Revisiting Xu Hue for Banh Mi Dac Biet

Busy, busy, busy.

I felt so under the gun these days at work these past few days it’s not even funny. So, here I am sitting down in front of the computer at home and trying to write this blog post … you know, trying to think of an interesting angle to write this post to entertain you folks but I just can’t think of anything.

Frankly I am in a direct and confrontational mood. For the first time on this blog, I marked someone as a spammer today. What that means is that any further comments from that individual goes direct to the spam folder. [Sorry about that buddy, you know who you are]. My fuse is short right now and when things get a little calmer this weekend, I’ll probably be able to think straighter and deal with the issue in a more diplomatic way.

You see, I had been getting to the office by 5:30AM everyday. Oh yeah, I am now working Eastern Standard Time because EVERYONE of my project team members are located either in Atlanta, Boston, London or Dublin. I know, almost all of you would still be in bed at 5:30AM. He he he …

So today … after having calls after calls … hammering out lots of emails … ruffling a lot of feathers in the process … and getting my feathers ruffled in return, I was beginning to lose my cool. Especially when I marked the chowtimes reader as a spammer. So, I thought I better go out to decompress and come back later on to battle on.

Yeah … my day today had been rough … real rough.


So I took a drive. Not wanting to think about a new place to go to, I thought I just go back to Xu Hue. I blogged about Xu Hue and the really nice Bun Bo Hue they had just one week ago (blog post here in case you missed that).

In that blog post, Kiki was telling me that I should also try their Banh Mi.

Big deal, I thought right? There are so many banh mi around that what’s so great about this one.


Maybe it is very common, I am not sure. I had always paid more attention to the baguette than the fillings. But Kiki was telling me that Xu Hue makes their Banh Mi the way they do it in the city of Hue. She mentioned two ingredients that Xu Hue has in their Banh Mi that others does not. The first is …


… that Xu Hue has a gravy saucy meat instead of the usual cold cuts.

I like it. It is like stew and it makes the baguette a little bit more moist. It tasted a little bit spicy too which I think must have come from the sauce.


The second ingredient that Kiki pointed out was that they use “rau ram” as the herb in addition to the normal cilantro. I wanted to find out what “rau ram” is.


It turns out that rau ram is laksa leaf. It is a very nice addition. I wish there are more in the Banh Mi.


Well, the Banh Mi price is $3.50 — almost the same price as most Banh Mis around.

Xu Hue call this the Banh Mi Dac Biet. I find it hard to learn all these Vietnamese food names but the word Dac Biet, that I can easily remember. If you are Cantonese, it is easy to remember too. Dac Biet which sounds like Dac Bit (Cantonese to unique or special) actually means “special” in Vietnamese.

So next time you see the word Dac Biet in Vietnamese menu, you remember that you learn it from Ben, OK?

One more thing to add about the Banh Mi. The bun is very crisp. It is just like they bake it in the restaurant. I don’t know if they do that in store but it sure tasted like it. The bun was noticeably warm throughout too.


Together with a small glass of Vietnamese Coffee with condensed milk, it is just only $7. Not bad.

It was a quick break. I wanted to get back to the office. My mind was racing with so many things I still need to do for the day. So after just 15 minutes, I headed back to the office just raring to step on a few more toes before I call it a day. And I did just that.

Take my advice — DON’T BE A PROJECT MANAGER WHEN YOU GROW UP. Sigh … if only it pays as well being a food blogger.

Cafe Xu Hue on Urbanspoon

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. LotusRapper

    Sorry to hear your work is so demanding, and at such uncivilized hours ! I hope your project ends soon, or at least the early morning conference calls. Reminds me of a project I was involved with a few years ago where our contractor was based in Berlin …… oh those weekly conference calls !

    Wow, so that’s what “dac biet” means ….. simply Cantonese for “special”.

    How would you rate this banh mi with those at Tung Hing and Ba Le ?

    1. Ben

      Hi LotusRapper: I would just say so-so. I like the little twist to the banh mi but nothing more than that. That laksa leaf is what I like best but am sure it’s so commonly available that anyone can do it too. Ben

  2. grayelf

    Speaking of working too much, you meant Vietnamese for special right LR? 😉

    1. LotusRapper

      Well as Ben mentioned, “dac biet” in Viet sounds a lot like the Cantonese which sounds like “duc beet”. (no, not duck feet, grin)

  3. fmed

    I think I like this Dark Ben!

  4. Jayda

    I hope you realize how much your blogging is appreciated….. I think I breathlessly await every blog you make now. I have been following your posts for a couple years now and it has almost become a part of my daily routine to check your reviews. I love that I am more knowledgeable not just about food, but about the cultural aspects of food and what it means to the people who create and consume these dishes. You are a large part of Vancouver food culture and your followers are very happy that you take the time to share your thoughts and pictures with us even though it is probably the last thing you must want to do at the end of a long hard day. Merci.

  5. Yan

    Ben, hope you feel better by the time your pick up our reply. I am not even from Vancouver and yet I enjoyed reading your blog each day. I just enjoyed looking at the pics and the way you described and critique each dish.

    So, don’t let a spammer or a bad day at work brings you down. You are doing a good job and there are lots of us making it a routine to read what you write each day!!

  6. liz

    Ditto to all the posts that express our appreciation. Wished for you that banh mi was better than just so-so. I’ve seen that herb before but at the gardening centre it’s call Vietnamese cilantro here. Very easy to grow — like a weed. Need to start another plant indoors from cuttings to over-winter.

  7. agingteen

    Thank you for your food blog. It has become a daily habit, like reading the newspaper every morning but of course chowtimes more entertaining. I like how you put a personal touch to it also…..keep up the good work and yes, I sometimes wonder also after a long day how you still have time to write,respond to our messages and qeustions! Really appreciate it~!

  8. Shmoo

    Hey Ben,

    I hear your pain. Managing projects with distributed teams can be a real aggravation. Take two deep breaths, roll your eyes and growl/sigh when no one’s looking, and then try real hard to be creative about imagining legitimate reasons for whatever lunacy you are facing on the other end of the phone.

    Find your centre, and hopefully you’ll gain a clear picture of why your feathers are getting so ruffled. Hopefully also some idea of how to ruffle the others’ feathers as subtley and/or efficiently as possible.

    It’s so nice for your loyal readers that you centre yourself by updating your blog… 🙂

  9. Marike

    Work is stressful for me now too. I 100% feel your pain. Work is just a process to get a paycheck, don’t let it get to you.

    It’s ok to vent, it’s healthy! =)

    1. LotusRapper

      Hmmm, ok I’ll vent too. Not enjoying work. Need change.

      Whew !

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