I showed the picture on my phone to fruit vendor at the Hoi An market early in the morning. Her once stern face softened and she soon sprung to life eager to help me find the Banh Mi shop in the picture. She drew me maps, and practically walked me to the popular Banh Mi stand.
I was on mission to find this particular Banh Mi stand which my friend proclaimed as the “Best ever!”. My friend, Leif, sent a picture of the stand so I pulled it up on my phone and showed it to anyone who looked like they could help me find this hidden treasure in the market.
Eventually I found it – Banh Mi Phuong – it had a big line of local people surrounding it all straight off their bikes on the way to work – sort of like a Vietnamese version of Starbucks. I squeezed my way into the crowd and waited patiently to make eye contact with one of the 3 women rapidly making sandwiches – it was like getting a bartenders attention in a popular nightclub in NYC – not easy. However, since I was the only tourist, I did stand out. The woman in the conical hat asked me “everything?” – I hesitated for a second - not knowing what everything was, but remember that Leif had said to just get it all. I said” yes!“ with a smile and I watched as she loaded up the crispy bread roll with about 10 different ingredients of which I only knew a couple of them.
Leif was right – it was the best Banh Mi I had ever had in Vietnam and whatever everything was – it was worth it.