Best Vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam
It’s official, we’ve found the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam! Some of you may remember back to our first post where we trekked across Ho Chi Minh City to try our very first vegan Banh Mi and were sadly disappointed by what seemed like a rather uninspiring mock meat sandwich.
But now we have found the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam from a place in Hoi An.
The internet is full of people talking about this legendary meaty sandwich and where the best versions of it can be found. Hoi An is reputed to be one of the best producers of this famous Vietnamese staple but there is nowhere that specialises in a vegan version. Insane, we know! If we wanted to find the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam we knew we’d have to get out there and veganize!
Here’s how we found the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam
Step 1: We found out were the best meat based version of this sandwich of the gods was made. Our research told us about ‘Banh Mi Phuong’, a tiny restaurant run by a Vietnamese woman and her sisters who were made famous by a visit from the meat loving chef Antony Bourdain.
Here’s where you need to go to get the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam…
Once he visited and had declared her Banh Mi as “a symphony in a sandwich” the tourists started flocking in to try it and they are still coming in their droves. However, this place is busy with the locals too and they can still be found queueing for their Banh Mi from along with everyone else.
There are people in the queue all day long
Step 2: Try to decipher the queuing system and ask awkward questions about the possibility of being able to veganize something that is predominantly made from meat, with more meat and some egg thrown on top. This is no small challenge; there are 4 women working at once, taking separate orders and they are busy. They’re not really in the mood for chatting, let alone chatting to people who don’t speak vietnamese and who want to be awkward by not having what’s on the menu.
And its really hot.
At this stage, we try to invoke some great power to help us charm one of the women into helping us. We use our very limited Vietnamese and her very limited English to organise something free from all animal products… we think.
Don’t mess with these women, they are fearsome
Step 3: Wait patiently while they go to the kitchen in the back of the shop to do something special, we try to make a plan of what to do if she comes back with two meat laden Banh Mi; we even consider just running away as the other 3 women are already laughing at us and it’s not the most comfortable of experiences so far. But we’re on a Vegan Food Quest to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world and surely finding the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam should be included in that? We suck up the discomfort and wait.
Step 4: Try to contain sheer joy and excitement when these arrive and a last minute check of “no meat? no fish? no fish sauce? no mayonnaise?” makes us feel happy enough to delve right in.
Can you imagine the excitement? This is the moment before we tasted the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam
It was laden with hot tofu that had been cooked in a rich, spicy, thick soy sauce gravy. There were pickled vegetables, finely sliced onions, fresh salad leaves and herbs including Vietnamese basil, juicy sliced tomato and cucumber and the light crispy bread that is doughy soft in the middle yet crunchy and light on the outside. The gravy oozed out the bottom as we ate, soaking into the bread in the middle.
Mission completed; we had indeed found the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam and could barely contain our joy. So this was what all the fuss was about? We understand the bliss of this ultimate sandwich experience now, and not a single animal harmed in the process? Double bliss. It was well worth the pain of getting it.
Another gratuitous Banh Mi picture
Getting stuck in
The rice and wheat flour baguettes are fresh from the bakers next door then warmed through in a charcoal oven to make them extra crispy.
We love these baguettes too; super light and crispy
One thing is true, now we have tried the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam, we need to have another. In fact, many others. There just aren’t enough eating opportunities in the day.
Banh Mi Phuong can be found at 2 Phan Chau Trinh Street, Hoi An, Vietnam and is included in our Vegan Guide to Hoi An.