Have you ever had a new food experience that was love at first bite? Banh Mi was one of those moments for me. The combination of flavors and textures blew my mind. Growing up in a small town where the most exotic cuisine was American Chinese or pizza it wasn't until I began working in a restaurant that the world of food opened up to me. I remember with distinction when my fondness for Vietnamese food in particular began. In college a friend from Taiwan introduced me to a hole in the wall Pho restaurant on Newbury Street. The soup was so unique yet comforting and delicious and the fresh spring rolls where an entirely new concept to me. When I left that night I was changed forever and a love of discovering new foods was born.
The Banh Mi sandwich sounds like nothing spectacular but it is an art form. A shop serving little else opened in my neighborhood and the owner knows me by name. Yup, I am having an affair with a sandwich. This week I decided to try my hand at making them at home and it is pretty easy. However I don't think I will ever give up entirely on my neighborhood shop because I think I would break the owners heart. She is such a nice lady. For a bit of background information check out this link at one of my favorite blogs. Viet World Kitchen's Master Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe.
My gringo version can be made easily at home and while food lovers fight over the exact mayo recipe I was happy using Japanese mayo . I got it at an asian market but you can use regular mayo if you have it as well. This is all about convenience and making it work in your everyday life.
Gringo Banh Mi Sandwich
1- Whole Wheat Demi Baguette, cut into 2 portions
6 oz Thinly Sliced Grilled Pork or Chicken
2 Tbsp Regular or Japanese Mayonnaise
Jalapeno Pepper (Optional), thinly sliced
1 C Daikon Carrot Pickle
English Cucumber, thinly sliced
6 Sprigs Fresh Cilantro
Heat oven to 325 and toast the outside of the bread until crisp.
Spread 1 Tbsp mayonnaise on the inside of roll. Then layer with meat, cucumber, daikon carrot mixture, jalapeno and lastly cilantro. Serve immediately.
It sounds so very basic but trust me, it is SO worth it. I wouldn't recommend leaving anything out as the flavors all really work together.
We will finish the tour of my favorite Vietnamese dishes to make home tomorrow with my version of the classic fresh summer rolls. You won't be disappointed!