If you have never tried a báhn mì, you’re seriously missing out. It’s a Vietnamese street food superstar. The báhn mì is a French and Vietnamese fusion, with a lot of Chinese influence. Everyone brought their A-game, and a star was born. Crusty French baguette, spicy, juicy meat, tangy pickles and the fresh bite of coriander. The blend of flavors is enticing and addictive to say the least. Without too much effort, a delicious homemade version can be in your belly in no time….assuming you have some pulled pork in the fridge. You do, right? If you love Asian flavors, and sandwiches, and you haven’t tried a báhn mì – your culinary/gastronomic life is not complete. Drop everything you’re doing and go get/make one now. You can thank me later.
I promised a week’s worth of recipes using my lemongrass pulled pork recipe from earlier this week, and I plan to make good. If you do make that pork, you really need to make this sandwich too. It’s life-changing, soul-rocking, mouth-watering and devourable.
Some history on the báhn mì:
The baguette was introduced in Vietnam in the early 20th century. The first báhn mì were minimal. Just the requisite French toppings like butter and, cured meat. The version we know in America was introduced by Vietnamese immigrants, and also heavily influenced in the style of Saigonese cooking. The Chinese influence added the amazing toppings and herbs we’ve come to know and expect in this delicious sandwich, and really took things to the next level. It really is a “best of everything” fusion food, and I think Julia Moksen of the NYT had it right when she wrote about the báhn mì: “They are so rich in history, complex in flavor and full of contradictions that they make other sandwiches look dumb.”
I have been craving Vietnamese food like crazy, thus the week full of recipes. When we were in Portland, there was a beautiful little Vietnamese cafe across the street from our apartment, and we indulged often. That’s the thing though, you CAN indulge often. Much of the food is light but packed with flavor – and amazing. There were all sorts of lovely things on the menu, but my favorite has always been pulled pork banh mi, or a big bowl of beef phở bo (beef and noodle soup.) The sandwiches in particular were so delicious, I thought there was no way I could replicate the flavors at home. Well, I did! It was easy, and you can do it too. Now, when I’m craving a báhn mì I can just make it myself. No 20 hour road trip necessary.
What I’ve listed here is just the beginning. There are endless variations on the báhn mì. I haven’t listed any amounts or measurements here, because you can really build it to taste. I load mine up with do chua, and herbs. You may like more meat. To each their own.
- Soft, toasted baguette
- Meat of choice (I used my own Lemongrass pulled pork)
- Shredded Cabbage
- Bean Sprouts
- Do Chua (Pickled carrot and daikon)
- Spicy mayo (sriracha and mayo mixed together)
Just look at those toppings! So fresh and delicious. Just flirting with you. They’re saying: “eat me, I’m yummy!”
I love these so much, I ate them for lunch 3 days in a row this week. “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” Maybe I will….maybe I will.