There is a truth that banh mi is easy to find in Vietnam. This famous bread was appeared in this S-shaped nation in very early 20th century, especially in Saigon. Gradually, people used to call it 'banh mi Saigon'. It is not just a name but a way to distinguish it from other types of bread.
Based on history, Vietnam had been exposed to Western culture since the late 19th century in the context of being a French colony and Saigon, back at that time, was the most modern city ever born. Since then, bread and a variety of western foods had intruded into the traditional Vietnamese meal.
Quick learning is a quality of Vietnamese people. Especially, for Saigon people, they were originally immigrants from northern and central Vietnam, so they already had in themselves intelligence and sensitivity. It is no surprise that they created Vietnamese bread 'banh mi' on their own from French baguette in a very skillful way.
In the memory of the elderly who lived in this city, from the 1940s to the 1950s, when Saigon didn't have many streets, the population was few, there were many banh mi stalls every morning. Banh mi Saigon has a crunchy crust, soft crumb along with a small and compact body.
In the 1950s, banh mi Saigon was served by Saigon people with meats, ham, pickled vegetables This is a very different way of eating bread than Westerners. Later, it became a common pattern for Vietnamese bread.
Because there is a lot of meat and vegetables, banh mi Saigon is very nutritious. Therefore, low-income people can easily buy themselves an energy-rich meal, just with banh mi. Nowadays, banh mi is a specialty of Saigon. It has been recognized as the 'queen' of Vietnamese street food.
P.V (Based on the Ho Chi Minh City Travel Magazine)