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Falafel vegetarian banh mi in Saigon

Publish 13 Jan 2016 , source Vietnamnet

Falafel, a popular food made from beans and vegetables in the world, has recently been brought to town by local yoga instructor Sophia Pham.

Falafel vegetarian banh mi in Saigon

Falafel is one of the most popular street foods in the U.S. According to Sophia Pham,  she is not a vegetarian but she prefers eating vegetables and fruits.

She once met an Indian yoga instructor in the U.S. who introduced the recipe of the dish to her. The delicious and nutritious food without meat and energy-dense ingredients won her heart immediately. Sophia Pham started a small mobile booth called Lesante (which means health in English) at 155 Bui Vien Street in HCMC’s District 1 to sell this food to health-conscious locals.

Falafel consists of chickpea, a kind of bean imported from the Netherlands, olive oil and other ingredients. Sophia Pham grinds chickpea and mixes it with other ingredients and chili. Then, she makes balls that are bigger than limes, and fries them in cooking oil.

A highlight is that Sophia puts the stuffing into banh mi (Vietnamese-style bread) instead of between sandwiches. Other ingredients are cucumber, red amaranth, carrot, tomato, and cabbage, and unique hummus and tahini sauces for vegetarians.

Gourmets can feel the crispy bread cover and the delicious smell and nutty flavor of beans mingled with chili and fresh taste of vegetables and sauces. Although the bread looks big, gourmets don’t feel full as it contains no meat.

Since its opening Lasante has attracted a lot of customers.

The booth also sells bread with grilled chicken, pork, pate, pork paste and ham.

Sophia Pham expects to expand Lasante into a bread store chain in Saigon with Falafel vegetarian bread to be chosen as a signature food.

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