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Cook-Off 60: Banh Mi

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#61 rotuts

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:49 AM

love to see pics of the Pho shop and their Banh Mi!

:biggrin:

#62 C. sapidus

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:11 PM

Roberta, beautiful banh mi! I am very glad (and a little relieved) that you liked Vietnamese Kitchen. Cookbooks can be very personal, so I never know whether a book that works for me will work for others (although I was pretty confident in that recommendation).

David, I look forward to your next banh mi, traditional or not. :smile:

#63 LindaK

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 06:25 PM

Hmm, that's why it tastes more gamey... it's pork pate.

thanks for posting the video. Yes, it's always pork liver, and why most of us probably only want a light smear of it on our bahn mi. More than that and the gaminess and richness would overwhelm the other flavors. Long ago, once or twice I ordered my bahn mi sans pate, not being a fan of pork liver. Big mistake (aside from the look I got from the guy making the sandwich). The only analogy I can think of is from music--it tasted as if the bass note was missing against all those bright flavors. If that makes sense.


 


#64 David Ross

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:42 PM


Hmm, that's why it tastes more gamey... it's pork pate.

thanks for posting the video. Yes, it's always pork liver, and why most of us probably only want a light smear of it on our bahn mi. More than that and the gaminess and richness would overwhelm the other flavors. Long ago, once or twice I ordered my bahn mi sans pate, not being a fan of pork liver. Big mistake (aside from the look I got from the guy making the sandwich). The only analogy I can think of is from music--it tasted as if the bass note was missing against all those bright flavors. If that makes sense.

Is the texture of the pork pate smooth yet firm, or is it more of the mousse consistency of the chicken liver spread I made?

#65 LindaK

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 08:29 PM

It's mousse consistency, or at least spreads very easily. No thick chunks or crumbly layers.


 


#66 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:42 PM

My modest contributation to the thread - a couple of specimens (that I did not make, but that I wanted include for reference purposes). Maybe this will inspire me to try making my own version soon!

I got the first one at a Vietnamese/French/Swedish bakery today (Sorrento European Bakery). For the meat, they had a few options that included pork with pate or bbq pork. They recommended the bbq pork so that's what I got. For some reason, the banh mi sandwiches always seem to be wrapped in the same manner- in paper with a little rubber band.

Posted Image

Inside were all the traditional garnishes: carrots, cucumber, daikon, jalapeno, cilantro, spicy mayo.

Posted Image

The verdict: meh. The thick skin on the cucumber was a turn off, and the vegetables hardly tasted pickled. There was no enough vinegar to offset the rich mayonnaise. But the meat was not bad and the baguette was crispy and warm. Also this was less than $4, a bargain.

My current favorite is this twist on the traditional banh mi by MIHO, a local foodtruck.
A few key points:
They use a high quality baguette (clearly baked that day)
Good pickled veggies
Pork belly... what else can I say
A little heavy on the mayo for me, but still very good. More expensive (about $8).

Posted Image

#67 HungryC

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:09 AM

Here's another southeast Louisiana Vietnamese poboy....can't remember the source, but it's fairly representative of the local ingredient-to-bread ratio and overall size of loaf. It had a thit nuong (grilled pork) filling.
Posted Image

Edited by HungryC, 12 July 2012 - 07:12 AM.


#68 MikeHartnett

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:27 AM

Oh, great. If FrogPrincesse and HungryC can post pictures of purchased banh mi, that means I'm going to have to go around and buy a bunch to remind myself which Nola banh mi is the best.

Edited by MikeHartnett, 12 July 2012 - 08:28 AM.


#69 HungryC

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:38 AM

Oh, great. If FrogPrincesse and HungryC can post pictures of purchased banh mi, that means I'm going to have to go around and buy a bunch to remind myself which Nola banh mi is the best.

Well, I thought that people without ready access to BMs might like to see what passes for "standard" in order to concoct their own riffs! I'm just happy to live in a place where I can get freshly baked banh mi loaves at 4 for $1.00.

#70 MikeHartnett

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 11:51 AM

Well, I thought that people without ready access to BMs might like to see what passes for "standard" in order to concoct their own riffs! I'm just happy to live in a place where I can get freshly baked banh mi loaves at 4 for $1.00.


No kidding. What would life be like without "Vietnamese po boys?"

#71 David Ross

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:10 PM

I took the advice from our discussion and trekked out to a local Vietnamese Pho shop in search of a traditional Banh Mi from a Vietnamese kitchen.

