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In Bánh Mì We Trust

Though bánh mì is often labeled as one of the world’s best sandwiches, something to hold, behold and consume, Saigonese don’t eat them solely because they are delicious.

To be honest, I have never been in love with bánh mì. The crunchy, dry exterior seems to tear my gums and throat with each bite, not to mention the desert-like thirst it summons.

Yet I still have plenty respect and appreciation for the sandwich; bánh mì is deeply-rooted in the life of Saigonese no matter its shortcomings.

It is the perfect late-for school or late-for work breakfast, a quick lunch or dinner, or snack while watching the World cup. It is as a crunchy savior for our hungry stomachs, allowing us to get back to our business right away. It is cheap and quick – a perfectly adapted food for the active Saigon life.

When I was young and wanted to sleep in a bit, I would grab a bánh mì for breakfast, allowing me to get to school on time. Now when I see bánh mì, it conjures up memories of my lazy 7-year-old self.

As I grew older, bánh mì again proved to be a helpful friend when I overslept and was disciplined by being relegated to the late-for-school group. But with my nourishing friend, the punishment of one hour standing in the schoolyard was not that bad. Usually, the hour turned into a bread-buffet with friends enjoying their favorite variety of bánh mì, while making jokes and chit chatting.

While bánh mì and I have grown apart over the years, I still eat it from time-to-time to as a way to bring me back to my childhood.

One thing’s for sure, bánh mì has attached itself to my life, in addition to the roof of my mouth.

Saigonese eat bánh mì not only for the taste, but because it sustains our active lifestyle while allowing us to wallow in nostalgia.

In bánh mì we trust.

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