Friday, November 25, 2005

Food: First love ... @ Vietnam, HCMC

I vividly remembers how I meet my first love in HCMC. It was the day when I was suppose to be early. Early for a daytrip to Cu Chi Tunnel & Tay Ninh. Overslept, I find myself feverishly rushing to my meeting point at Sinh Cafe.

Fortunately, I got there 15mins prior to departure. However, I felt so empty, I need a quick fix, to fill up all my emptiness in me. And there I found her, quickly fixed in a jiffy (well, almost). When I first touch, she crackles a little, then it was warm, soft all over. Insides her, were warm, moist & runny. A little spicy with a seductive pungently scent that simply blows my mind away.

Please allow me to introduce my first love. her name, "BANG ME"

Alllrrright, enough of my nonsense hehehe. In all my silliness, I added extra "g" & "e"to the pronunciation. "Bang Me" or "Ban Mee", they sounds so similiarly anyways :) However, my apologises if I unintentionally offend in anyway.

So that's my first encounter with Vietnamese Banh mi . Vietnam solution to french baguette and America submarine sandwiches. These were light & crusty bread made with rice & wheat flour. (According to Corrine Tang in "Authentic Vietnamese Cooking : Food from a Family Table").

I love the thin crispy crust with soft & light textures inside. Warm runny omelette that's laced with chilli, pate & pungently fish sauce. At 10000dong(S$1), what a bargain!!!

Consequently, that leads me to search for more Banh mi .in the streets of HCMC. Luck was with me all along. I found two at the busy cross junction of Hai Ba Trung & Ly Tu Trong, just minutes walk from my stay.

Sitting on one corner, we have a very quiet women. She runs this makeshift stall all by herself in the morning. An empty basket, perhaps a testimontal of her "popularity" along this side of the street. With no menu available & zero Vietnamese language capabilities, I will have to order what the previous person ordered. Did I said luck seems to be on my side? Yes, it was good!

For 5000dong (S$0.50), she starts preparing your breakfast swiftly, spreading butter & pate, filling up spaces whatever available spaces in the bread and fainlly dizziling with some pungently aromatic fish sauce blends.

A peek inside prior to munching reveals ??chicken?? luncheon, fatty cured pork slices, veggies stuffed to "max capacity". I've already said all how I liked the bread, the savoury fillings add notches up to the taste. It was a good breakfast at a bargain!

On the other corner, we have a mother & daughter team. they served Banh mi with omelette. Having tasted my "first love", which was really a plain omelette Banh mi, I actually look forward savouring them for another time.

Again, with no Vietnamese language capabilities & menu unavailable, I have to finger point ao the eggs to indicate what I wanted. I was pleasantly surprised the sweet & shy daughter asked me to choose my own bread. Similarly, Banh mi costs 5000dong as well. By the way, these plain bread sells at mere 1000dong ($0.10) / piece!

Having selected your favourite bread, she starts her swift action, multitasking between preparing bread at the tabletop and making 2 eggs omelette under the table.

Peeking at the fillings reveals a gorgeous piece of freshly maded omelette that completely covers the veggies filling underneath. Pieces of chilli adds some mild heat, and Pate spread (above) with, again, pungently aromatic fish sauce ups the savoury taste & aroma.

Having tried 3, I have got to say that I liked them all. While the breads are the similiar, mix-n-match of different igredients can completely creates an entirely new Banh mi . So if you happens to find one Banh mi stall around the corner when in HCMC, do give it a shot. I'm pretty sure you be will delighted.

Bon Appetit!!!
p.s: Yeah! Managed to fix my home PC. Fortunately it's just a minor window registy corruption. Phew!!!


Anonymous keiko said...

Hi Slurp - I really love your street food shots, they are great! I've been dreaming about banh mi for a while, do you always put omlette inside?

3:58 AM  
Blogger slurp! said...

thanks for your compliment, much appreciated! No, it's not always omelette, it's just that I love omelette :D

The simple streets stall like this are usually limited but you can mix-n-match whatever available. just let your fingers do the talk :)

Or look for "tourist friendly" with full english menu available. These usually cost a little more (still a bargain anyway) but with more variety of choices.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi slurp, your post really made me feel like going to vietnam. Love bahn mi.


7:49 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

I've only tasted banh mi in Singapore at Cafe Banh Mi (and it was quite good) - so, after looking at your post, would love to get hold of some in HCMC - looks very good, not to mention it's at a fraction of the cost in Singapore!

11:37 PM  
Blogger slurp! said...

glad to hear that ... lots of french names everywhere for you to pickup your french as well :)

saw cafe banh mi from aromacookery blog, looks good too. they upped the price probably becoz they use beef patties? but price is still on the high side considering it's around the price range of Carl's Jr burgers.

12:48 AM  

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