I ordered two different Banh Mi, the first, the “14-Banh Mi Cha,” listed on the menu as “Pork ham, pate and mayonnaise.”
001.JPG

005.JPG

I immediately recognized the French roll, it came from the same Seattle bakery as the rolls I bought at the Asian grocery store down the street. It was warmed, the crust delicate and crispy, the interior dough soft and light. But the bread was one of the few saving graces that kept me from chucking out this Banh Mi.

There were two thin shards of an undetectable, compressed, white meat. It was devoid of any flavor of either ham or pork. There was pork pate in the Banh Mi, about a teaspoon or so, smudged on one end of the bread. The carrot and daikon, (actually more carrot and a few threads of daikon), had no flavor, the cilantro was limp, and there was only one thin slice of jalapeno trying to boost the heat factor of the sandwich. The thick piece crisp, pickled cucumber was good, as was the rich homemade mayonnaise.

“#14” was a good “Cucumber, Mayonnaise Sandwich on a French Roll,” it just wasn’t a very good Banh Mi.

Next up was the “18-Banh Mi Xa Xiu” billed as Barbecue Pork. The red-rimmed pork loin appeared to have come out of the supermarket deli case--about two weeks ago. It had more pork flavor than the “ham” in Banh Mi #14, but that’s not saying much since the ham tasted of nothing.
008.JPG

011.JPG

Same shallow carrot/daikon “pickle” and limp cilantro. #18 could have used a boost, more than a teaspoon this time, from the pork pate. Good bread, same good mayonnaise and pickled cucumber, but a faint representative of what I think any of us would want in a Banh Mi.

I’m glad I tried a restaurant-made Banh Mi. It adds to my understanding of what goes into the making of a Banh Mi, (and what to avoid), and now I have a better perspective of how to craft another Banh Mi at home. But having a better perspective doesn’t mean I have a clear perspective about this sandwich. In fact, after lunch today, I’m more tempted to craft Banh Mi at home to suit my own tastes while launching into a mission to find a better Banh Mi in a restaurant.

Today’s trip wasn’t a lost affair. The price of the Banh Mi was only $2.75 each for a very large sandwich. Clearly in this case cost didn’t equate to either value or quality.

The search is early on, but after today, I’d give the advantage to my roast pork Banh Mi over #14 and #18.

#72 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:28 PM

I've never considered making Banh Mi at home, having access to top quality product within a dozen blocks of my home. For those within range, I heartily recommend "Little Saigon" shop on 6th Avenue between Clement and Geary Streets in San Francisco. Classic sweet French roll, choice of pate, pressed ham, grilled chicken or pork, carrot and cucumber pickle, cilantro, mint, optional jalapeno, roll moistened with nuoc cham. This is our standard Saturday "running errands" pick up lunch. $4.50 for large sandwich.
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#73 David Ross

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:53 PM

I took the advice from our discussion and trekked out to a local Vietnamese Pho shop in search of a traditional Banh Mi from a Vietnamese kitchen.

I ordered two different Banh Mi, the first, the “14-Banh Mi Cha,” listed on the menu as “Pork ham, pate and mayonnaise.”
001.JPG

005.JPG

I immediately recognized the French roll, it came from the same Seattle bakery as the rolls I bought at the Asian grocery store down the street. It was warmed, the crust delicate and crispy, the interior dough soft and light. But the bread was one of the few saving graces that kept me from chucking out this Banh Mi.

There were two thin shards of an undetectable, compressed, white meat. It was devoid of any flavor of either ham or pork. There was pork pate in the Banh Mi, about a teaspoon or so, smudged on one end of the bread. The carrot and daikon, (actually more carrot and a few threads of daikon), had no flavor, the cilantro was limp, and there was only one thin slice of jalapeno trying to boost the heat factor of the sandwich. The thick piece crisp, pickled cucumber was good, as was the rich homemade mayonnaise.

“#14” was a good “Cucumber, Mayonnaise Sandwich on a French Roll,” it just wasn’t a very good Banh Mi.

Next up was the “18-Banh Mi Xa Xiu” billed as Barbecue Pork. The red-rimmed pork loin appeared to have come out of the supermarket deli case--about two weeks ago. It had more pork flavor than the “ham” in Banh Mi #14, but that’s not saying much since the ham tasted of nothing.
008.JPG

011.JPG

Same shallow carrot/daikon “pickle” and limp cilantro. #18 could have used a boost, more than a teaspoon this time, from the pork pate. Good bread, same good mayonnaise and pickled cucumber, but a faint representative of what I think any of us would want in a Banh Mi.

