong. Very generous amount of fillings as can be seen from the photo above.
3. Bánh mì thịt nướng (banh mi with grilled pork)
Still in the mainstream is bánh mì thịt nướng. Fillings generally include grilled pork, Vietnamese mint, papaya pickle, a bit of butter, pate and chilli sauce.
For this one you should go to the small stand named “Huong” at the intersection of Le Loi and Le Thanh Ton. This stand is quite popular among the younger generations because some of the biggest high schools of Danang are located around that area.
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 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.
How to make banh mi ga
5. Bánh mì que (banh mi with pate)
Being one of the cheapest types of banh mi (6000VND), banh mi que (literally banh mi stick) looks like a … stick, filled with only pate, mayonnaise, fried shallots and chilli sauce. But my god is it good. How can something that cheap and simple be so delicious… still remains an unsolved mystery of mankind. For some reason banh mi que and banh mi ga are always sold at the same stand.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
There’ll be a summary at the end of Part 2