- $12 for $24 worth of Vietnamese food for up to two
Banh Mi: A Refreshing French Connection
Banh mi is more than just a sandwich; it’s a cultural amalgamation. Check out Groupon’s study of the tangy street food turned icon.
In Vietnamese, bánh mì simply means “bread,” and that’s where the iconic sandwich begins: a light, crispy baguette about half a foot in length, sliced down the center. Within its fluffy embrace, two other traditionally French ingredients—pâté and mayonnaise—meet the bold, refreshing flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. Classically, a cool and crunchy blend of cucumber, cilantro sprigs, pickled carrots, daikon radish, and thin slices of jalapeños or bird’s-eye chilies unite the dozens of protein options. Roasted pork belly, sausage, and shredded chicken are especially popular, and marinated tofu or seitan can often be found in restaurants or at Buddhist festivals. Fans of New Orleans cuisine may rightly recognize some textural similarities to the po’ boy: both are different evolutionary paths taken by the simple French baguette sandwich, which landed in Vietnam during French rule in the late 19th century.
The pile of ingredients sounds like it might make for a messy sandwich, but if the bread is fresh and malleable, it’s not hard to get a stratum of each ingredient in one neat bite. To keep their bread from becoming forbiddingly crusty, many banh mi shops bake their own loaves throughout the day, which they often sell alongside their sandwiches for customers who want to improvise their own filling combinations at home.