I’m glad I tried a restaurant-made Banh Mi. It adds to my understanding of what goes into the making of a Banh Mi, (and what to avoid), and now I have a better perspective of how to craft another Banh Mi at home. But having a better perspective doesn’t mean I have a clear perspective about this sandwich. In fact, after lunch today, I’m more tempted to craft Banh Mi at home to suit my own tastes while launching into a mission to find a better Banh Mi in a restaurant.

Today’s trip wasn’t a lost affair. The price of the Banh Mi was only $2.75 each for a very large sandwich. Clearly in this case cost didn’t equate to either value or quality.

The search is early on, but after today, I’d give the advantage to my roast pork Banh Mi over #14 and #18.


And for a pictorial comparison-
From a shop-
005.JPG

From my kitchen, (with a bit of cheating on the pork)-
Banh Mi 036.JPG

#74 rotuts

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 04:43 AM

#14 and #18 look a little dry to me. at the B.M. shop i go to in Boston's Chinatown i ask for a little more pate and mayo on mine with extra green chili.

I think also the only chance a B.M. can be considered authentic is that little rubber band!

#75 Katie Meadow

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:19 AM

Yo, Margaret, wish I had something like that so close. But that's why a Banh Mi is such a great sandwich: you can make a very "authentic" and delicious one without having to go to Chinatown or even an Asian market. For those without easy access to Asian products, between hispanic markets, a deli and your favorite protein source, you could probably get what's needed. If you don't want to make some type of bbq pork, any grilled shrimp or chicken with an Asian flavor works well. Crispy pork or chicken skin is always a plus, but for friends who only eat seafood, quick sauteed marinated prawns cooked in a skillet make a very worthwhile Banh Mi.

On the subject of authenticity....well, I just can't get too worked up about it. Creativity and cultural mash-up is the heart of this sandwich. As for bread, if you love those Viet rolls and they are easy to come by, by all means. I'm extremely happy with an Acme rustic baguette. I know people who sub the Mexican bolillos rolls. When it comes to the pate, recipes I've seen appear equally distributed between chicken liver and pork liver. I agree that a smooth spreadable pate works better in a Banh Mi than a chunky country-style, but franky I find a smooth chicken liver mousse to be more appealing than a smooth pork liver spread. If I were ever to make a more traditional chopped chicken liver spread I wouldn't be above trying a Bahn Mi with the leftovers. The deli I frequent sells a basic chicken liver mousse pate, and a truffled one. I did splurge once and use the truffled on a sandwich, but since the price is about double and there are so many strong flavors in the sandwich already it doesn't seem like an important upgrade. It was very good, though.

#76 David Ross

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 05:09 PM

Anyone ever had any toasted peanuts or nuts in a Banh Mi?

#77 rotuts

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:14 PM

I was in Boston's Chinatown today and stopped in Mei Sum on Beach:

Banh Mi Mei Sum 1.jpg

note the authentic rubber band. The second one is for dessert. Inside:

Banh Mi Mei Sum 2.jpg

Edited by rotuts, 18 July 2012 - 12:16 PM.


#78 David Ross

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 05:23 PM

My second Banh Mi, #2 as it were, was loosely based on #1--Same French Roll from the Vietnamese bakery in Seattle, roast pork, pickled carrot, cucumber, radish, lots of cilantro and mint, sriracha mayonnaise, liver pate and Maggi. But I changed up a few things--

-I thinly sliced the cucumber in cross-slices this time instead of lengthwise, but I kept the cucumber raw, not pickled with the carrot.

-Instead of daikon, I used fresh red radishes, sliced thin and left unpickled.

-Only cilantro and mint this time, no basil, (and it wasn't missed).

-Instead of homemade chicken liver pate, I tried two different pork liver pates-
-A canned liver pate made in Canada that was on the shelf at the Asian grocery store. Didn't like the flavor--it was very strong
and had that "canned" almost metallic taste. One only knows how long it's been in that can.
-Oscar Mayer "brunschweiger" liver sausage, a pate really, often known as the dreaded liverwurst. If I had ever brought a
liverwurst sandwich into the school cafeteria when I was a kid I would have been run out of the place. Never ate it until last week.
Now I love it--fresh tasting, not overly strong and with a good mix of spices and not a lot of sugar. Just right--and much better
than my chicken liver mousse in Banh Mi #1.

