How does charred black bread sound to you? Before you turn your head away from this bread, it is nothing burnt or overcooked – Black Banh Mi is something new to try aside from the top street food in Vietnam!. It is basically baked using squid ink and bamboo charcoal!
A group of friends thought about the idea and was inspired by Quang Ninh – the biggest coal reserve and exploitation in Vietnam, locally called ‘land of coal mines’.
Accordingly, Khac Tuan, Nguyen Quyet and Pham Tuyen wanted to come up with a dish that represents their hometown. Initially, they thought about a dish that can be easily served to coal miners in between shifts and at the same time introduce the squid specialty to tourists. And that is how the black banh mi came to be.
The key ingredient of this bread is squid that came from the UNESCO natural heritage site in Quang Ninh – Ha Long Bay. The ink is essential to produce this bread’s signature charred black feature, in saying so, the group of friends had to market-hop in search of a different variety of squids with various colors of ink.
They then had to spend quite some time to test and find out the perfect mixture of the dough. This took them 20 failed attempts before finally finding the right mixture.
The blackness of this bread called Banh Mi is something fresh and new from what is the well-known traditional golden yellow.
Considering the striking look of its outside, its inside filling has also been uniquely tweaked which includes minced fried squid, served together in small slices topped with spicy sauce.
The sauce of this black banh mi is a combination of cooked onions, tomatoes, carrots and oregano mixed with shrimp heads for about an hour prior to getting pureed.
The shop now sells an average of 300-700 servings per day. Aside from the squid cakes, customers can also choose different fillings for their banh mi such as crab cakes, shrimp, BBQ chicken and roasted pork. Each serving can cost between 25,000 – 45,000 VND the amount varies from the chosen filling with the squid cakes being more expensive.
Its unnatural look stirs up curiosity amongst customers thus garnering people to check it out. Most customers are delighted by its sauce and the crispy layers of the bread. One serving is more than enough to replace a full meal for breakfast.
Banh Mi has generally captured the hearts of both locals and tourists in Vietnam. The original banh mi costs 20,000 VND and is typically stuffed with grilled pork, cold cuts and cucumber slices, pickled carrots, liver pate with mayonnaise.
If you’re curious about this exotic banh mi, check them out at No. 28 Phu Gia 3 residential complex, in Vinhome Ben Doan, Ha Long Town, Quang Ninh province. They are open from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM.
Wanting more unique dishes that can be found in Vietnam? Try checking out creepy food dishes in Saigon – the dish names will certainly blow your mind away while the taste will surely give you a gastronomic experience!