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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If Martha were Vietnamese-- Bánh mì and my ever expanding bum

Bánh mì (pronounced ban me) is a Vietnamese baguette (think hoagie roll but French! Yummy for the carb lovers. Gotta LOVE the French influence here! Anyone salivating yet?) On the streets of Sai Gon and Han Oi, when folks are retuning home from work, we saw bicycle street vendors, impromptu road side stands, and women selling baskets full the small loaves to take home to their families. Come on, you gotta love any culture that brings home fresh food every day! Not having refrigeration enables this of course. Bánh mì is also the name of a type of sandwich made with this type of bread. It is made up of thinly shredded pickled carrots and daikon, and also cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and meat, including roasted or grilled pork or Vietnamese ham, (kinda like spam/pate pressed meat stuff. Not a fan yet, but I'm trying.) and it also has mayonnaise and mint. And although I'm not sure if it's proper, I love to add Nước chấm, the traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce, just 'cause I love it on most everything! Again, not sure that's proper. I may be putting A1 on my jelly doughnuts there!

Bánh mì is generally served in small eateries and and phở shops. It's a staple, like our hamburgers. Like phở, it's cheap and portable and available all over, thus it's appeal. Not to mention yummy! And it's pretty readily available here in the US too if you can get to/find the Vietnamese community.

One of Papa's goals since we've come home from Viet Nam has been to perfect this delicious French-Asian fusion comfort food. So this weekend, we headed to our favorite Asian market, Mekong, and loaded up with supplies. Speaking of which, a trip to the Asian market is so fun in its own right! But prior to this weekend, Papa's attempts at Bánh mì have largely come out dry and uninspiring. But this weekend, with Sunny's help of course, our budding chef, it was perfected! I am inspired! It was gorgeous and made me drool! I had one for lunch. I had one for dinner. I had another when no one was looking. I wanted one the next morning for breakfast, but thought my family might convene an intervention! It was bliss on a plate! Papa's learned to pickle the dicon and carrots just perfectly. Don't miss the jalapeno! A little spicy, but not much cause all my kiddos love it too. Papa's grilled pork has just a lovely marinade. Did i mention i really like Papa's Bánh mì! My ever-expanding bum is evidence.

Hmmmm, wonder if I can go find myself some more leftovers to make me another.
I like Papa best in the background looking a little exasperated in an sea of soy and fish sauce! As much as I like the Asian market, I am a huge fish out of water and look it!
Patrick helps out trying to find the ingredients.

Isles and isles of noodles! Picking the right one is daunting. We literally look for the one with the elephant on it! It's the only way I know we get the right one.

Gotta leave you with a bowl of phở. We've mastered it, at least according to our Caucasian taste buds. And yes, for you foodies, I use the phở cubes! I don't make my own stock broth either!
Hmmmm... maybe I should have started at the beginning, with phở, the true staple of the VN diet? And so yummy too! Do you want a phở tutorial next?
(Boy that fork and spoon look dirty!)


  1. I would love your recipe for banh mi! Anthony loves those things. I've got a great and fairly simple recipe for pho ga, by the way, and it's totally from "scratch" if you're interested. Our nearest market, in Worcester, MA is called Mekong as well. It's so fun going there.

  2. I am just loving all of these posts. You're my new favorite blog : )


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