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How Vietnam’s Banh Mi Sandwich Changes from the North to South — Regions

How Vietnam’s Banh Mi Sandwich Changes from the North to South — Regions


– [Dennis] The banh mi
is an essential part of Vietnamese culture, and
possibly one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes worldwide. In the late 1880s,
France colonized Vietnam and brought the baguette. Vietnamese bakers started
adding dough enhancers in order to produce more
bread with less flour, which gave us that light and airy texture that we appreciate in
the Vietnamese baguette. I really actually did not enjoy eating my own cultural food
when I was growing up. And the gateway dish for
me, when I was growing up, was the banh mi. So we’re going to visit
three different chefs. One representing from the north, one from the central region,
and one from the south, to see what differentiates the banh mi in the different regions. And then I’m gonna take what I learned and try to make a sandwich that represents the entire country. First up is Chef Daniel
Le at Hanoi Soup Shop. – The banh mis here in
the U.S. are very dense. We usually hollow out the bread, and then you would start
with a smear of pâté. The next would be Vietnamese ham, cha lua. Pretty much lean meat. You would get a couple of slices, and then you would get gio thu, which is like a head cheese, and then there would be a piece of egg. This banh mi is already kind of stuffed. There’s three different proteins in here. Traditionally, back in the days, you’d usually either get
either pâté and a slice of meat and that would be completely it. Everybody gets a little splash of Maggi. – And Maggi seasoning is a seasoning that was made from the Swiss, and was introduced by the French, most likely in the late 1880s, and it adds a lot of umami. – And lots of fresh black pepper. – So right of the bat, I get
a lot of black pepper notes, and I think a lot of that
black pepper’s coming from its proximity to China, and its ability to
harvest black peppercorns and not really grow chiles. So another thing that I’m
getting a lot from here is just the sandwich is
just more modestly sized that we’re accustomed to seeing. That has a lot to do with
the economic conditions of Northern Vietnam when
bahn mi was created. They didn’t have the ability
to stuff the sandwich with lots of meats, lots of
herbage, lots of fresh chiles. (upbeat music) Next up is Chef Helen
Nguyen at Saigon Social. – I usually start off
with Vietnamese mayo, give it a nice slather, and then the pâté. So this pâté is made with chicken liver. Throw in a slice of cucumber. We’re gonna layer it with some terrine, some Vietnamese ham, and then head cheese. So in central Vietnam, we use
a lot of vegetables and herbs. We have like a Vietnamese
Sambal, which is some red chiles. There’s a lot of chili,
different variations of peppers, and in the central region,
my family uses pork floss for a lot of things. My family didn’t really
have any refrigeration. My grandparents used to shred this and then just let it dehydrate. It was a way to preserve the meat. I have pork shoulder here. Gonna marinade it. Gonna give it a nice pounding so that the meat starts to break away. I have a basket, and you’re
gonna rub it against the basket to help fray the meat. Throw it on here, and you’re essentially dehydrating it. And as it’s drying, it’s turning into like a nice brown color. (calm music) No Vietnamese sandwich is complete without the Maggi seasoning. – So immediately one of
the first things I notice is the sandwich is a
little bit more filled than the Northern-style one. Also noticing a lot more greenage, a lot more crunch from vegetables. A lot of that has to do with the more abundance of farmland as we get further down south. The next thing I’m really picking up is a little bit more sweetness, and I can probably attribute that to the addition of pork floss. We’re gonna visit Chef Jimmy
Ly at Madame Vo Barbecue. – So I usually like to add
mayonnaise on both sides, then I’m gonna start with my head cheese, and then on this side we’re gonna put cha lua which is a Vietnamese sausage. And then we have a Vietnamese pork belly. I like to add that in the middle. So every bite will be the same. Some people add pâté on the bread, but I learned a trick when
I was in South Vietnam. They add the pâté onto the meat in the middle of the sandwich. We’re gonna be grilling nem nuong, it’s a savory, sweet,
Vietnamese ground pork dish that brings out the
sweetness into the meats. Daikon carrots. I like them a little thicker,
because I like that crunch. Cucumber, and then cilantro. I like to eat it hot, so I always add some Thai
chile peppers as well. And of course Maggi soy sauce. This is my idea of a traditional
Southern-style sandwich. That’s f****** pretty. Seriously. Look at these layers, bro! – The key things I get out of this are the sandwich is really stuffed, but it’s still well-balanced
at the same time. I’m also picking up on
a lot of grilled flavors in the cold cuts, which
is something that’s very unique and different. Finally I can taste a lot
of the natural sweetness coming out in the marinade, which helps kinda
balance out this sandwich and alleviate the heaviness. Now that I’ve had all
these delicious banh mis, I’m excited to get back
to the Di ǎn Di kitchen to make a banh mi that I
feel represents Vietnam. So I’m gonna first start
off by adding of our aioli. The next step, I’m gonna use some of our cha lua. This was something that we
saw in all the banh mis today, so I felt it was really important
to keep that consistent. What I think makes this
particular deli meat very special is the addition of black
peppercorns that we get here. And we actually bring
these in from Vietnam, from the Phu Quoc island. And then I’m going to add on
some of our house-made pâté. So this is our pâté. So we’re gonna pour this through a tamis. Move it back and forth. We’ve got our butter melted, we have our ground pork, we
have some salt and sugar, and then we have some ginger, scallions cooked down with some shallot oil. So I’m gonna add all
these ingredients in here and then mix them by hand. Just make sure this is all incorporated. We’re gonna whip it again. (upbeat music) It’s nice and pink and red. It’s not dense and crumbly. It’s just one nice spreadable product. I’m also gonna do a little technique that I learned from Jimmy as well, about layering on all this pâté, so you kind of get an even bite. I’m gonna put another layer of the cha lua on. Not too much this time, ’cause like I said, I
really liked the modest size of the Northern-style banh mi. We’re also gonna add in pork floss. Pork floss is something I
saw that Chef Helen used in the Central region. What I enjoy about the pork floss is it’s kinda like a beef jerky. It adds like a nice
texture in the sandwich. Some basil, cilantro, some
scallions that were cut very fine and soaked in water to make curly. Instead of packing with protein, I’m gonna pack it with
the herbs and vegetables. So to add spice and heat to the sandwich, I’m going to actually take some cues from the North and the Central region. I’m going to use some of
the fresh black pepper that I saw in the Northern region, and combine it with the fresh chili heat by using a house-made hot sauce. And you can’t possibly make
a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich without using Maggi. (upbeat music) What I took away from everything was in the North we had a lot
of the black pepper spice, a more modest-sized sandwich,
which I really appreciated. From the Central region it
was all about the vegetation, the crunch from all the fresh vegetables and the fresh chiles. The Central region has a
little bit more farmland, so you could expect that there. And then from the Southern region, I really took away layering
the pâté between the meats, which I found really delicious, because it really evenly
distributed the pâté. As a chef, what I really
appreciate about the banh mi is its use of humble ingredients, and the sum of its parts ends
up being greater than itself. (ballroom music)

