Vietnamese Bánh mì
After spending 6 months huddled in our apartment, hiding from the harsh Canadian winter, arriving in Vietnam felt like a dream. A beautiful dream highlighted by early morning sunrises, warm temperatures, lush greenery, and best of all, amazing food. Vietnamese cuisine has always been a favorite of ours, and getting a chance to try it at it's most authentic was incredible.

Nothing can quite compare to starting your day with a bowl of steaming Pho, noodle soup with beef and fragrant herbs, washed back with some fresh squeezed passion fruit juice. The little open-air restaurants that are scattered along the coast provide bountiful arrays of seafood, and a whole crab dressed with lemongrass, or a perfectly cooked and marinated catfish will set you back about $6.
Good for you, and your wallet.

However, among this rainbow smorgasbord of flavor, one dish stands out as the true representation of Vietnamese food culture.
Banh Mi.

Banh Mi is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread, but here it is synonymous with the famous Vietnamese sandwich. Bread was introduced to Vietnam by the French, and some say the people here have not only learned to make it well, but have surpassed their teachers in the process. These crusty rice flour baguettes are split open and filled with sliced meats, pate, pickled vegetables & herbs, and are often served for breakfast, or from little carts in the street. Banh Mi can have many variations, using pork, chicken, duck, tofu, meatballs and even sardines.

Our favorite is the classic and most common style, made with ground pork, cold cuts and plenty of veggies.
You will need.

Pickled Veggies
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar or Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Julienned Carrot
  • 1/2 cup Julienned Daikon Radish
  • 1/2 cup Thinly Sliced Zucchini
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seed
  • Salt

Ground Pork Mixture
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Onion
  • 1 tsp Crushed Garlic
  • 8 ounces of Ground Pork
  • 1 Tbsp Asian Roast Pork Seasoning Mix (this should contain salt, so be careful when seasoning)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper

The Sandwiches  
  • 4 10-inch Crusty Baguettes (preferably rice flour)
  • Mayonnaise
  • 8 slices Vietnamese-style Pork Roll (cha lua), or Bologna
  • 8 slices Salami, Ham or Turkey
  • 4 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves and Stems
  • 1/2 a Cucumber, cut lengthwise into slices
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Asian-style Chili Oil or Sweet Chili, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Make your pickled vegetables. In a small pot, combine the water, sugar, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Transfer the vinegar mixture to a bowl and let it cool for an hour or so. Next, add the carrot, zucchini, daikon and coriander seeds and mix well. Season to taste with salt and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

While your waiting for your veggies, make your ground pork mixture: Heat the oil in small nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, stirring all the time. Add the pork and remaining spices and cook for around 5 minutes, or until meat is cooked. Take it off the stove and set aside covered with foil to keep warm.

Now the best part, building your Bahn Mi.
Preheat oven to about 350 degrees F. Slice the baguettes open lengthwise, and spread with plenty of mayonnaise. We prefer the Japanese style mayonnaise, but a normal one will work great if you can't find any. Arrange the baguettes on a baking sheet and bake for around five minutes, until steaming hot and crusty. Remove the baguettes from the oven and fill each with a few spoonfuls of your spices pork mix. Next, arrange a few slices of the pork roll and salami (don't be stingy), 1 teaspoon soy sauce, a few sprigs of cilantro slice of cucumber, some fresh ground pepper, and chili oil. Pile on some pickled veggies and you're ready to go.
Enjoy while the bread is still warm.

As with all my recipes, experimentation is always encouraged. Change up the meats, using some slow roast belly pork in place of the ground variety. Pickle some different veg, spread with a nice chicken liver pate, and add some holy basil to the mix. With Bahn Mi, as long as you have some nice bread and lots of delicious fillings, your going to come out on top.

Chúc ngon miệng!!

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