Banh mi is one of Vietnam’s most famous foods.

But along with banh mi, just about on every corner of Saigon, another dish I kept noticing looked like it had very similar ingredients as a banh mi pate, but instead of golden baguettes stacked into the street food cart, there was a pot of steaming hot sticky rice.

One morning when we were Saigon, I stopped at a portable street food cart to try my first foam box of xoi man.

xoi man
The Xoi Man cart just outside from where I was staying

Just outside of the hotel where I was staying in Saigon, there was a friendly lady who sold xoi man in the morning.

When I arrived, she was actually nearly all the way sold out.

But as soon as I ordered, she smiled and was able to scrape out one last foam box of sticky rice, and top it with all the ingredients.

Luckily, I got her last portion of xoi man for the day.

xoi man
She quickly assembled my foam box of xoi man

As soon as I ordered she added a handful of sticky rice to the bottom of a foam box, and kind of spread it out to make a nice sticky rice foundation.

Then, just like in a banh mi pate sandwich, on went a layer of spreadable pâté (liver paste).

Vietnamese street food
Ready for Vietnamese breakfast!

I’m sure I’m going to forget a couple of the ingredients she sprinkled on, but I’ll try to hit the main ones.

After the sticky rice and pâté, she added a spoon of slightly oily green onions (perhaps stir fried to bring out their flavor), followed by a good amount of julienned pieces of Vietnamese sausage known as cha lua.

To increase the protein meats in this hearty protein breakfast, she then added a few slices of fried Chinese sausage, a half of a boiled quail egg, and a bunch of dry pork floss (I’ve never been a huge fan or pork floss, though my wife loves it).

Vietnamese xoi man
Xoi man

The main difference from banh mi, apart from the starch change, was the addition of a good amount of crispy deep fried shallots added.

Just like eating a bowl of bun moc, the crispy shallots were added generously, and they gave the entire box of xoi man a wonderful fragrance – I could eat crispy fried shallots by the handful – they must be one of the most fragrant things on earth to season food with.

Vietnamese street food
Overall, a pretty good tasty breakfast

Using a spoon, my wife and I shared a single box, the last box of the day of xoi man.

I actually didn’t think I was going to really like it, as I’m not a huge pork floss fan, and I’m not huge on luncheon style meats or smooth sausage.

But even with those ingredients, I was quite pleasantly surprised just how good the xoi man was.

I still wouldn’t want to eat it everyday for breakfast, but I’ll admit, it was very enjoyable. Somehow the soft and crispy meats and the creamy pâté complemented the hot sticky rice remarkably well.

Watch the full video eating xoi man here:

(Or watch it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mCAyNd7HYc)

Conclusion

Xoi man is a popular Vietnamese street food in Saigon, especially common to eat in the morning for breakfast.

It looks nearly identical to banh mi pâté, except instead of all the ingredients filled into a crusty baguette, they are all packed on top of a bed of steamed sticky rice.

While there are some Vietnamese breakfasts I could eat everyday, xoi man is not one of them. Though I did enjoy it for my first try, and I liked the contrast of the hot sticky rice paired with the cool pâté, shreds of Vietnamese sausage, and pork floss.

For a convenient on-the-go street food breakfast in Saigon, give xoi man a try. You’ll find it available all over the place, especially in the morning.

14 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Tristan Quevilly

    2 years ago

    Wow, that’s appetizing !
    Thanks a lot for this article. Food there seems to be awesome ! Your idea of blog is very original !
    I’m actually linging in Colombia, there could be some specialities to spot here as well !
    Best regards from Santa Marta !

  • Alina

    3 years ago

    Interesting blog article! You know There are so many bloggers who don’t put any personality into their posts.

  • Mark Bolton

    4 years ago

    I have been guiding a Vietnamese family around Perth Western Australia for the last fortnight and I learned a lot more about Vietnamese food in that short time than ever before. Primarily that there is a proper authentic way to cook most dishes. Banh Mi might just seem like a simple sandwich but once I tasted a real one in the Farmer Jacks Market in Girraween I realised that this is not the case. I am looking forward to a trip to Vietnam which I will arange in about 6 months. I hope to learn much more so as I can appreciate what I am experiencing. Thankyou for this blog and u tube. It is the first one I have come across with adequate production values. Your photography is actually pretty spectacularly good. Much Obliged to you Sir.

  • Trisha Velarmino – P.S. I’m On My Way

    4 years ago

    I can’t believe I’ve never tried this. I LOVE sticky rice more than I love baguettes. I went for a banh mi and an iced coffee for breakfast and walked around a park in Saigon before. I love how in every nook and corner of Vietnam you’ll meet enthusiastic vendors urging you to try whatever they’re offering. I especially love how they seem so passionate about what they’re selling. I usually go for whatever smells great. It’s interesting what wonders your sense of smell can bring you to. Another great mouth-watering post, Mark!

  • Izy berry

    4 years ago

    This food looks delicious

  • Jason Mullin

    4 years ago

    Always nice to see discover a new Vietnamese dish. I’ve been to Vietnam twice but have yet to spend much time in Saigon. I haven’t spotted this anywhere else. Definitely looks like something I’ll be looking for next time.

  • Hùng

    4 years ago

    Yeah!
    I love your videos. I don’t have time for tourist, I usually watch your videos with this i can “stand tourist”. I love food too so i like it. Thank you!

  • Izy Berry

    4 years ago

    This looks delicious and has everything so tasty

  • Jenn Flo Taylor

    4 years ago

    Yum! That looks really tasty! Although I’d always go for a bahn mi if I had the choice!

  • Jeff

    4 years ago

    This xoi man is interesting! And it had me drooling, really, as I watched your video. Maybe when that day comes that I’ll be able to visit Vietnam, I’ll definitely try that dish! Yayy! Thanks for this post!