Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saigon's baguette (bánh mỳ Sài gòn)

Vietnamese love bread, especially baguette! It probably comes from our history when French culture, cuisine have influence on our lifestyle! I'm not an exception! I used love baking bread!

If beef noodle, broken rice are our favorite breakfast, bread or as we say "bánh mỳ" is on the top, because it' mobile, easy to take away! We love our bánh mỳ and we can have it around the clock!

Before we have bread only with Vietnamese pork ham (chả lụa), pâté, chicken floss, sunny side up egg...but now more choices!

From canned fish with tomato sauce, traditional pork skin (bánh mỳ bì) with fish sauce, meat ball (bánh mỳ xíu mại), fish cake (bánh mỳ chả cá), roasted pork (bánh mỳ thịt quay),  stew intestine (bánh mỳ phá lấu), grilled pork (bánh mỳ thịt nướng) with sweet black soy sauce, chili sauce. The other day I saw a stall selling bread with stew beef liver (khô bò đen) which usually goes with famous papaya salad! Worth to try!
By the way, just got a news that our bánh mỳ has been considered as one of the world's best street food by Lonely Planet after long survey across the globe! Sounds nice!

Bread with favorite sunny side up egg (bánh mỳ ốp la)
But whatever we have now, I and many others are still loyal to the tradition, that's why many bread stalls  in Sàigòn are famous for their bread with fantastic pâté, ham, pork or chicken...If you take a walk around some quarters in Saigon, you may find several small bread stalls, street vendors! 

                                                                Bread with fish cake! 

Here you go! Right in the heart of Sài gòn, opposite Saigon Center building. On Pasteur street!
Simple street stall of bread with stew intestine (bánh mỳ phá lấu)!
I remember before only one stall but yesterday I found two! Competition!

Stew intestine (phá lấu) is good if the pork intestine is fresh and well marinated with five-spice powder! Then it should be well cooked, not too soft but chewy enough!
Most important is the combination of thick sweet soy sauce and chili sauce! Some shreds of pickled carrot & white radish, fresh cucumber! Very good!

 Bánh mỳ Như Lan in Hàm Nghi street (near to the tallest tower in HCMC - Bitexco Tower) is huge shop, but bread is no longer good as old times (when the owner used to sell from small stall at exactly the same place as now!)

Bánh mỳ Huỳnh Hoa in Lê Thị Riêng street (near to New World hotel, across round-about with black sculpture of a boy riding horse), open only from 4PM (!) to late midnight, or bread with chicken at Ngoc Sáng in Lý Tự Trọng, these places are good!

Bánh mỳ Hà Nội in Nguyễn Thiện Thuật street (10' walk from Equatorial hotel) is also popular! Price for one bread is over 23,000 dong (more than 1 USD) at these places.

My favorite - bánh mỳ Huỳnh Hoa (26 Lê Thị Riêng - tel 39250885)
Sliced Vietnamese ham and jambon, chicken floss 
As said, you can buy from any bread stall around the town, look at display, if it's full of many things (ham, pork, chicken floss (chà bông gà), canned fish with tomato sauce, pâté...) just select what you want, if not they will put everything: ham, pork to pâté into bread (we call bánh mỳ đủ thứ - bread with everything!), pickled vegetables (carrot and white radish), green onion, cucumber, coriander and red chili!

                      Bread with ham, pâté, pickled carrot & white radish, cucumber and chili! 

We continue to love bánh mỳ in our style, and we have now another choice: Subway! It was first launched here from last year in backpack area (Phạm Ngũ Lão), one footlong costs around 8 USD, so I don't know how hard is the battlefield between ours and American style bread in the future! 
If we compare 1USD vs 8 USD, especially during this global economic crisis! But who know! Young people love to try something new, love to be trendy in their style! Eating Subway would be a new trend to them! 
Anyway it would take long time for Subway to gain a better market share in this market, where our Saigon's bread style has long roots in the history! 

 Here you go, the map and direction to Huynh Hoa bread place in Le Thi Rieng!

View Larger Map


  1. I stumble onto your blog by accident, but very good pictures and clear description. I am a little bit surprise you didnt bring up the sandwich shop on Bui Thi Xuan st, it been around since forever and really popular (across the street from the school). There's also a dessert shop on that same street, very good also. If you need recommendations on other street eateries to check out let me know.

    1. Hi there, thanks for your comments & suggestions!
      You mean a shop opposite the high school Bui Thi Xuan? If so, I tried there but to be honest I don't like it! I may prefer Huynh Hoa shop! But you are right, this shop is popular!
      About the dessert shop now they have a brand name "Xoi Che Bui Thi Xuan". I like dessert there but not sticky rice as I'm very good at preparing "xoi man" (I'm serious!).
      Yes, it would be great if you could share those places you know, I will definitely check out! Thanks a lot!

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