Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Banh Nam Now at The Venice Grand Canal

So much for the perks of being at home in one of my favorite mall.  This mini Venice in Manila is a host to many Italian and locally franchised restaurants in the country.  Though basking in these is quite amusing, there are times I also long for something different, something Asian, yet flavors and culture authentic.  Something like a taste of Vietnam.

Vietnam is still number one in my bucket list to visit, I know. I know!  I love Vietnamese cuisine but never have set foot in that land.  After watching Miss Saigon and several episodes of Nam (when i was young), there was this intriguing thought of being able to grasp it's culture and like our country, why other nations would like to beset on.  It was just a couple of years ago that their tourism had really grown and seeing pictures of it's majestic tourist sights and street food from my FB friends, I knew I would have also loved to visit...soon.

It was in our family trip to Puerto Princesa that I've had the taste and flavor that is true Vietnam, and since then, I've lusting over pho's and banh mi's here in Manila.

This time the stars have aligned and my hankering for the "world's best sandwich" has come near me and my quest is over.  But that doesn't leave me not wanting still to go to Vietnam, or Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh), where Banh Mi originated. 

Perched just behind the entrance of the fast food venue leading to Robinson's Grocery Store, Bahn Mi stands in full color, ready and able to serve Saigon's special and historic Banh mi in three variants.  It's a grab and go concept where you can also enjoy your banh mi with either cold coffee (cà phê sua đá) or Wintermelon Juice.

Banh Nam is a franchise from Vietnam, which was brought by Henry Nguyen, as you can see, he's Vietnamese, but part of it you don't know, he is half Filipino, as his mother is.  But being built as an entrepreneur in Vietnam, he dreamed one day to bring the authentic banh mi in Manila.

Through the process, he made sure all the ingredients called for has that flavor many tourists who have tried it had longed for. After all, the history that was built upon it was what made it famous even in the US.  

Banh mi is an epitome of French and Vietnamese cuisine combined along with a saga of culinary boundaries between the two nations.

It refers only to ‘bread’ or ‘cake out of wheat’, when translated literally in Vietnam. Essential ingredients, pork, paté, and pickles, when combined, now familiar to the West is known as a bánh mì thịt ngoui, ‘bread, meat and cold cuts’, often referred to as the bánh mì đặc biệt, ‘the special’, the one with everything. This is what every meat-eating traveler comes for that Vietnam craving.

Behind the counter is this eye-catching wall painting.  Well, it's actually a panel painted by a Vietnamese artist and sent here through cargo.

Yes, it sends me a signal, an enticing one that someday, I'll be walking along a street in Vietnam donned in ao dai with traditional paper lanterns swaying over my head.

Over at the counter, displayed are these freshly-made sandwich-sized baguette.  Next to it is the local brand bottled tea, Bayani Brew.  Their bread is cutomized for them, making sure it's the same experience you get in Vietnam.

Bahn Mi is eaten the whole day, as a breakfast, lunch and even snack and best paired with what else of course, strong brewed Vietnamese blend coffee.  You can also buy them here in packs.

How coffee steeping is done with Vietnamese coffee, with a smile:)

For hot coffee in a cup.

And finally...

Time for me to try them.

This Vietnamese sandwich says a lot of French influence in it.  It began with the scrumptiously crunchy baguette.  Like us Filipinos, rice used to be the staple for the Vietnamese, and buying bread during the French colonial was a fancy.

Eventually, post-war eras made it possible for the Vietnamese to make this pricey food affordable to the locals as they try to reinvent and resource out certain ingredients.  With the addition of rice flour and (duck) eggs to the dough, they make it rise and have created a crunchier, and flaky-top version.

Liver pate is another infusion of French culinary, so does homemade mayonnaise.  These are the two other key ingredients in Banh mi.  I think Banh Nam's version of pate is the Viet-style already as it isn't that bitter and chunky as that of the French'.

At this stall, you can see how they make your sandwiches, and you will notice the freshness of the ingredients as you do smell the aroma of the vinegary pickled carrots and daikon.

 Yea all for me!  Three different Bahn Mi's.

Meat Grilled Bread or Traditional Bahn Mi has the homemade pork liver pate, pork roti and pork ham and the works.

Grilled Chicken or Bánh Mì Gà Nướng.  This one is slathered with chicken pate and slabs of chicken roti and the works, cilantro, onions and pickled veggies.

 Bánh Mì Heo Nướng or Roast Pork. Pork liver pate and mayo on the bread, with roast pork and specialty BBQ sauce with the Veit-works.

The staff will ask you if you like it spicy, as they do have a specially made chili sauce that they put on top, it's up to you how spicy you want your sandwich.

Please don't ever ask which of these three is my favorite, cause I love all them.

Notice how the condensed milk settled at the bottom, if it's your first time to sip on Vietnamese blend, I suggest you sip on the coffee first without mixing it yet.  You will notice the smokey roast of the ground coffee without being woody. Then, by all means, mix in the condensed milk.  And btw, it's not the typical milk we use here in the country, this is condensed milk specifically made for this coffee, it's from Vietnam, too. 

As refreshing as the veggies in the sandwiches, are the bursting fruit "bobas" in this cup.  It's like a sweet tea with tangy sweet bubbles bursting on a every bite.

Biting to any one of this Banh Mi, makes me want to go more to Vietnam and maybe, I could do a Banh Mi trail, for now, let me just enjoy this sight and taste.

They have three branches, you can also visit Alabang Town Center and SM Southmall, Las Pinas for their other branches.


Address: GF Venice Grand Canal Mall,
               McKinley Hill, Taguig City

Banh Nam Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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