Known as one of the best foodie destinations in Asia, Hanoi is home of both traditional Vietnamese food and fusion cuisines – including the French influences. Among the dishes originated from the colonial French, Banh mi is the undisputed king.
The king of sandwiches appears on almost every streets of Hanoi, choosing the best Banh mi in Hanoi to try can be overwhelming, and scrolling through all those blog posts about this street food on the net would take eons.
Here, long story cut short.
Banh Mi 25 is the place, it’s an outlet right on the sidewalk of a narrow street in the old quarter of Hanoi (so don’t expect a fine dining), serving only Banh mi, with different flavors such as pork, chicken or beef.
Opening from 7am to 9pm, and a fairly wait during the high tourist season is a must since this place is popular for both locals and travelers. Its Banh mi is nicely toasted, mostly arrives within 7 mins of order, and still super crispy.
For those who haven’t heard of Vietnamese Banh mi yet, it’s a French baguette with a thin crunchy crust that the Vietnamese stuffs in with cornucopia of meats, homemade pork-liver pâté, cured ham, pickled daikon radish or carrot, a generous sprinkling of cilantro leaves, slices of cucumber and chili pepper, a few dashes of mixed fish sauce, and occasionally, a light spread of mayonnaise.
The smart uses of these ingredients make a bite into the well-stacked Vietnamese sandwich really a moment of rapture, making eaters happy with all of their five senses; sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
The history of Banh mi in Vietnam dates back to the late 1800s, when the colonial French surprised the Vietnamese with the Roman script, the coffee, and their baguette – the long thin loaf of bread that was popular in France. In the early days, Vietnamese called it Banh Tay (literally means Western-style cake), which is now called Banh mi – meaning wheat cake.
Though Banh mi outlets are popular on the streets of Hanoi in the recent years, it used to be seen as a food staple of working poor – who takes it as a delicious sustenance for breakfast and midday meal. Therefore, Banh mi was a street food that people barely think of long before street eats Hanoi became an obsession with foodies.
Ha Minh Phuong, the owner of Banh mi 25, is a former travel agent who quit his desk-bound job in favor of taking over his family’s business, which has been around for decades. Perched in front of a traditional tube house of the disordered old quarter, his Banh mi stand is truly a typical sandwich outlet in the bustling Hanoi city.
“I don’t have to worry about rent while I can put my family’s experience to good use”, Phuong replied when he was asked why he decided to run a sandwich shop.
Phuong’s father honed his skills of making bread and meat from the French, and his zealously guarded recipe is now passed down to his son, who reworked the traditional ingredients and made his family’s Banh mi the best to try in Hanoi.
- 25 Hang Ca Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- 7h00 to 21h00 (19h00 on Sundays)
- 097 766 88 95
Contact us for a private Hanoi food tour with a local foodie, we are looking forward to showing you around our city while sampling some of the best street foods available.