A Saigon banh mi says: get stuffed again
A crunchy baguette stuffed with veggies that are themselves stuffed with fish cake is satiating gourmet palettes in Saigon without burning holes in pockets.
This tasty banh mi is mostly found in District 5 and District 6, areas that have many typical cultural features, including fusion food, owing to the large presence of the ethnic Chinese community.
The streets of Ha Ton Quyen, Ba Hom and Hau Giang host hundreds of stalls selling these stuffed vegetable sandwiches for an affordable VND15,000 to VND30,000 ($1.3) each.
Bitter melons, okra and cow-horn chillies are some of the vegetables that are split and stuffed with fish cake.
The stuffed vegetables are then deep-fried, creating a savory, fresh combination – the slight heat of cow-horn chillies, the crunchy texture of fish cake, and the slight bitterness and sweet aftertaste of bitter melons give this dish a very distinctive taste.
The process reportedly takes inspiration from Singapore cuisine.
The sandwich comes with a variety of sauces, like Chinese black-bean sauce, chilli sauce and sate.
Customers can also buy the stuffed vegetables separately for around VND80,000 ($3.4) a kilogram.
Some suggested eateries are Banh My Cha Phuong at 119/4A Ba Hom Street, District 6; Co Muoi Van at 119/12 Ba Hom Street, District 6; and Ty Muoi at 522 Phan Van Tri Street, District 5.
These stalls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.