banh mi with bbq pork, pate and pork floss

I’m pretty sure I have a caveat somewhere in this blog about my utter lack of food knowledge, in particular the anthropology of food. I don’t really think about where food comes from, or its original purpose, or what it is “meant to” taste like. Rather, I consult my very [un]refined tastebuds and if they all nod in unison, then we are in agreement that something tastes good.

Sometimes they get me in trouble for loving all the wrong things. But mostly, we get along just fine, enjoying culinary delights that make me, my buds and my tummy deliriously happy.

Anyway, last week I joined the queues at new take-out joint Viet Baguette on Charlotte Place in London’s West End and ordered me a bánh mì, a Vietnamese style baguette filled with such deliciousness as slices of roast pork, pate, pork floss, shallots and a chilli-mayo sauce.

Oh, pork floss.. {heart} 

As I ate my foot-long bánh mì, it occurred to me that this didn’t really taste like a traditional bánh mì, which is a taste that I actually am privy to the knowledge of.

[If you’re interested, hit up a local Sydney-sider when you’re next there and ask them to take you to the stiflingly humid dungeon that is the passage between Wynyard Station and Hunter Connection and there’s a tiny shop on the corner, two down from the Naughty Chef (which incidentally, makes the best grilled pork & vermicelli noodle) which sells not only the best bánh mì in town but also freshly squeezed sugar cane juice]

Anyway, if I did care about how something was supposed to taste, I probably would’ve pranced around twitterverse, spreading un-love for Viet Baguette, but actually, all I could do was pragmatically state that ok, this doesn’t really taste like a real bánh mì, but you know what? It still tastes pretty darn awesome.

In theory they had the right ingredients ~ the roast pork, pate, shallots, pickled carrots and radish, chilli and mayo and in my opinion the prime de la prime of ingredients, the pork floss. And the baguette was nicely crusty.

So I’m not quite sure why it didn’t taste right. Maybe it was made with too much care, because believe me when I tell you that real Vietnamese vendors bung these things together in like 5 seconds flat, where as these guys took a decent 5 minutes assembling each baguette, lovingly wrapping it and adding a lolly before the flick of the rubberband encased the baguette.

Who knows and who really cares. I know I don’t. Once the queues die down a little, you’ll probably find me there from time to time, because they put pork floss in their baguettes, people! Surely that counts for something!

Viet Baguette
14 Charlotte Place
Fitzrovia, W1T 1SW

5 Thoughts on “you can let go of traditions but don’t touch the pork floss: bánh mì at Viet Baguette

  1. Old Cow on November 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm said:

    oooh thanks for this gem of a post! I hope to pass through there soon!

  2. Yum! I want!

  3. I’m the total opposite of you and am one of those insufferable gits that needs to know where a dish comes from, what its supposed to taste like and whether its authentic. I’m trying to give less of a toss as you’re quite right – as long as it tastes good who cares.

  4. Old Cow: OOooo when you do let me know, if I’m nearby I will join you!

    Linh: that goes for you too – let me know when you’re nearby 🙂

    Mr Noodles: Yeh it’s one of those traits that I’ve had to get used to. Some people think kudos to me and some people think I just have no idea what I’m talking about. I almost think the latter is correct, but then again, if I enjoy eating something, I enjoy eating something, it doesn’t get much simpler than that 🙂

  5. Just to let you know that Ca Phe VN has launched its own Banh Mi brand – BanhMi SaiGon from our Broadway Market Saigon Street Cafe.
    We have ended our association with Banhmi11 and now will compete with them head to head at Broadway every saturday !

    Let the Banh Mi Battle commence!

    My partner Tuyen is back in the business after giving birth to our daughter Lotus last year & is preparing the ingredients for our excellent
    South Vietnamese Five Pork Banh mi, we are also in the finals of the British Street Food Awards in September!

    our press release below

    Ca Phe VN has launched its own Banhmi – Banh Mi SaiGon – every Saturday at the Saigon Street Cafe – Benjamin Close, Broadway Market E8 10-5
    5 pork, traditional Southern style baguette – excellent light bread with cha bong, steamed pork, cha, gammon ham, pate, pickled diakon & carrot, cucumber, spring onion, coriander, gravy, Vietnamese mayonaise & chilli.
    Ca Phe VN 07780784696

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