On a recent and literal Shop ’til you Drop session, we needed to go somewhere to refuel and I’ve been wanting to try Time Banhmi since it opened. Time Banhmi is a healthy alternative to other sandwich bars on the Newcastle High Streets and offers a small variety of fillings as Vietnamese sandwiches Bánh mì, tofu vegetarian options bánh mì chay or with rice depending how hungry you are! Today, 8th February is Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year and considered as the first day of spring (I’ll go with that!)
Time Banhmi was decorated for the New Year when I went, with the cherry blossom taking pride of place in the centre of the bright and airy room. It’s tradition to prepare for the New Year by cleaning the house, although it is unlucky xui to sweep during the actual celebrations. The New Year, this year being the year of the monkey, is celebrated by eating delicious and traditional foods.
We had two bánh mì; the Happy Chicken and the BBQ Pork with a portion of fresh spring rolls. Bánh mì, simply translating to as ‘bread’ or ‘baguette’ is a Vietnamese dish and a product of the French Colony but with Vietnamese ingredients. That’s why bread is common in Vietnam compared to their other South-East Asia neighbours like Thailand, where they don’t eat a lot of it.
I was quite overwhelmed when I saw size of the sandwich as I didn’t think I was too hungry however the bread was so soft and the fillings were so light, as is often the case, that I ate the whole lot and was feeling pleasantly full but not heavy. I could continue to try on clothes with minimal bloat!
Cà phê sữa đá.
Another Vietnamese product of the French Colony is their Vietnamese Coffee, served at Time Banhmi. Cà phê sữa đá was introduced into Vietnam by a single Arabica tree by a French priest in 1857, and now Vietnam is one of the biggest places for coffee plantations. Vietnamese coffee is brewed in individual cups through a French Drip filter cà phê phil over sweetened condensed milk. You really don’t need to add any extras, like sugar or more milk, as you stir the ingredients together once the cà phê phin has finished dripping.
My visit to a simple sandwich bar in Newcastle has now inspired me to go to Vietnam some time in the future. I think this is definitely the case for many of their customers as they recently posted their guide to Vietnam on their Facebook page. Have you been to Vietnam?
123 Grainger St, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5AE
Chúc mừng năm mới!