When asked about a Vietnamese treat besides our already famous phở, I immediately introduce my visiting friends to Vietnamese bread rolls. Sold on streets all over Vietnam, these delicious rolls are gaining new fans overseas. In 2011, along with phở, bánh mì (bread) was added to the Oxford Dictionary as a representative of Vietnamese cuisine.

The French introduced baguettes to Vietnam. Over time, local vendors created their own bread rolls, adding fillings that satisfied local tastebuds. A good bread roll should be crunchy on the outside and soft and white on the inside. The rolls are stuffed with meat, herbs and pickled cabbage. The recipes vary by region.

The bread is usually brushed with butter and some soft liver pate. The cook then adds sliced ham or pork terrine, sometimes some scrambled egg, pickled cabbage, cucumbers and herbs to complement the meaty taste. The rolls are then briefly reheated in the oven and served warm with red hot chili sauce.

In Saigon, cha siu pork is popular along with Maggi soy sauce. Hoi An has its own famous version stuffed with grilled pork and a sweet dense sauce that’s a secret recipe. In Dalat, bread rolls are often made with peppery shumai pork meatballs soaked in tomato sauce.

Wherever you travel in Vietnam, be sure to enjoy some crunchy bread rolls full of delicious and fresh local ingredients.