Celebrating Banh Mi – Today’s Doodle celebrates the savory and satisfying Vietnamese street-food sandwich known as bánh mì, a smorgasbord of flavors that represents a true melting pot of cultures and ingredients alike. On this day in 2011, bánh mì was admitted into the Oxford English Dictionary.
Some accounts posit bánh mì’s humble beginnings in the late 1950s street stalls of Saigon’s noisy alleys, but an official origin story is yet to be verified. What is universally accepted about bánh mi’s history: its French inspiration, the staple baguette sandwich.
A traditional bánh mì consists of crispy and airy bread packed with a meat of choice (such as pork pâté, giò lụa, Vietnamese cold cuts, or meatballs), sweet, crunchy veggies and herbs (pickled radishes, carrots, and cilantro), a spread of mayonnaise or margarine, and savory soy sauce, finally topped with chili sauce or peppers. Voilà! By replacing European flavors with Vietnamese ingredients, a tangy and sweet while simultaneously spicy and salty takeaway food was born.
In current times, one can find countless spin-offs of the sandwich in street stands, markets, and restaurants across the world, from New York, to Seoul, to Saigon. Koreans often enjoy bánh mì’s stuffed with their signature bulgogi (barbeque beef) and kimchi. In the U.S., many popular recipes have traded the baguette with a brioche bun to create a miniaturized version: bánh mì sliders.
No matter the variation, you can relish the taste of cultures coming together!
Doodler Q&A with Olivia Huynh
Today’s Doodle was created by Doodler Olivia Huynh.
Below, she shares some thoughts on the making of the Doodle:
Q: What was it like to get to work on this Doodle?
A: We rarely do Doodles for food (Foodles) so I felt very honored, not only to do one, but to do one for a food that’s beloved by so many people, myself included. I think we usually try to pick topics that will bring more awareness to a subject, but it’s also important to show appreciation for something like bánh mì, which is well known and a staple to many.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: Many people helped make this Doodle and contributed to the idea, especially our local market experts. Much of the inspiration came from food cart vendors, how fast they can put everything together, and how good every ingredient is individually.
Personally I think food is such a nice topic, because it’s woven into everyday memories. It doesn’t usually make you think of just one big event, and it exists through many generations. For me it’s a part of many very simple, but happy memories of eating with my family. I tried to bring that feeling into the color and overall tone.
Q: What was your creative approach for this Doodle? Why did you choose this approach?
A: The style is actually somewhat based on my teammate Diana Tran’s early 3D prototypes, which I thought were really fun. We explored using them in the Doodle, but the file size was a big issue, and we decided it would be better to focus more on the animation.
Q: What message do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A: I hope the Doodle will bring some gratitude to street food vendors and chefs who make them daily, and that many more people will enjoy one. The entire time I worked on this Doodle I was hungry and craving bánh mì. Even though I ate several over the course of working on this, and every time I did, I felt like I found a new appreciation.
Early concepts and sketches of the Doodle
You can find more about Celebrating Banh Mi on the official Google Doodle Page