Vietnam to change spelling of bánh mì to báhn mì - The Durian - Hanoi's Smelliest News


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Vietnam to change spelling of bánh mì to báhn mì

Ba Đình, Hanoi – In an effort to further expand international tourism arrivals and lure the coveted demographics of foodie bloggers, Instagram influencers and wellness gurus whose noses still smell like Gwyneth Paltrow's bleached anus, Vietnam has announced that, starting immediately, the spelling of bánh mì will be changed to báhn mì.

Phuong Ha, Vice Director of the Tourists' Wants and Tourist Support (TWATS), spoke to The Durian by phone from Banh Mi Ngon in Hoi An, one of the country’s most well-known sandwich shops.

“I’m here explaining to the owner that they’ll have to change their sign and all of their menus,” she said.

“Of course, this will be quite the undertaking for the countless báhn mì vendors nationwide and surely reckons a mighty meaty blow to our collective linguistic heritage, but it must be done - without drawing the anti-vaxxer, Mumsnet demographic out of their chia seed encrusted suburban lairs, we’re way back down the tourism value chain, stuck with pasty teenyboppers who think sporting a bandana and inadvertently creating a sex-tape in a shared dorm with CCTV constitute a spiritual awakening.”

“We’ve already endured so, so many bloggers trying to blag free accommodation in an Old Quarter hostel,” she added, “Just for once it’d be nice to have someone who wanted to pay for things, even if they want to speak to the manager about how fair trade the ice in their cocktail is or whether the mattress is gluten-free.”

Ha shared that she and other TWATS officials have already noticed an uptick in restaurants and bloggers overseas utilising the name báhn mì, instead of bánh mì.

“At first we were very confused,” she went on.

“How could you confuse the German word for ‘train’ with the Vietnamese word for ‘bread’? Some people didn’t even understand the concept of the dish, let alone the spelling. There were restaurants serving bánh mì bowls! There are even recipes for bánh mì tacos! Trời ơi!” she shouted with a hearty laugh that masked the pain of bearing witness to her culture being dismantled and bastardised by an endless horde of bearded, tattooed white men intent on cooking on the internet.

“Of course, we’re very proud of our language – it’s an indispensable part of our culture, albeit one that few visitors bother to learn,” Ha says. “But then we realised that if foreigners piggybacking on our culinary culture couldn’t pronounce the names of our food properly, then it wasn’t spreading a good image for Vietnam and we so badly want foreign tourists to come experience our delicious cuisine and world-class cable cars.”

After much internal debate, the TWATS association decided to propose the spelling change to the central government, and the letter swap was quickly approved.

Prominent American food blogger, part-time YouTuber and full-time shelf-stacker Steve Hickory was ecstatic when he heard the news. “I’m far too busy maintaining my YouTube channel to bother checking the correct spelling of dishes from other countries, and I think my phone autocorrected ‘bánh’ to ‘báhn’ anyway,” he said in an Instagram direct message.

“For me, food is like, y’know, this kinda lens through which we look into another culture, food is just so important to me, but content is king these days – hustling, DM’ing hotels for free rooms and arguing online about layers of cultural authenticity takes time,” continued the human equivalent of the juice that leaks out of garbage bags.

“This will make it so much easier for bloggers like me to mangle foreign names without being flamed on social media and I applaud Vietnam for this ground-breaking move. I hope other countries follow suit – I was just in Mexico and couldn’t spell chilaquiles for the life of me. Like and subscribe!”

At this point it is unclear whether the name change will be enforced for Vietnam’s rich array of lesser-known bánh dishes, including bánh đúc, bánh bao or bánh căn. We might’ve even broken the new rule just by typing that sentence, but thankfully The Durian has a watertight legal team of specially trained pigs who’ve repeatedly demonstrated their ability to devour a jury faster than any judge can sentence us.

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