100 comments on “How Vietnam’s Banh Mi Sandwich Changes from the North to South — Regions

  1. I just realized most Americans have been having the mid-country version of Vietnamese Banh Mi. I've never seen the other two before until til and now that's a shame I don't see more diversity of these sandwiches. I could totally eat all 3 no problem.

  2. Maggi? Head Cheese?

    I know Czech Republic has a lot of Vietnamese, but hot damn. Those are like two classic bits of Czech quisine.

  3. Excellent start to the new series. May be difficult (even in New York) to find chefs for every single region but would be awesome to see different versions of Japanese ramen, Spanish paella, German sausages, Mexican tacos and of course good ol' American BBQ. 👍

  4. Why does chef le’s banh mi have not vegetables in it ???? Never once in my entire life have I seen a banh mi without any kind of vegetables

  5. This is a beautiful example of pushing Vietnamese culture/cuisine forward while not technically being "authentic", which has become a buzzword for white people who think they are experts on Asian food.

  6. I live in Southern Vietnam, I have Banh Mi 5 times a week, I've never seen anybody put Mayo and Maggi thinggy (what ever the hell that is?) into a banhmi. Just saying!

  7. Great start to a brand new series! I had no idea about the differences in Banh Mi throughout the regions of Vietnam. Growing up in the United States, i've always associated banh mi with an assortment of meat, fresh herbs, and pickled veg. Hope to see more Vietnamese dishes in future episodes!

  8. As a guy who has eaten Northern "banh my" (you can called it sandwich, literally) for 10+ years, I could tell his version was not exactly how we rolled here.

    1. The Pâté he used is not right. Ours is almost liquid and steaming hot, which granted an entirely different tastes.

    2. We have veggies in banh my. I often go with threaded, pickled papaya or carrots. Many places substitute them for sliced cucumber. You can't expect Vietnamese to gulp down so much meat without veggies. We got fed up with protein real quick.

    3. It's not really traditional but we also use topping like scallion: chopped finely and fried until crisp. And there is this thing called "ruoc" which is shredded pork fried until golden brown.

    There are probably more but I can't seem to recall.

    Edit: almost forgot. Maggi?! Really? I've only seen chilly, and mayo (I consider both to be sacrilegious). And most place don't use pepper as shown. There's already some added into the salt we used for cooking (Vietnameses don't normally use kosher salt).

  9. Y are these banh mi so Americanized in Vietnam?… This is so confusing… The chefs are like Americans-vietnamese… They can't even pronounce the meat correctly… Smh.

    U can get more authentic banh mi in little saigon, SoCal

  10. i think some vietnamese , id say some, gave the french too much credit for these vietnamese food & lack of historical facts. vietnam had trades with the portuguese long before france , & the fact that china 5,000 yrs history have produce some of the food that vietnamese have fuse, like pho, banh coun its continue to distort culture for the purpose of marketing. we all know france fuse italian food right?

  11. That southern sandwich was the best looking by my taste. Need those veggies and all the ingredients looked really high quality.