And then there was the pork. That wondrous pork based on a recipe from one Thomas Keller's "ad hoc at home" cookbook. A pork
recipe that will last through the ages--and will now be a feature at one of my upcoming cooking classes. I dream of a month from now when I'll make this pork and serve it with fresh Washington huckleberries.

Keller's recipe is called "Confit of Pork Belly" and as is his wont, Chef Keller cuts no corners--the recipe involves few ingredients but demands perfect technique and develops over the course of literally days.

I started with a nice piece of pork belly from the Asian Market. I worried it was too thin in terms of not being meaty enough, but in the end it was just the right size for what would end up in the Banh Mi-
Banh Mi #2 003.JPG

Leaving the skin on, or rind as we call it in my neck of the woods, the pork belly was submerged in melted lard and put in a 200 oven, covered, to poach in the fat for about 6 hours-
Banh Mi #2 009.JPG

The cooked pork belly "confit" out of the oven-
Banh Mi #2 015.JPG

Then placed in a heavy casserole and the strained, melted fat poured over-
Banh Mi #2 021.JPG

Then covered loosely with plastic and weighed down with a smaller casserole filled with cans of beans to press down on the pork
belly. Into the fridge for four days of chilling-
Banh Mi #2 024.JPG

Porky doesn't look to appetizing at this point. He's been washed of his fat bath and he knows what is coming next-
Banh Mi #2 029.JPG

Just what pork confit should look like-
Banh Mi #2 031.JPG

I finally discovered what I was doing wrong when cooking pork belly. Why was that "rind," (skin), as tough as boot leather? Listen to Chef Keller my dear boy-"cut the skin off before you cook the pork belly confit." Duh. Here is the pork belly confit, cut then cubed-
Banh Mi #2 033.JPG

Then into a hot pan, skin side down, seasoned with some pepper, heat turned down to medium, and sauteed until the skin turned brown and started to crisp. Then into the oven, broiler on, pan on middle rack, and broiled for about 3-4, minutes, (you decide how long it takes), to finish crisping and browning the pork belly confit-
Banh Mi #2 039.JPG
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#79 heidih

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 06:33 PM

That pork looks spectacular. I think that sometimes we idealize foods that are foreign to us. Think what someone from abroad would make of a Philly Cheesesteak or just a grinder or sub sandwich, So many possibilities and levels of execution. However - I want to eat the sandwich you just posted. As to herbs I only ever see cilantro here in the Viet expat capital general area,

#80 David Ross

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 06:50 PM

And here's the assembly of my Banh Mi #2-

I cut some of the bread out of the inside of the roll, all the more room to stuff in meat, vegetables and condiments-

Top layer, mayonnaise, cilantro and mint-
Banh Mi #2 045.JPG

Then radish and cucumber-
Banh Mi #2 048.JPG

And pickled carrot-
Banh Mi #2 050.JPG


Bottom layer spread with pork pate-
Banh Mi #2 051.JPG

With far too much delicious pork belly-
Banh Mi #2 053.JPG

Banh Mi #2 061.JPG

So it's obvious that I've tinkered with tradition here, but in the end, using tradition as the base to adapt the Banh Mi into a contemporary sandwich that fit my tastes worked out just fine--and I gained a new friend that works in the Asian market where I bought the bread and the pork belly--she invited me to come back after hours for a personal lesson in making Banh Mi.

Any other Banh Mi adventurers out there?

#81 jfrater

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 02:32 PM

I make banh mi for my boyfriend's Vietnamese family occasionally because you can get it here otherwise. Mine is completely traditional with red pork belly (simmered in coconut water) pickled carrot and daikon, erc. The only herb I use is cilantro and I use soy sauce not maggi.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1346967241.508948.jpg
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#82 Simon Lewinson

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 02:47 AM

Banh Mi in the boondocks... living out in the middle of nowhere has its advantages, but not when getting the ingredients for Banh Mi!
I read this thread, and it reminded me of the lunchtime Banh Mi pilgrimage when I worked in Springvale about 16 years ago.

After driving for an hour to go shopping, the ingredients that I managed to rustle up were: sous vide pork belly from my freezer, home made mayo, liverwurst from Aldi (Heathen I hear you all screaming!), parbake dinner rolls, fresh carrot, cucumber and coriander.

