What is Banh Mi Chao? A Delicious Vietnamese Street Food You Need to Try!

As someone who loves trying new foods, I was intrigued by the concept of banh mi chao and decided to give it a try. After my first bite, I knew I had discovered a new favorite dish. So, what is banh mi chao?

At its core, banh mi chao is a combination of two classic Vietnamese dishes: banh mi and chao. Banh mi is a type of sandwich that typically consists of a baguette filled with meat, veggies, and condiments. Chao, on the other hand, is a type of rice porridge that is often eaten for breakfast or as comfort food. When combined, these two dishes create a unique and flavorful meal that is perfect for any time of day.

What sets banh mi chao apart from other Vietnamese dishes is the way it is prepared. The rice porridge is cooked until it is thick and creamy, then topped with a variety of meats, vegetables, and sauces. The baguette is sliced and toasted, then used to scoop up the porridge and toppings. The result is a delicious and satisfying meal that is both hearty and flavorful.

History And Definition: What Is Banh Mi Chao? 

History And Definition What Is Banh Mi Chao
History And Definition What Is Banh Mi Chao

Origins of Banh Mi Chao

As a Vietnamese-American, I grew up eating banh mi sandwiches and other Vietnamese dishes. Banh mi chao, however, was not a dish I was familiar with until I visited Vietnam. Banh mi chao originated in Northern Vietnam, specifically in Hanoi, and is a popular street food dish.

The dish is made up of crispy fried bread cubes, stir-fried beef or chicken, and vegetables such as onions, peppers, and mushrooms. The dish is typically served with a fried egg on top and a side of chili sauce. The combination of textures and flavors in banh mi chao makes it a satisfying meal that can be eaten any time of day.

Regional Variations

While banh mi chao originated in Hanoi, it has become popular throughout Vietnam and has even spread to other countries. In Southern Vietnam, banh mi chao is often served with a different type of bread, called banh trang nuong, which is a crispy rice paper that is grilled and topped with stir-fried beef or chicken.

In addition to regional variations, banh mi chao can also be customized to individual tastes. Some people prefer to add more vegetables or different types of meat, while others may prefer to skip the egg or chili sauce.

Overall, banh mi chao is a delicious and versatile dish that has a rich history in Northern Vietnam. Whether you’re in Vietnam or trying it at a Vietnamese restaurant in your hometown, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Ingredients and Preparation

Ingredients and Preparation
Ingredients and Preparation

Key Ingredients

As I researched Banh Mi Chao, I discovered that this Vietnamese dish has a variety of key ingredients. The main ones include:

  • Rice: Banh Mi Chao is made with rice, which is cooked and then pan-fried with eggs.
  • Eggs: The eggs are whisked and then poured over the rice, creating a scrambled egg and rice mixture.
  • Meat: The dish can be made with a variety of meats, including beef, chicken, pork, or seafood.
  • Vegetables: Banh Mi Chao is typically served with a variety of vegetables, such as onions, scallions, and peppers.
  • Sauces: Various sauces are used to add flavor to the dish, such as soy sauce, fish sauce, and chili sauce.

Preparation Techniques

To prepare Banh Mi Chao, I first cooked the rice according to the package instructions. Then, I whisked the eggs and set them aside. Next, I heated a large skillet over medium-high heat and added oil. Once the oil was hot, I added the cooked rice to the skillet and stirred it around until it was evenly distributed.

Then, I poured the whisked eggs over the rice and stirred everything together until the eggs were fully cooked. At this point, I added the meat and vegetables to the skillet and continued to stir everything together until the meat was cooked through and the vegetables were tender.

Finally, I added the sauces to the skillet and stirred everything together until the flavors were well combined. Once everything was cooked, I transferred the Banh Mi Chao to a serving dish and garnished it with additional vegetables and herbs, such as cilantro and basil.

Overall, Banh Mi Chao is a delicious and flavorful Vietnamese dish that can be customized with a variety of ingredients. By following these simple preparation techniques, anyone can make this dish at home and enjoy the delicious flavors of Vietnam.