  12. The southern style is what is sold by most banh mi places in my area. Most Vietnamese restaurants here are opened by those whose families fled because of the war. I've also heard that the bread is made of rice flour so that it's more light and crispy than chewy.

  13. I'm really confused, I see a lot of people in the comments saying these sandwiches don't represent their regions at all? Someone help me understand what happened.

  14. This is laughable, this guy does not know how Banh Mi Sandwich 's made in Vietnam, and he is a Vietnamese Chef??. I would not eat Banh Mi, if it 's made this way, does not matter from what region, or what country In California, we have good Banh Mi, and thank God, they are nothing nasty as his version.

  15. When it comes to Vietnamese food, I hate Vietnamese commenters. Eating Vietnamese food more often than a non-Vietnamese does not make you a expert. This doesn't look authentic. That doesn't look authentic. What a load of horse s..t. Imagine Vietnam with a population of nearly 100,000,000 people, and every shop makes bánh mì exactly the same way. How does that work? Some shops use soy sauce. Some shops use Maggi. Some make their own sauce. The same goes for the different types of meat. Everyone wants to differentiate themselves. So, for the non-Vietnamese food lovers out there, don't mind these yelp-wannabe commenters. Commenting on Vietnamese food is their chance to shine in life.

  16. Hmm. I think you made something new that represents your tastes but doesn't represent Vietnam or the Banh Mi, at all. And I doubt your version is as good as any of the three you tried, either. Sorry!

  17. FYI they don’t have that style in the North anymore. It’s all gravitated towards the southern style because it’s easily the most delicious

  18. Great video. Love Banh Mi!! Love dim sum too . There is a new Chinese joint in Union Square serving traditional and innovative dim sum dishes and it is legit . Come check out my review of it.
    Link: https://youtu.be/Fko6y6UPsGs

  19. I love the fact that I have been able to get awesome Banh Mi's and not only are they freaking delicious but you can get a whole sandwich for as low $2.99 and at that price for the taste… I'm sold…

  20. I love the Banh Mi. I have had about 12 so far this month. The ones served in West Toronto seem to be Saigon style. Except there no grilled pork.

  21. You just destroyed that "Banh Mi" pronunciation. Just pick one already, you're switching back and forth here. And you're Vietnamese!!!!!!

  22. I'm commenting again after the end of the video and it just feels like going from a cheap Banh Mi to a more expensive one. So they're basically saying the south was more well of by the amount of fillings. Really…..!!!?
    And talk about skipping steps, if you're teaching about the Banh Mi history then at least tell them you're cooking the pate. Otherwise to first timers watching it, thinks its just raw pork with liver pate.

  23. The beauty of Bánh Mì is that you can custom it to your liking no matter whether it came from North our South, get me a Bánh Mì with fried Egg some Chả Lụa and Paté and I am a happy man.

  24. i think they make maggi appear more ubiquitous than it actually is. can anyone confirm/deny? makes it feel like an advertisement

  25. This episode brought you by Maggi sauce, ft foreign chefs claimed to understand the difference between 3 regions's cuisine. It crack me up when he say the center region have a lot of farmland, did he even looks at the map when he say it.

  26. The central style doesn't use head cheese and maggi, instead we use meat juice from braised pork and sweet and spicy chilly sauce, some place even have their own pickle green chillies. As for pickle daikon and carrot, we also put in a bit of ginger, the flavour is quite awesome.

  27. looking at the replies
    OK when the people which culture is being covered in the video are triggered, this has the potential to go away like the meat show did.

  28. Im not sure how people think about those bánh mì in the video but those doesn’t looks like anything that they served on the side of the street in Vietnam.

  29. Wtf is this? I’m def triggered by his saying. Pronounce your banh mi correctly and learn some true Viet sandwiches. That’s not pork floss either, that’s jerky size.
    God -amn.

  30. Pls Guys. In the North, we never ever eat Banh Mi without pickle and vegetables. And Head cheese sound very weird…
    This video is ridiculous!

  31. Im disappointed by the final sandwich. Was expecting an delicious looking bahn me and instead kinda looks like a subway sandwich thats packed with veggies. That 3rd sandwich looked really good i could go for that one right now

  32. I’m in Vietnam right now Banh Mi here definitely has less meat but the bread is very very airy and light .. these are definitely American Vietnamese..

  33. In the North, we never put peper and magie directly in the Banh mi. This is a habit form the South and the South only.
    Instead, we prefer putting lots of vegies such as cucumber, cilantro… and chilli sauce or tomato sauce.

  34. Eh this host guy doesnt know much about Viet food. Saying that black pepper came from China influence is incorrect. Vietnam produces some of the best peppercorns in the world (see Phu Quoc). Maggi is not used often if you actually go to Vietnam. Its usually just soy sauce.

  35. I'm no even Vietnamese but it hurts my ears to hear the pronunciation he uses. I hope he doesn't pronounce Pho (F-uhh) like ("F-hoe" like the word "Phony")

  36. I don't enjoy just eating bread. Most shops around me put so little damn meat inside. This is why I dont ever go out of my way to eat this.

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