Banh Mi is just the Vietnamese word for bread. But for most of us, we all associate the word with delicious Vietnamese bread rolls. I think Banh Mi has become a huge sensation in the West, so much so that there are now fancy joints out there selling ‘Banh Mi’. I remember when as a young kid having Banh Mi and all the other non-Asian kids steering clear of the foreign food. Things have changed. In Melbourne, there is at least one joint in each suburb selling ‘Banh Mi’ now. Good and bad.
To be a Banh Mi, the bread has to be a crunchy baguette with Vietnamese mayonnaise, pate, picked carrot, spring onions, chili and your choice of meat or vegetarian option. Banh Mi has become iconic for its typically good value and taste. To be honest, I think the Vietnamese took the classic French baguette and innovated it into something heaps better.
Springvale is the home of so many good Vietnamese restaurants and eateries. I could spend a long time just talking about how great the food choices are in this suburb. I don’t think any other suburb in Melbourne can compete with the awesome array of Vietnamese cuisine at Springvale, except maybe the CBD. So if you are in Melbourne and want cheap and delicious food, you need to head to Springvale.
The competition on Banh Mi is fierce in Springvale, but I think there are a few clear standouts. I think, if the crowd and constant queues are anything to go by, the winner is Bun Bun Bakery. Every time I walk past it, there is either a queue or at least someone ordering at the counter.
The ordering process is mostly smooth. You choose your Banh Mi from the food menu and they will ask you if you want chili. This is your chance to customize it slightly to your liking, e.g. you can say no spring onion and no chili. But I think you’d be silly if you didn’t have the whole lot, it’s the way its meant to be eaten.
The most popular Banh Mi appear to be the Roast Pork, Roasted Chicken and the Mixed Ham Banh Mi. You can order dinner rolls and other baked goods, but you need to order a Banh Mi if you are visiting. (Seriously, if you are visiting from afar, I hope you aren’t here just for cheap, delicious dinner rolls.)
The best places to visit are the busy ones, because you know they are bound to be good, particularly long established businesses like Bun Bun Bakery. Don’t ever mind the mess, the slightly messy Asian kitchen is a good sign. See the photo below.
The price is not advertised, but the Banh Mi range from AUD$5 to AUD$8. The Roast Pork being the most expensive.
I ordered their Roast Pork Banh Mi (and this is probably my 30th or so). The Banh Mi is constantly good. I love the tender pork and the crunchy pork crackling, baguette, carrot and cucumber. It’s a bundle of deliciousness. It’s so worth the price and can be eaten on the run or walk.
Bun Bun Bakery is located on the main road at 1/288 Springvale Rd, Springvale VIC 3171 and can be reached by walking about 8 minutes from Springvale Train Station:
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