Saturday, March 08, 2008

Indochine treat.

Coming back to Vietnam, there was one food that Bordeaux and I were anticipating beyond all others. Sure, we were looking forward to pho, and were eager to have shrimp on sugarcane again, but one treat was truly tempting us. Thankfully, we didn’t have to walk too far in Hanoi on our first morning before we found a young girl selling it. We recognized her by the stack of golden baguettes in her class case; we confirmed what she was selling with the sight of a long block of fatty meat on a shelf below. We ordered two, and she quickly set to work. After a minute, she handed us two filled baguettes, two binh my pate, wrapped in old newspaper.

We had become rather addicted to these distinctive Indonchine sandwiches while traveling through Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and so it was with some restraint that we waited until we got to a bench on the Hoan Kiem lake before we unwrapped them. They were perfect, just as good as we had remembered. Crusty, fresh baguettes, overfilled with cilantro, cold meats, and a salty spread of pate. This one was also enhanced with the addition of charred garlic, adding a flavor that was perfect for the chilly Hanoi morning. It was a great way to be welcomed back to Vietnam.

8 comments:

katek said...

I haven't eaten breakfast yet and now I want a banh mi. There was a tiny vietnamese sandwich shop near my apartment in Brooklyn (as in, 1 block, and on my way to/from the subway) and I ate the sandwiches or their fabulous salad versions for dinner very, very frequently. It's not something I've found in Boston. Yummmm....

Inarticulate Fumblings said...

I've been looking for something similar in Vancouver. Love, love, LOVE these sandwiches but can only find warped versions at uppity restaurants in a neighbourhood close by.

Wow... I'm green with envy right now.

John said...

That looks awesome. I love your posts and the pictures you include. The only thing missing from this one is smell and taste.

Freshly Found said...

Looks delish!!! Did you have any good coffee?

Erik said...

Do you think when I eat the same sandwich in Chinatown at Buu Dien across from the hair salon that I am terribly inauthentic? A Laotian hustler introduced me to it...

I wonder if the date of my comment will say March 17, even though it is March 18 in Vietnam.

Radman said...

Two things. First, the washiington post just rated the best banh mi places in DC. Second, I am quite impressed by the cleaniness of the venodrs cart.

Xander said...

Freshly found- I had many cups of incredible Vietnamese coffee. Expect an entry to be posted (hopefully) soon.

Eric- I never question food in terms of authenticity or inauthenticity. Cuisine is meant to travel, change, adapt to new climates. Binh my pate is already a food created out of travel- how could a leap across the ocean render it inauthentic? And I'm glad to know that it's available in LA- when I return to the city, I'll have to get the address from you.

-X

Freshly Found said...

Vietnamese Coffee! Who would have thought! Looking forward to hearing about it!