Bánh Mì Chili Dog – 260 of 365

Banh Mi Chili Dog

On my all too frequent trips to the airport, a place called Banh Mi Bistro at 76 Vo Thi Sau Street in District 1 has made me more curious every time I drive by.  Large signs out front advertise hot dogs and more and these pictorial displays of American gut bombs bombarding the neighborhood seem so out of place amongst more proper Vietnamese foods such as fertile duck eggs and congealed pig blood.

A friend and I had been talking about how we inexplicably miss hot dogs though we rarely would ever touch one in our former lives Stateside.  Curiosity finally got the better of me and I just had to bite.   Now let me preface this by first off saying that my tastebuds are very much out of practice with western foods.  This project of 365 meals one bite at a time has weaned me off America’s finest and deep into the depths of foods I never dreamed I would consume.

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Ordering the hot dog in Vietnamese was a breeze and I thought how ironic that I was could so effortlessly order American junk food so effortlessly.  Then again slapping the Vietnamese word for “one” in front of the bilingual “chili dog” really does not tax the brain a whole lot.  But the girl at the register was impressed enough that she asked me something in Vietnamese fully incomprehensible to me.  Since I did not see any type of deep fryer I don’t think this was “Do you want fries with that?”  I guessed properly she wanted to know if this was for here or to go.  If only she knew this was all just dumb luck based on what fast food transactions have taught me.  See, I guess late night runs to Taco Bell pay off in the end.

The much anticipated moment finally arrived.  This cylinder of pig guts was far from one of those all beef Hebrew National hot dogs back home that have been blessed by a rabbi.  Actually, the rabbi would probably flip this one off with two middle fingers.  I could tell just by looking at it that only the finest of pig parts came together to form this one through some fancy factory injection molding.

The texture was suspiciously close to one of those super nasty pink hot dogs we all enjoy at the ballpark.  It even had that strange sponginess and chemical aftertaste so important in a hot dog.  So far this one was off to a good start in terms of matching America’s finest.  Now the chili was another story as it tasted more like a spaghetti sauce with meat.  That’s ok though.  The squirt of mustard across the length of the dog added a bit of authenticity.   And I did enjoy the toasted roll.

One thing is the same though on either side of the Pacific.  I felt guilty for consuming such a huge amount of empty calories and repented with a two hour walk afterwards.  As I wandered past all sorts of tantalizing street food I realized how little I miss American food such as chili dogs afterall.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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