Sink your gnashers into a Banh my pate and experience a crust cracking crunch alien to any Brie, tomato & basil muncher down at Pret a Manger. Banh my pate (pronounced 'ban me' Saigon-side, 'bang me' in Hanoi) is a breakfast, lunch or dinner - 'anytime's-a-banh-my-goodtime' - kinda snack. You'll find stalls, run exclusively by women in my experience, flogging these brimful baguettes at every other pavement stall in Saigon. This sarnie has no sell-by-date and comes sans cellophane, but is wrapped in the cut out advertising section of the local rag. The raw baguette goes for 1000VD a throw, the meat in the proverbial bumps the price up to 5,000VD.
There are options on what to put in and what not to, but normally I go for 'the works' which means a smattering of: chicken liver pate, cucumber slivers, sliced red & yellow chilis, a sprig of coriander, spring onion, shredded carrot, mortadella luncheon meat, thin strings of dried, shredded pork and a splash of hot sauce. As you take a bite, the breadcrumbs scatter - you might need a bib if you're a messy eater - the veggies crunch and meats meld into one magic mouthfull. Be careful, the chilies the baguette babes throw in are among the hottest you'll find in Vietnam. There are baguette boffins bangin' out the banh my in the Seattle Deli in the US, but I'll wager whatever snazzy American twists are added stateside they don't match the Saigon street original. A bumper baguette will set you back $3.50 at the Seattle Deli. That's a budget bustin' 55,000VD or 11 - count them - ELEVEN - times the Saigon price.