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Vietnamese baguette endorsed by celebrity chef makes its way to Korea

By Di Vy   May 15, 2019 | 02:18 am PT
A banh mi restaurant in Hoi An that had wowed renowned chef Anthony Bourdain has opened a branch in Seoul.

Banh mi Phuong is a culinary brand in Hoi An that has been praised by bloggers and foreign media for several years now. Anthony Bourdain once referred to the banh mi here as "the world's best".

The brand opened a restaurant, themed on Hoi An, Vietnam’s famous ancient town, on May 4 in Yeonnam, Mapo-gu District, Seoul.

Photo courtesy of Banh mi Phuong

The restaurant's décor is explicitly Hoi An. Photo courtesy of Banh mi Phuong

Banh mi is a kind of sandwich that consists of a Vietnamese single-serving baguette filled with various savory ingredients.

Unlike a typical banh mi street stall in Vietnam, the Seoul restaurant offers seats for goers. In its Hoi An outlet, the restaurant serves more than a dozen different types of banh mi, but in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, the choice is limited to barbecue meat, chicken with cheese, beef or a mixed version. These are also the most popular items at the Hoi An branch.

The vegetables filling in the banh mi include cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrot-white radish and lettuce, like the original Vietnamese version.

Vietnamese beverages like coconut coffee and iced milk coffee are also served in the Seoul eatery.

Photo courtesy of Banh mi Phuong

There are barbecue meat, chicken with cheese, beef or a mixed version of banh mi at the Seoul restaurant. Photo courtesy of Banh mi Phuong

The owner of the brand, Phuong, said what keeps people coming to her restaurants is the variety of sauces that cannot be found elsewhere.

banh mi costs between 7,000 and 8,000 won ($5.9 - $6.7) while drinks start from 1,500 won ($1.3).

The restaurant's décor is explicitly Hoi An, with yellow walls and colorful lanterns, old style wooden furniture, television sets, a cassette player, an oil lamp and other items.

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