Is Bánh Mì the New Big Mac?

Take a break from the Cam­pus Center and head out into Orlando for new flavors and experiences. There is a wealth of food and diversity mere min­utes from the Rollins campus.

When you leave school, take a left onto Fairbanks, then veer left onto Orlando, which turns into Mills; in less than four miles, you will run into E. Co­lonial. On the corner of E. Colo­nial and N. Mills sits Ánh Hông Restaurant. Parking is available on the street and in a parking lot in the rear.

Voted “Best of Cheap Eats” by citysearch.com, Ánh Hông Restaurant offers a selection of delicious Vietnamese fare rang­ing in price from $2.50 to $15. The cheapest item on the menu is Gỏi Cuốn, a spring roll with vermicelli rice noodles, lettuce, basil, green onions and your choice of tofu, shrimp or pork. The “mixed salad roll,” as it literally translates to, is tight­ly wrapped in rice paper and served with a mixture of peanut butter and hoisin sauce. It is de­licious, light and refreshing. Eat one for an appetizer or two or three for a quick lunch or light dinner.

From my many experiences at Ánh Hông, I have chosen a couple of favorite dishes – #17, #53 and #97. Number 17 is a bánh mì, one of, if not the, most delicious sandwiches I have ever had. It all begins with a French baguette, crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft on the in­side. Split down the middle and pried open into a pocket, the baguette is smeared with a light layer of mayonnaise and then filled with grilled pork; a cu­ cumber spear; jalapeños; shred­ded, pickled carrot, daikon, and onion; and topped with sprigs of fresh cilantro. When you take a bite into this sandwich, your taste buds go crazy. There is the crisp of the fresh baguette, the tender, juicy pork slices paired with the tangy pickled veg­etables, the hot spice from the jalapeños, and lastly the fresh sprigs of cilantro. Number 17 is my favorite, and easy on the pocketbook at $3.50, but there is a whole list of bánh mìs in Ánh Hông’s extensive menu. There are vegetarian ones, ones filled with liver pâté, with seared tofu, ham; the list goes on.

On cold days, #53 is my favorite. It is vegetarian phở, a large bowl filled with beef broth, spices, vermicelli rice noodles, a heap of vegetables, seared tofu, and served with a plate of lime slices, bean sprouts and basil sprigs. You will not believe the wonderful spices and flavors in this soup until you try it. As with the bánh mì, phở is also available in several different op­tions – with vegetarian broth, grilled pork, meatballs and even without vegetables.

For those new to Vietnam­ese cuisine who want something more familiar, Ánh Hông offers simple noodle dishes, stir fried dishes, and rice platters such as #97 with a seared pork chop; a rice ball; a fried egg; a slice of pate; a small salad of lettuce, cu­cumbers, tomato, and a picked medley of carrots, daikon and onion; and a side dish of fish sauce.

Brittani Samuels ’13 com­mented, “I have never been to a Vietnamese restaurant before and my first experience at Ánh Hông was delightful. I had their shrimp fried rice and I could taste a unique and pleasant dif­ference from Chinese shrimp fried rice.”

Try something new; Taste the world around you. You might find a new favorite meal.

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