Is Pâté in Bánh mì standard or not?

I’ve not been to Vietnam but I’ve had bánh mì in places as diverse as Boston, Kuala Lumpur, and a large number of times in my home town of London. I always have pork bánh mi and it’s always come with pâté. For me it’s essential.
There has been a spate of new Vietnamese places opening recently and having bánh mì as an option. I have enquired if the bánh mi has pâté on it and they look at me as if I’ve asked a really stupid question. So are these new places just jumping on the bandwagon and and don’t really know what bánh mì should be or am I wrong to expect pâté?

It absolutely should have a paté or pork spread. The sandwich origin is French, from when the French colonized Vietnam, so the bread and paté are original ingredients.

IMHO a pate,liver spread is essential to the Banh Mi’s kind of funky,savory taste…after patronizing a number of Vietnamese bakeries and Banh Mi purveyors on Philly’s excellent Washington Ave, I have yet to have been served one without a liver spread component.

Yes. Also, Vietnamese patê is a bit “different”. You’ll find that it’s not easy to get the real recipe. The same can be said about Vietnamese butter (or is it “mayonaise”?).

A couple of times I brought back with me, in a Coleman cooler with some ice cubes, vacuum sealed packages of Vietnamese patê. Flying direct the patê survives 12hr flights just fine. (in the good old days before 9/11 of course)

Renowned cookbook author Andrea Nguyen published The Banh Mi Handbook over a year ago. She’ll tell you that you’re welcome to put pate’ on the sandwich but there are many other things that are great. Just sayin’.

Here’s the latest from her blog:

I remember the meat they mainly use slided “Chả lụa” or Vietnamese mortadelle. I have tasted several times in Ho Chi Ming City, I think each stall has their own recipe. some times can be a paste like meat. Since I speak no Vietnamese I only pointed to tell I want which type of meat, most of the time, not sure what they were serving me, but all were delicious.

As an aside, no one that we were around for the ten days there, referred to ‘it’ as anything other than Sai-gon. Just sayin’.

I almost always get the classic cold cut banh me over the BBQ pork one, but in my experience pate is always served on the cold cut banh me but usually not on the bbq meat ones.

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This is my experience–yes with combination/dac biet/cold cut banh mi, not so much on others.

True, we actually asked the locals there, they would like to have the name back to Saigon officially one day.

Even the BBQ mostly pork or chicken, the meat were served cold with a dash of fish sauce “nouc-mâm” et Maggi seasoning sauce. We were impressed with the bread too, they are crispy on the outside just like a French baguette, given the fact that Vietnam is very humid. I didn’t remember eating a hot sandwich, but we were there in summer.

agreed. pate on a banh mi with hot beef, chicken etc. would not work, especially with the highly seasoned flavors for these fillings. my understanding is the cold cut “special” banh mi is saigon style, and the pate is de riguer.
funny. sometimes i would be at a vietnamese place serving banh mi…i ask what is in the special banh mi and if they tell me it’s ham sandwich, then i know t
o order it. :smile:

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