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The beginner’s guide to bánh mì

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Whether it’s for breakfast or a quick snack while on the go, the Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich is a quick, filling and delicious option. Alongside Pho, the bánh mì sandwich is one of Vietnam’s most famous foods. 

Due to the myriad of fillings on offer, the challenge for visitors is not being sure what to expect when they order off the menu.

You can however, make your own versions at home with the help of ovens like the Electrolux Inspiration Steam Combination oven. Part of the process for making the unique baguette is the process of misting the loaves to create steam.

This essentially bakes the bread with steam for part of the baking process. With the Inspiration steam combination oven, you can set your own steam levels, including partial steam, which is perfect for baking bread that is crispy on the outside while retaining moisture.

Now, you just need to decide what kind of bánh mì sandwich you want to create.

Bánh mì thịt

Banh Mi Thit
By dane brian
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Banh Mi Thit refers to a sandwich made with the Vietnamese baguette and meat such as pork belly.

The most popular type of bánh mì is a meat version called “Thit”, which usually comes in the form of grilled or roast pork.  Liver pâté can also be spread on the bread and accompanied by vegetable fillings such as cucumber slices, cilantro pickles, onion and basil.

Bánh mì thịt nguội

Also known as Bánh mì đặc biệt, this is a “special combo” filled with various Vietnamese cold cuts, such as sliced pork or pork belly meat, chả lụa (a type of Vietnamese pork sausage), head cheese, liver pâté and vegetables.

Bánh mì chay

This vegetarian option is made with tofu or seitan, a mock meat made from wheat gluten.  This is rarely found at street stalls, being usually served at Buddhist temples during religious events.

Bánh mì xíu mại

Banh Mi Xiu Mai
By Nummymuffin
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Banh mi xiu mai is made with crushed pork meatballs. 

This is a bánh mì made with crushed pork meatballs instead of the usual meat fillings. The meatball itself contains ground pork, egg, garlic, green onion, jicama (a type of sweet root vegetable), cornstarch, flour, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, salt and black pepper.

Bánh mì sốt vang

This isn’t strictly a sandwich, but can be found at stalls selling bánh mì. Sốt vang literally translates to “wine sauce”. Ordering this gets you a baguette served with beef stew made with red wine.

Other fillings

Some bánh mì stalls may display signs with extra fillings which you can order in your sandwich:

Xúc xích – western-style sausage

Trứng – egg, usually fried and placed into the sandwich

Pâté – pork liver spread. When ordered with egg, the pâté may be mixed into the egg and fried together for a delicious filling.

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