Referring to the thousand years of civilized capital – Hanoi, we should not only mention the longevity and the beautiful scenery, but we also need to mention the sophistication and long-lasting culinary features here.
And “Banh mi Hanoi” is no doubt an indispensable factor that make Hanoi’s cuisine so special. What actually is inside a "banh mi" that makes it so popular? Let’s figure out with me today!
Banh mi’s first appearance in vietnam
In 1859, a bread made from wheat flour of the West followed the French army to invade Gia Dinh citadel. Petit pain, or bread, was first brought to Vietnam by the French to serve soldiers during the French colonial period of Indochina from 1858 to 1954.
The bread that day still carried "Western" characteristics, it was dense and was not crunchy as it is now. It was not until the government decided to provide standard diets including bread and milk to elementary schools, Vietnamese bread made the first change compared to the original formula.
Instead of using wood grills, charcoal, Vietnamese people used closed brick kilns allowing steam to be retained when baking. At extremely high temperatures and a great deal of steam, the baguette bread will become more hollow, fluffy while the crust is crispy. This is also the feature that creates the unique identity of Vietnamese bread compared to Western bread.
But at that time, Vietnamese bread was still enjoyed in the Western way: which was eating it with butter or dipping it with soup
How is today's Hanoi bread?
“Banh mi” all over Vietnam are not enjoyed with butter or dipped in a soup like the old days. Most “banh mi” are now stuffed with Vietnamese familiar ingredients and food such as pickled vegetables, pate, cold meat, Vietnamese pork sausages and so on.
“Banh mi” in Hanoi is not a type of bread with a hard crust as Saigon’s one. Nor is the small, long bread like “banh mi” sold in Da Nang, and of course it is not even the tiny bread sticks Hai Phong in Hai Phong province.
The specialty of “Banh mi Hanoi” is characterized by a thin, moderate crust, but the inside is soft, flexible, moist and especially fragrant.
The stuffings inside a bread in Hanoi are also flexibe depending on customers’ preferences. I remember I didn’t have much choice choosing the stuffings going with the crust back in my hometown, it was just pate, eggs and some herbs. Then when I moved to study in Hanoi, I was blown away by the various choice here.
Where to eat?
1. “Banh mi Pho Co” (“Banh mi” of the Old Quarter)
It is located at 38, Dinh Liet street, opposite to the famous “Van than noodle” shop in Dinh Liet street. There are many kinds of food here to choose from, but the main dish here is a “banh mi” with familiar ingredients such as ham, pate, char siu.
The bread here is quite famous for its homemade ingredients, especially the price is quite cheap compared to other shops in the Old Quarter. If you want a richer flavor, you can ask for more heirloom sauce for this dish.
Address: at 38 Dinh Liet street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
The average price ranges from 20,000 to 30,000VND.
2. “Banh mi Ba Dan” (Mrs. Dan's Banh Mi)
Having appeared in Hanoi since 1979, “Banh mi Ba Dan” is one of the oldest “banh mi” shops in Hanoi capital.
The bread here is somewhat bigger and more crispy. It is stuffed full of meat, pate, rolls, eggs, cucumbers, coriander ... and sprinkle sauce. Pate in this shop has a very distinct aroma, soft and it is very easy to eat.
The shop is hidden under a tree, if you don’t play close attention to it, you can pass through without noticing.
Though it has appeared for a long time, but this shop looks very modern with clean iron furniture, where. The space is not too large, but it is just enough for guests to sit comfortably.
In addition to traditional “banh mi”, if you want to change the taste, you can try saute “banh mi” or bread with wine sauce here, which are also very good.
Address: 34 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
The average price ranges from 15.000 to 25.000 VND
3. “Banh mi Pho Hue”
Although Hue is a province in the Central Vietnam, this shop has nothing to do with the location in Hue. “Pho Hue” is actually the name of a street in Hanoi.
This bakery was once praised by Geoffrey Deetz, a chef and a culinary expert. In the BBC's article "The best bread in the world" of the BBC describes this loaf: bread is not too complicated, but everything inside it has its own role: shrimp helps the sauce to be absorbed, Pate moisturizes cakes and crumbs so as not to soften in moist.
Reporter DAvid Farley praised: “This loaf of bread is really different! The crunchiness of the crust entices the taste of meat and spice gently!”.
Address: at 118A, Pho Hue street, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi.
The average price ranges from 25.000 – 35.000 VND
4. “Banh mi Nguyen Sinh”
This shop is most famous for its liver pate inside the bread, which you might find it difficult to eat at first, but then you can easily get addicted to this kind of flavor.
In addition, if you have time, you can choose many other types such as bacon, ham, sausage ... served with a plate outside.
Because the bakery is a long-standing shop and has its own flavored recipes, the price of this shop is a bit more expensive than other places.
Address: at 19 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
The average price ranges from 30.000 to 50.000 VND
If you have a chance to come to Hanoi, please remember to set aside some time to try this special dish. Not only you have the chance to try a new dish, you can feel like you’re now partly an Hanoian because almost every person living in Hanoi has been enjoying this dish as their everyday routine
If you are looing for a place to satisfy your curiosity about Northern Vietnamese cuisine, then Lang Lieu is exactly where you should head to!
Named after the progenitor of Vietnamese cuisine, we dedicate ourselves to providing a special journey back time so that every guest can fully sense Vietnamese culture-rich history through the food we serve. Our menu presents signature traditional dishes in Northern Vietnam, from the Old Quarter of Hanoi to the mountainous North-West and North-East. Also, located right in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, Lang Lieu has such a tranquil vibe that you will immediately find peace the moment you step past the door.
Book a table and start your culinary journey with us!