Vietnam Vlog Bite #6: Ba Đình, Bánh Mì, Bánh Gối & Bottomless Coconuts!

Ba Đình is the commercial and political centre of Hanoi, Vietnam. Formerly called the “French Quarter”, it is home to embassies and government offices that hug the larger main streets. But tucked into the honeycomb of alleyways that branch off the main thoroughfares are smaller wood shops, fruit stands, and food stalls offering all manner of fried and frozen treats!

Our plan was to try Bánh Mì, Bánh Gối and what I have fondly nicknamed “Bottomless Coconuts” from the Ba Đình District:


Bánh Mì: is the Vietnamese word for bread — or more specifically the baguette — which was introduced by the French during the colonial period in Vietnam. The main ingredients are toasted bread, coriander and mint leaves, pickled cucumber, pâté, pickled carrot and daikon radish, and your choice of chicken or pork. It’s a favourite Vietnamese meal, best eaten for breakfast and before a long day of walking.

Bánh Gối: translates as “pillow cake” and rightly so! It is a fried pie (much like an empanada) stuffed with pork, sausage, mushrooms, glass noodles, carrots and boiled quail eggs. It is a must try Vietnamese comfort food! Commuters on the way home often eat it as a pre-dinner snack.

Kem Trái Dừa or “Bottomless Coconuts”: A coconut shell filled with sticky rice, coconut and green rice ice-cream, dried coconut, freshly grated coconut and cherries…**sigh** Need I say more?

We closed the day by stepping into a time capsule at the Baocap Café. Bao Cap was the system of budget subsidies in place between 1975 and 1986 where economic activity took place under a planned economy. The private sector was gradually eliminated, giving way to the state-led economy and a population beholden to a state-run ration system. The café, not surprisingly, featured mostly re-purposed or vintage pieces from that time. Here we drank Chanh Tuyết which roughly translates as “lemon snow.”….I like that. Do you?

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

As always, thank you for reading and watching! 😀


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