Since I moved into food yesterday (post-cooked, as opposed to the pre-cooked variety of the fishing village!) I’ll stick with that theme for a couple of days.

I’m a big fan of Anthony Bourdain’s show “No Reservations”. Truth be told, I’m a fan of all he does. I’ve enjoyed the most amazing burger of my life in the (formerly his) restaurant Les Halles in New York. Besides the perfect ground beef and bun and all the other normalcies of a stellar burger, it was topped with seared foie gras and served with a port wine reduction au jus, along with a side of the best frites outside of Belgium. I love his writing and have read all his books, and he’s probably number one on my list of people I’d Most Like To Have Dinner With. Hell, I’d even love to cook for him. Anyway, in the past I’ve made a point of checking out episodes of the show filmed in a place I’m preparing to visit, and with Vietnam, this was no exception. And in one of the episodes, he sampled the street sandwich known as bánh mì, which I immediately knew I simply had to find. After all, done exceptionally, it features something he and I both adore—a fried egg. If you don’t believe me, just watch this clip.

We had a few of these along the way. In fact these shots are from a sandwich stand in Mui Ne, and we went back there for lunch a second time, waiting nearly two hours for her to open. Fortunately, a café with an abundance of cold beer was stationed nearby.

Bánh mì in Vietnam

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Above our lovely sandwich lady is cutting open a fresh baguette. The bread in Vietnam is very French, but very not. The crust is incredibly crispy, and the insides extremely airy. They are delicious, but also suck all the moisture out of your mouth. It’s a curious way to do bread, and to be sure it was any good, we had to eat a lot of it while there.

Bánh mì in Vietnam

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The stall, as you can see, isn’t much. It’s a tiny little glass box on wheels with no refrigeration (that’s in a cooler behind her), and a hodge-podge of ingredients. Most people I’m sure tell her exactly what they want on their sandwich. We just sat there grinning and pointing and nodding. “Yeah yeah, that too!!”. There are meats and pattés, sweet pickled cucumber and I think carrots, one of those simple foil-wrapped triangle-shaped cheeses is spread on like butter to start the construction process, and a sauce that I guess is a fish sauce of sorts, but who really knows. And these vary from region to region. I think this documents our favorite, in Mui Ne. 

Bánh mì in Vietnam

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The fried egg is, I guess, not a regular option. We had to ask for it, and we only knew it was there because another customer (obviously a friend of hers) came up and made her own egg in that little pan. We saw that and it was game-over. Oh yeah baby, we definitely need one of those, too.

By the time the sandwich was done, we were so excited to get into it that the proper camera got put away. Therefore, the only evidence of its final glory was captured as Instagram photos…

Seriously?!?!

Chow, bella!

This sandwich is probably the number one reason I want to return to Vietnam. Really.

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