Not to mention the increasing number of stiff Chinese restaurants in the Tokyo area.
Those who live in conservative residential areas may not realize it, but in areas where residential and commercial areas are mixed together, there is an increase in the number of relentless, hard-core Chinese who have no regard for Japanese customers in the first place.
On the other hand, Vietnamese restaurants are slowly and steadily gaining strength. Perhaps due to their national characteristics, Vietnamese restaurants do not have flashy signboards and prominent locations like Chinese restaurants, and most are located in unassuming places such as the second floor of a small building.
And I have started to see a few stores selling Vietnamese groceries here and there. Since we live in such an environment, it would be nice to have more Vietnamese food on our own cooking table. It’s easy to get the ingredients.
When it comes to Vietnamese restaurants, it is almost a must to deal in pho. This is delicious, but not by any stretch of the imagination. If you are used to gutsy noodle + soup dishes like Japanese ramen, Vietnamese pho is a gentle taste, with few eye-opening surprises.
But what is surprising is how good the bahn mi is.
Whether it is my imagination or not, there are many places that serve good “bain mi” (steamed rice).
A báinh mì is a Vietnamese-style sandwich consisting of vegetables sandwiched between two baguettes. The sandwich is said to be a remnant of Vietnam’s history as a French colony, but the sandwich is truly Vietnamese, with crunchy vegetables and other vegetables sandwiched between the baguette. It is an impressive fusion of cultures.
I’m not sure why the bahn mi is so good in Japan. It is very difficult to import baguettes frozen from Vietnam, so I assume that the baguettes are made in Japan. However, the baguettes at all the bahn mi I tried were crispy, savory, and delicious. The crispiness of the baguette and the volume of the vegetables mixed together in a very good way.
This time, I ate it at a bahn mi restaurant in Kuramae without any prior knowledge, but I thought it was delicious.
The báinh mì by itself was 780 yen. At 780 yen for this amount of vegetables and satisfying taste, I prefer it to buying a hamburger at a major fast food restaurant.