Updated 05-16-11. Vietnamese bánh mì is not pho, of course, but I get inquiries about it so here are the pronunciations for various bánh mì types. By the way, it is spelled bánh mì (banh mi) and never bahn mi as you may see around the Internet. “Bahn mi” is an incorrect spelling.
Vietnamese bánh mì or banh mi has two main meanings. One, banh mi in general means a loaf/slice/piece of bread, most often related to the French baguette, but banh mi can also be used to describe sliced bread and other breads. It basically means bread of any kind. Two, banh mi refers to the bread stuffed with a variety of meats and Viet pickles. It is what most North Americans know as the submarine sandwich. In a Viet sandwich shop, you can buy not only the whole baguette banh mi, but also order the bread stuffed with meat sub sandwich kind of banh mi.
“Bánh” itself really has several meanings, but in this context it means any flour-, rice- or wheat-based food that is baked, cooked, or steamed (bánh ngọt means sweet cake, bánh bao means ball-shaped steamed dumpling, bánh chưng means rice cake, etc.) “Mì” also has several meanings (one of which is egg noodle) but in this context it means bột mì or wheat flour.
For a more detailed story on Vietnamese Banh Mi, head on over to read Andrea Nguyen’s post on banh mi, “Master Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe.”
Pronounce: Various types of Vietnamese bánh mì.
- Bánh mì gà (banh mi with grilled chicken.) Southern accent then Northern accent.
- Bánh mì trứng (banh mi with egg-omelette style.) Southern accent then Northern accent.
- Bánh mì bì (banh mi with shredded pork.) Southern accent then Northern accent.
- Bánh mì thịt nướng (banh mi with grilled pork.) Southern accent then Northern accent.
- Bánh mì xiú mại (banh mi with pork meatballs.) Southern accent then Northern accent.
- Bánh mì thịt nguội (banh mi with cold cuts-cured pork & pork roll.) Southern accent then Northern accent.
- Tôi muốn ổ bánh mì chay (I would like a vegan sandwich, please.) Southern accent then Northern accent.
Thanks to Christian Belanger and Jim Fung for the request for the audio files.
If you have another type of banh mi you’d like to hear, please drop a request in the comment below. Okay this is a pho blog, so please take a poll below.