03/10/2012 BM#12 – BaBa
Filling: 3.5/5 (BBQ Chicken)
The South Melbourne (now Sydney) Swans had just won the AFL Grand Final, the largest annual single-day sporting event in the country and I was ecstatic by this result. The next day I made a trip to South Melbourne and it was amazing to see all the loyal supporters of the club wearing red and white (Swans’ colours) in the streets, on the way to the suburb’s well known market. I always love going to the market, there is a real buzz that comes with the experience, the celebratory atmosphere carrying on from the previous day making it even greater.
Having not touched a bánh mì in over two months I had been getting cravings and seeing people chomping on torpedo shaped salad rolls got me excited that there might be a new bakery. The sign of BaBa, a Vietnamese store at the market, confirmed my day’s lunch. Chicken kafir lime, an unfamiliar option to me, would be my choice and it certainly looked appetising through the glass window. I nearly stopped the woman, putting coleslaw into my roll after I asked for Vietnamese salad, but this turned out to be the BaBa staple. Absolutely packed with salad, the coleslaw worked well with the ingredients, especially the lime flavour of the chicken. Uncommonly, the meat filling was almost overpowered by the mass of salad and it was very soft, with a texture similar to tofu, but was still quite nice. Another overload in this bánh mì was the dressing, rich in flavour and literally seeping out of the roll to form a pond at the bottom of the paper bag. By the end of my feed, the bread – which was as per usual – was a soggy mess and I struggled to avoid an accident with the dripping juices. It is hard for any food joint at the market to compete with the delightful deep-fried specialties of South Melbourne Dim Sims, but BaBa offers a tasty alternative with their bánh mì.