Anthony Bourdain’s Best Vietnamese Sandwich in the World

Earlier this month, popular American celebrity host and foodie Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. He was 61 and at the perfect of health. It was less than 5 months ago that I had been introduced to this name.

I got introduced to Anthony Bourdain while I was researching about Vietnam few months back before my trip. There were two major attractions relating to him in the country- One, the famous dinner American President Obama had with him at a roadside café in Hanoi. Two, the ‘Banh Mi’ at a particular shop in the Ancient town of Hoi An was proclaimed the best Vietnamese sandwich in the world by Bourdain.

My stay in Hanoi didn’t allow me to head to the café that Obama made famous as it wasn’t very close to where I was staying in the Old Quarters and I didn’t have enough time (But I did have the ‘Bun Cha’ at a different place in the city and it was a brilliant meal). The café has now preserved the table, plastic stools and cutlery used by Obama and Bourdain in a glass enclosure for public viewing.

Obama dines with Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam
President Obama has Bun Cha with Anthony Bourdian in Vietnam (I do not own this image)

In Hoi An- the lantern town- I looked up the popular Banh Mi place on arrival and was happy to find it at walking distance from my hostel. I headed there- Banh My Phuong- and was welcomed by a cosy little restaurant with a variety of Banh Mi’s on its menu. It was early evening and the place wasn’t very crowded yet.

The menu prominently displayed that this was the place Anthony Bourdain had proclaimed to have the best Vietnamese Sandwich in the world: “The best Vietnamese banh mi sandwich in the world is in Hoi An (as featured on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain)”

Banh My Phuong, Best Vietnamese Sandwich in the world, Vietnam, Hoi An
The menu at Banh My Phuong, Hoi An, Vietnam

Around 4-5 women stood behind the counter preparing the orders. The counter was laid with all kinds of imaginable ingredients for the sandwiches. From cheese and vegetables to chicken, pork, beef, tuna and egg, they had every variety. I ordered the chicken variant.

I had several Banh Mi’s at different places across Vietnam before and after this particular day. But this definitely was the best. The bread, the fillings, the sauces- all of it just felt right. Anthony Bourdain may or may not have tried a lot of Vietnamese sandwiches, but this place did serve the best one I had.

When you are on the quest to try all the local cuisine in a foreign land, it is imperative that you might not know how to eat it or what to expect when you order a dish. It happened with me so many times during my stay in the country. And usually whenever I was hungry and not in the mood for experimenting with new food, the Banh Mi came to rescue. What can go wrong with a sandwich after all? Trust me, it will be your savior if you are visiting Vietnam and in search of familiar but non-Indian food.

Banh My Phuong, Best Vietnamese Sandwich in the world, Vietnam, Hoi An
The swelling crowds at the restaurant, Banh My Phuong, Hoi An, Vietnam

By the time I had my Banh Mi and left from the restaurant to go and explore the Lantern Town of Hoi An, there was already a long queue outside the place. It wasn’t just tourists, there were loads of locals as well. This place and its Banh mi were definitely very popular. I returned the next evening an tried their hamburger and that was pretty awesome too.

Is there a particular food somewhere that you discovered on your travels and it became your favoutite? Do share in the comments below.

Check out this clip from my vlogs for my experience at Banh My Phuong in Hoi An:

Here’s the clip from No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain where he discovers the Banh Mi in Hoi An: Click here
Obama has Bun Cha with Bourdain in Hanoi: Here

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