This is one bread sandwich shop or Banh Mi (Vietnamese word for bread) that almost every single Vietnamese living in Ho Chi Minh knew about it, when you visit Ho Chi Minh and ask the local where to eat Banh Mi; most of them will point you to Huynh Hoa. Undoubtedly the most well known Banh Mi shop in Ho Chi Minh.
I visited Ho Chi Minh like 3-4 times and each time when I was there, I always ensure I have their Banh Mi before I leave Ho Chi Minh. Every time when I go there regardless of time, there is always a queue form outside the shop and regardless of rain or shine. The queue line is a good indication of yummy food serving to all hungry soul and to their loyal customer. The shop is pretty near to a super busy island traffic, follow my google map and I am very sure anyone can locate it and just look for queue line.
On the left side of the shop, some staff is heating up or toasting the baguette (bread) to ensure it crispiness and to keep it hot and warm when other staff spread ingredient onto it. And on one occasion I saw some staff brought in few basket of freshly baked bread from outside baking factory into the shop, and this shown they need an external factory to cater the large amount of bread they needed. Without their external factory the small size shop house will not be able to cope with streaming order of Banh Mi. At the scene of the toasting station, the staff carefully using tong to pick up bread for 2nd toasting in a gingerly manner. This is to ensure each bread is handle with care to maintain a perfect toast condition without any visible damage onto the bread surface.
In this tiny Banh Mi shop, you can see all the staff is focusing on their assigned role to ensure and smooth flowing serving to each hungry soul without any hitch. There are staff toasting the bread, cutting the bread into half, sorting out and spreading cold cut meat in a orderly manner, dressing of each bread with mouth watering ingredients. There is also staff at shop front taking order from customer, and occasionally depend on your luck to see baskets of freshly baked bread being delivered to shop.
As I patiently waited my turn for the order, I scanned the dressing counter on how they prepare and dress the mouth watering Banh Mi. The mountain of pork floss and assortment of cold cuts is constantly being replenish by the back of house staff, this is to retain its eye catching mountain scene of wonderful ingredients.
5 spices, and a well known spice term in Asia cooking and here in this famous Banh Mi shop we saw 5 nicely sliced cold cuts & salami arranged in orderly manner for the staff to place them onto each Banh Mi. A closer look and you can see those cold cut & salami thickness is almost in consistent cut, and all the cold cuts & salami also maintain a nice moist texture to indicate its freshness. These are assortment of chicken and pork meat being processed and made into tasty cold cuts and salami.
Beside the assortment of cold cuts, I saw a huge tray of savory homemade pork liver pate. This pate basically will spread along the bread to form the base layer on 1 side of the bread, for all other ingredients on top of it. On the other side of the sliced bread an evenly spread of creamy butter will form the other layer of yummy dressing. And from a close distance, I can smell the fragrance of the pate lingering in the air mixed with the toasted aromatic bread. That was a nice combination of wonderful sense.
Beside those lovely moist cold cuts & salami, their chicken/pork floss also catching the the attention from those hungry soul. Their version of chicken/pork floss is different from Singapore’s version. It is a more chunky and shredded version to make it more chewy, while Singapore’s version is more finely shredded. You can even see some of it still retained the meat chunk.
On this dressing table was where the staff dressing each Banh Mi with mouth watering ingredients. When staff slicing up the bread, you can hear the clear crispiness of the thin bread crust singing in the air with the knife. The process of slicing assisted the bread fragrance to be released into the air, with the fresh bread smell and combination of slight burnt smell from the bread enticed your taste bud like no tomorrow. To complete their signature Banh Mi, some cucumber, radish, pickles, green cut chili, shredded carrot and cilantro will goes on top of those cold cuts & salami.
The well dressed Banh Mi will then sliced into half at your request, wrapped with their version of butter paper and rubber band. This is to keep the bread warm and ensure each hungry soul eatting a warm Banh Mi rather than a cold Banh Mi. This is good for those hungry soul packed on the go and eat it the moment they left the shop and can’t wait to devour it.
My 1st blood on their Banh Mi is still vividly printed in my mind. The bite on this banh Mi was utter crispy on bread crust and fluffy soft inside, couple with tender chewy of those cold cuts and other crunchy ingredients. A rapture of joy was followed on my face with sweet, sour, savory and spiciness couple from the aromatic fragrance of the Bnah Mi just hit the right spot of my taste bud. And last warning to all hungry soul out there… Their little spread of green cut chili will only hit your taste bud like 10 second into the bite. The spiciness of their green cut chili will cause you to hunt for water to reduce the spiciness. I like it anyway. Cheers!
*”die die must” is a Singapore Singlish of “compulsory”
Name:Huynh Hoa bakery
Where: 26 Lê Thị Riêng, Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
Tel: +84 28 3925 0885
Lights on: Daily 1430 – 2300 HRS
How to reach there : Uber/grab/taxi