Simon Stanley eats his way through the city’s top banh mi joints... and chooses the best. Let the crumbs fall where they may. Photos by Francis Xavier


I love history you can pick up and eat. Vietnam’s banh mi can trace its roots back to the days of French colonial rule, when the humble baguette was given a lighter, fluffier personality, and traditional French ingredients like pate and mayonnaise were added to chilli, coriander, grilled pork and pickled vegetables.


Today, banh mi thit is available everywhere from five-star buffets to the tail-end of a Honda Cub in an alleyway. It’s possibly the most readily available on-the-go meal you’re likely to find. But whose version is the best?



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Simon Stanley

Born in the middle of nowhere in the middle of England, Simon spent the first decade of adulthood living in a neon-lit London office before hauling on a rucksack and travelling around the world with his partner. After a year on the road, and another grey British winter on the cards, he returned to Vietnam to swap suits and ties for pho and flip-flops. Simon is now a freelance writer based in Ho Chi Minh City.



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