Serving Suggestions

Serving Suggestions
Serving Suggestions

As someone who has enjoyed banh mi chao for many years, I can tell you that there are a few serving suggestions that can really enhance your experience. Whether you want to stick to traditional accompaniments or try some modern twists, there are plenty of options to suit your tastes.

Traditional Accompaniments

If you want to enjoy banh mi chao in the traditional way, there are a few key ingredients that you should consider adding to your dish. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Pickled Vegetables: These add a nice tangy crunch to your banh mi chao. You can use a mix of carrots, daikon radish, and cucumber, and pickle them in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, and Thai basil are a must-have in banh mi chao. They add a bright, herbal flavor that complements the rich meat and crispy rice.
  • Sriracha Sauce: This hot sauce is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, and it pairs perfectly with banh mi chao. Drizzle it over the top of your dish for a spicy kick.

Modern Twists

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of modern twists that you can try with banh mi chao. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Egg Yolk: Adding a soft-boiled egg yolk to your banh mi chao is a popular twist that adds a rich, creamy texture to the dish.
  • Kimchi: If you’re a fan of Korean cuisine, try adding some kimchi to your banh mi chao. The spicy, sour flavors of the kimchi complement the crispy rice and meat perfectly.
  • Avocado: For a healthier twist, try adding some avocado to your banh mi chao. The creamy texture of the avocado pairs well with the crispy rice, and it adds a nice dose of healthy fats to your meal.

Overall, banh mi chao is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your tastes. Whether you stick to traditional accompaniments or try some modern twists, you’re sure to enjoy this delicious Vietnamese dish.

Where to Find Banh Mi Chao

Where to Find Banh Mi Chao
Where to Find Banh Mi Chao

Restaurants and Food Stalls

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to satisfy your craving for banh mi chao, there are plenty of Vietnamese restaurants and food stalls that serve this delicious dish. Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Pho 95 in Denver, Colorado: This restaurant serves up a hearty bowl of banh mi chao with tender beef, crispy rice, and flavorful broth.
  • Banh Mi Saigon in Houston, Texas: This food stall is known for its crispy banh mi chao topped with succulent pork and fresh herbs.
  • Banh Mi Boys in Toronto, Canada: This restaurant offers a modern twist on traditional Vietnamese cuisine, including a mouthwatering banh mi chao with grilled chicken and pickled vegetables.

Whether you’re on the go or looking for a sit-down meal, there’s sure to be a Vietnamese restaurant or food stall near you that serves banh mi chao.

Making Your Own

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try making banh mi chao at home, it’s surprisingly easy to do. Here’s a simple recipe that I love:


  • 1 pound beef sirloin, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and onion to the skillet and cook until softened about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked rice to the skillet and stir to combine with the beef and onion mixture.
  4. Add the beef broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper to the skillet and stir to combine.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth has been absorbed and the rice is crispy.
  6. Serve the banh mi chao in bowls, topped with green onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Making your own banh mi chao is a great way to experiment with different flavors and ingredients, and it’s a fun way to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills.


After researching and tasting Banh Mi Chao, I can confidently say that it is a delicious and unique Vietnamese dish that is worth trying. The combination of crispy fried rice, tender meat, and flavorful vegetables creates a satisfying and fulfilling meal.

One of the things that stood out to me about Banh Mi Chao is its versatility. You can customize it to your liking by choosing different meats, vegetables, and sauces. This makes it a great option for people with different dietary preferences.

Another aspect that I appreciated about Banh Mi Chao is its affordability. It is a relatively inexpensive dish that can be found in many Vietnamese restaurants and food stalls. This makes it accessible to a wide range of people.

Overall, I highly recommend trying Banh Mi Chao if you get a chance. It is a delicious and satisfying dish that is sure to please your taste buds. Hopefully, after reading this article, you can already know what is banh mi chao.

About Yen Le

Welcome to Bunker Vietnamese, a website dedicated to exploring the diverse world of Vietnamese cuisine. As a proud Vietnamese-American, my passion for cooking and sharing my cultural heritage has led me to create this platform. Join me on this culinary journey and discover the vibrant flavors and textures that make Vietnamese food so unique and delicious.

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