When people first come into contact with Vietnamese food, the first dish they normally have is Pho, the next thing that most people will fall in love with is Bánh mì, which is essentially a sandwich made with French baguette (introduced during the Colonial period in Vietnam), and one of the best places in Ho Chi Minh to have one is at Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa.
The shop itself is quite nondescript but you will know the store when you see the queue outside.
Peering into the store, it almost looks like a very well oiled machine, there are stacks of bread ready, a team cutting up the meat, a team making the sandwich and bagging it, all you need to do is join the line, tell them how many you want, and wait for the food to arrive!
In almost no time, we had our Bánh Mì in hand and we decided to walk to the opposite side of the street so that we make a little bit more room for others around the area. After one bite, I was convinced that this was one of the better Bánh Mì I’ve had – the baguette had the perfect texture! The meat and pate was delicious – savory and flavour was just right! I could’ve had 2 more myself just because of how delicious it was!
Craving for more food but not wanting to stuff ourselves with just Bánh Mì after Bánh Mì, we decided to head back towards the hotel by foot – it was a long way, but it was a good way to burn off the fat, we were looking for a bit of street food so was very pleased to see little street vendors dotted around the Notre Dame Cathedral close to the hotel.
We walked around a little until we spotted a lady selling Bánh xèo, which is like a savory pancake where they fill it with fatty pork and then to top it off, crack a raw quail egg on it – the lady was also super friendly!
The cooking itself is done on top of a tiny little charcoal stove – reason is that street food is actually illegal and they need to keep things portable to escape when authorities come.
It might have been the surrounding or the fact that being with Ms. Buddha makes everything a little more delicious, but the pancakes were once again excellent! The shell had a light crunch to it whilst the flavour of the fatty pork inside absorbed into the softer part of the shell – the quail egg topped it off and combined all the ingredients inside together!
Given that it was quite late already, we decided to stop consuming more calories but instead roamed around and people watched with the Cathedral being a nice backdrop.