Move over dumplings, there’s a new food obsession in town.
That’s right folks; Melburnians have gone ga-ga over ‘banh mi’ – the Vietnamese baguette that’s teeming with flavour and laden with herbs, meat (or tofu if you prefer), and enough chili to warm up a cool autumn lunch break.
We set out in search of some of the city’s tastiest banh mi and discover what’s behind everyone’s new favourite sandwich.
What is Banh mi?
We went straight to the experts to get their tips on creating the perfect banh mi (pronounced bun mee). Jardin Tan’s Sous Chef, Sushil Aryal, says the baguette, introduced to Vietnam by French colonials, is a key component to getting the sandwich just right:
“For a great Banh mi you need bread that is light and fluffy on the inside but crunchy on the outside. Fill it with a smooth chicken liver pate, meat of choice and lots of pickled vegetables, fresh herbs and spring onions. Using quality ingredients makes a world of difference.”
In a traditional banh mi, you’ll most likely find char-grilled pork, though these days there’s a myriad of variations on this popular bun. From lemongrass chicken to meatballs or crispy tofu, there’s a banh mi somewhere that’s packed full of your favourite protein.
We have only one other word of advice when seeking out this deliciously-different baguette: follow the crowd. If there’s a queue outside, you can bet the banh mi inside is worth waiting for.
Where to get rolled
Head straight to Equitable Place off Little Collins Street if you need a quick banh mi fix. There are plenty of delicious options in the vicinity.
Vietnoms was our first stop. At this cute lunch bar, we opted for the crispy silken tofu banh mi and char-grilled chicken banh mi, and of course, cafe sua da: Vietnamese iced coffee made with sweetened condensed milk, poured over ice.
You can’t go wrong taking your banh mi cravings, and believe us; you’ll have them, to Ba’get – Russell Street. The queues are long for a good reason, but the service is quick so you won’t have a rumbling tummy for long. We love their classic meat banh mi with specialty hams, pate, egg butter, pickled carrot and the all-important lashings of herbs and chilli.
For more yummy buns, check out:
- Roll’D Vietnamese Kitchen on William Street
- FOB Rolls on Bourke Street
- N Lee Bakery and Café (banh mi legends) on Little Collins Street
Where do you get the best banh mi in town?