Bánh mì has always been a classic in our family. My wife is Korean, Vietnamese, and French; I am Korean and a blend of other Caucasian things like German and Irish. You can see why there is so much Asian persuasion already on this blog. But we always bought them at the Ba Le Bakery, a Vietnamese bakery with French influence. France continued to rule Vietnam as a colony until France’s defeat in the First Indochina War and the proclamation of Vietnam’s independence in 1954. Colonialism is always far more bad than good. But one indisputable good of this literal clash of cultures was the Bánh mì sandwich. It’s not the original baguette, which is just flour, but it’s a perfect blend of both cultures. Rice flour is added to make the bread more soft on the inside with a beautiful light crust on the outside. The kind of crust that won’t cut the top of your mouth like a spoonful of Lucky Charms. We ended up buying the bread. We didn’t have time to do this from scratch…yet.
For a week I had subjected my family, and Bougie Food co-creator Matt Harwood, to a Bánh mì explosion. We ate Bánh mì sandwiches for a week. Then this past Saturday we tried to perfect it. With Matt’s son still asleep in his car seat we had a small window to cook. So with my son hanging off of his legs we started to throw together our pork Bánh mì sandwich. Three bottles of Baby Prosecco later, we had something we both were proud of. And the biggest complement was that my mother-in law approved. She is Vietnamese and French.
Matt handled the meat:
– 1 Pork Tenderloin shaved into thin pieces. I learned that it helps to put the tenderloin in the freezer for a few minutes. It’s easier to cut when it’s a little stiff.
– 3 Cloves of Garlic.
– 1 tsp of Red Curry Paste
– Splash of Fish Sauce
– Splash of Soy Sauce
– Splash of Oil
– Lemon Grass with Chile peppers
I chopped the toppings for the Sandwich:
– Fresh Cilantro
– Fresh Daikon radish with shaved carrots. Soak this in rice vinegar with a pinch of sugar
– Persian Cucumbers cut to thin strips
– Mayo and French Butter (spread this on the bread)
– Pate’ your choice. We used mushroom flavored
– Green onions
– Thai Chili Peppers or jalapeno’s
– Splash Maggie Sauce on the final product