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Banh-Mi Vietnamese Asian Street Food. 2 people with a passion for Asian food in the heart of Malta!

We talked to Jeremy and Emily about the journey that led to creating Banh-Mi, their love of food and their plan for the future.


Ever since we tried their food for the first time, Banh Mi has become one of our top favourite spots for Asian food (and believe us, there are a lot of Asian food places). The food is delicious, authentic, and affordable!


In our latest interview, we speak to Maltese chef Jeremy Borg and his wife Emily, founders of Banh Mi. They tell us how the concept started, about their love of food and also their plans for the future!


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Tell us a bit about yourselves.


[Jeremy] We’re Jeremy and Emily, the couple behind Banh Mi 🙂 We met 6 years ago when Emily moved to Malta to work as a web designer. It kind of took us by storm, and we’ve been together ever since. We married last year and had 2 beautiful ceremonies in Vietnam and Malta.


[Emily] We work together in almost every aspect of the business. I understand Vietnamese food culture and how we integrate different spices and herbs into our cooking. However, I was very green to the catering business while Jeremy has been working in the kitchen for over a decade. I’m learning new things daily, and he’s been a great teacher.


Since I’m more comfortable with computer work, I take care of our front house, customers, daily accounting, design and our online presence. Jeremy is in charge of every aspect of the kitchen from suppliers, and workflow to employees, etc.


How did Banh-Mi get started? Why did you start it?


[Emily] Since the very beginning of our relationship, Jeremy shared with me his dream of opening a restaurant serving something different in Malta. He’s been searching for something ethnically unique to introduce to Malta’s food scene.


On the other hand, I always cook Vietnamese food at home. For me, they are easy, quick, and tasty and I just adore the combination of flavours. The first thing I made for him was the Vietnamese spring rolls, and he LOVED it!


[Jeremy] Our first trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to visit Emily’s family opened the door to a new type of cuisine for me. Seeing stands of Bánh-Mì (Vietnamese baguette) on every corner of the city struck us with the idea of opening a food truck serving Vietnamese street food in Malta.


Everything came together when we found our green vintage Citroen truck. Together, we have been rolling on our mission to fulfil the desires of food lovers ever since.


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How did Jeremy learn how to cook Vietnamese cuisine?


[Jeremy] I’ve been a professional chef for 15 years. When I was in Vietnam for the first time, I had high expectations for the food, and I was not disappointed. When I had the first bite of my first Banh-Mi ever, I absolutely fell in love and told myself I have to learn this.


So for the rest of my holiday, I spent working in a bakery next to Emily mom’s house. Luckily, Vietnamese food has some French influences which helped me pick up the cuisine faster.


[Emily] I gave him the recipes! I’ve been living abroad by myself for almost 10 years, so I learnt to cook a lot of Vietnamese food to satisfy my cravings. I used to have countless video calls with my mom asking for recipes.


Sometimes, she would watch me cook through Skype and guide me step by step to ensure I got the techniques right. When we were dating, I cooked Vietnamese food for us most of the time.


Jeremy would help and learn the way we combine different ingredients and herbs. He taught me a lot about cooking, too. He would explain the science and the reason for making things a certain way, and very often shows me tricks to get the most flavour out of an ingredient.


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If someone had to go to Banh-Mi for ONE dish, what would it be?


[Jeremy] It’s a tough one. We usually recommend it according to personal taste. However, our best sellers are steamed buns (Banh Bao). The buns are handmade, and we do it in a special way that is more time-consuming, but the results are very soft buns. On average, we sell about 500 buns a week. They are on our Fixed Menu to be served daily, so you will always find them at the shop.


[Emily] Then we have our Daily Specials Menu that we change daily with beloved dishes from all over Asia. If you’d like to try something special, I’d recommend an item from here.


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What makes Banh-Mi taste so good? What is particular about Vietnamese food?


[Jeremy] The cuisine is a mix of 2 giant culinary cultures: French and China. On the other hand, the most peculiar thing about Vietnamese food is that they use a lot of fresh herbs. Combined together, they offer an incredible experience for all of your senses: taste, texture, aroma and colourful appearance.


You started out as a food truck and now have a fixed location. What led to the change?


[Jeremy] The truck was a great starting point for us, but soon we outgrew the little van. On the van, we didn’t have enough storage space to supply the ever-increasing demand. It was a sign that we need to expand, hence we have the shop now.


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Any plans for Banh-Mi in the future?

[Emily] The future is bright! We have a book full of ideas for new dishes to make, some of them are popular dishes from Asia, and some of them are our own creations. For example, we introduced our Baoger recently as a marriage of the popular burger and our famous soft steamed buns, with homemade beef and ginger patty and homemade peanut sauce.


It’s just the first step, we have a lot more ideas about where it comes from! Later this year, we’re opening a juice bar in Sliema serving healthy smoothies, juices and more. The green van will be back on the road right in front of the juice bar as the kitchen, serving our delicious Vietnamese and Asian food.


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