Love Me Some Banh Mi

26 Jan

Continuing my recent fixation on Vietnamese food, I went to the Eat.St food market behind King’s Cross to visit one of my favourite street food stands in the whole world, Banh Mi 11. For readers who’ve never experienced banh mi, these are a European/Southeast Asian hybrid, combining a rice-flour baguette and meats like pate with sweet-and-sour pickles, chilies, and Vietnamese herbs. The original version is a hymn to porkiness, making it no-go for yours truly, but the talented women who run the stand also make sandwiches with tofu, chicken, and my go-to, beef.

Prepare for the deliciousness.

For the beef banh mi, a crispy baguette is filled with sirloin which tastes like a funkier version of Korean bulgogi, plus carrot and daikon pickles, cucumber, sriracha, and enough fresh coriander to make a hater of that herb run away yelping. The result? An electric mixture of textures and flavours that is the hallmark of Vietnamese food. Crisp and chewy, sour, savoury, and sweet, spicy and cooling. In short, it’s the most exciting sandwich I have ever eaten. I don’t think an empty wrapper has ever made me feel so bereft! It goes without saying that I will be back, and I think you should go too.

Also, if you are a lover of all things between bread, and want to know where to find the best in the Big Smoke, check out The London Review of Sandwiches.

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