Anyone based in Vietnam will know that the banh mi is the world’s best sandwich-based invention since, hmmm, probably the hamburger. And it seems the nerds over at Google have finally realized this too, giving the god-like sandwich its very own Google Doodle. Once can only wonder what took them so long.
The doodle, apparently only available in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the United States and Vietnam (poor Europe!), was created to honor the Oxford English Dictionary’s decision to add banh mi as an entry way back on March 24, 2011. At this point, they may as well make it “World Banh Mi Day” and be done with it.
The Google banh mi looks pretty cute and Chào would love to give it a munch, but we are very wary of getting in to the ‘what makes an authentic banh mi’ debate. But, what the hell, we will: a banh mi must be a baguette stuffed with pate, cold meat, carrot, cucumber, coriander, pickles and mayonnaise (if we missed anything thing, do send us a post-card saying what).
The provenance of who exactly introduced the banh mi to Vietnam is hotly debated, but there is a consensus it was baguette-loving Frenchmen living in southern Vietnam in the 19th century that were bored of noodles.
Google hedge their bets and say: “Some accounts posit banh mì’s humble beginnings in the late 1950s street stalls of Saigon’s noisy alleys, but an official origin story is yet to be verified. What is universally accepted about banh mi’s history: its French inspiration, the staple baguette sandwich.”
Though perhaps more popular in the south, you can find these excellent baguette-based sandwiches throughout Hanoi. In fact, Chào is going to eat one now. God bless the banh mi and all who eat her!