Out with the Thai cookbook and I plagiarized the quick pickle recipe to steep the carrot and cucumber for an hour or so.
After baking the rolls, smearing on the mayo and ersatz pâté, i piled in the carrot, pork belly, cucumber and coriander with a splash of dark soy sauce.

Sorry for the lack of photos, but the wife and kids devoured the lot faster than I could assemble them. I doubt that they could compare with the real thing, but they tasted great.

Edited by Simon Lewinson, 08 September 2012 - 02:48 AM.


#83 David Ross

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 06:47 AM

I make banh mi for my boyfriend's Vietnamese family occasionally because you can get it here otherwise. Mine is completely traditional with red pork belly (simmered in coconut water) pickled carrot and daikon, erc. The only herb I use is cilantro and I use soy sauce not maggi.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1346967241.508948.jpg

I like the idea of simmering the pork in coconut water. Do you have a recipe for us?

#84 jfrater

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 05:46 PM


I make banh mi for my boyfriend's Vietnamese family occasionally because you can get it here otherwise. Mine is completely traditional with red pork belly (simmered in coconut water) pickled carrot and daikon, erc. The only herb I use is cilantro and I use soy sauce not maggi.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1346967241.508948.jpg

I like the idea of simmering the pork in coconut water. Do you have a recipe for us?


I use a recipe by Luke Nguyen - he calls it "thit ba roi" but that is just Vietnamese for belly meat. Here is the recipe - it is amazing and the smell when cooking is out of this world.

1/2 tsp red food coloring (I use extra and I put it in with the coconut juice otherwise the meat doesn't get red enough)
2 1/4 pound pork belly
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp five spice
4 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1 Tbsp salt
4 cups coconut juice (I find that two young fresh coconuts provide enough water - the ones with the white rind)

Mix the food coloring with 1 Tbsp of cold water. Brush onto the pork belly until well colored. Combine soy, five spice, garlic, and salt. Massage it into the pork belly and let marinate for an hour.

Bring the coconut water to a boil in a large plan. Meanwhile roll the belly (skin side out) tightly and tie. Add to boiling coconut water (this is when I add extra red food coloring to the water). Return to boil then lower heat to simmer. Simmer belly for one hour turning often.

Allow to cool in the juice then slice as needed. Keeps four days in the fridge but also freezes ok.

This produces pork belly that tastes identical to the red skinned pork belly you get in the best Banh Mi shop in Cabramatta Sydney (Vietnam town).

You can also chop it and serve with rice or rice noodles with fish sauce dipping sauce. Yum!
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#85 Simon Lewinson

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:21 PM

Yet another attempt at Banh Mi for lunch today.

Preparation work was making a batch of mayonnaise with eggs fresh from the chicken coop, vacuum pickling slices of cucumber and carrot and slicing up the sous vide Vietnamese caramel pork belly that I cooked a couple of days ago. Yesterday's job was to make some chicken liver pâté.

Two dozen par-bake mini dinner rolls were duly baked and cut, home made mayonnaise spread inside the top, pâté on he bottom. Pickled carrot and cucumber, a sprig of coriander, a couple of leaves of Vietnamese mint and then some thinly sliced pork belly. Sprinkle lightly with some light soy sauce and let the piranhas descend.

image.jpg

Thankfully I managed to get a photo before my 17 year old son devoured over half of them.

The complexity added by the caramel pork belly was fantastic, hints of lemongrass and chili with subtle bitter and sweet notes from the caramel sauce made this a real hit.

Simon

#86 David Ross

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 04:34 PM

Wow, that's a beautiful Banh Mi.  Thank you for the details of the preparation.



#87 Simon Lewinson

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:51 PM

If you are interested, here is a link to the pork belly recipe.
http://forums.egulle...2013/?p=1916696

Simon

#88 Jason Perlow

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:32 AM

8678412277_61ceb28b87_o.jpg

 

This was done for dinner earlier this week -- a "Florida-Style" Banh Mi, LOL.

 

Bread is a whole wheat hoagie roll, not French bread. Meat is BBQ smoked bacon-wrapped pork and chicken meatballs that are flavored with scallion, garlic and hot chiles and a pork BBQ rub seasoning, finished in a soy/pineapple juice/honey/chili coconut water hot sauce glaze. Sandwich has a sriracha/lime/mayo accompanied with pickled onions, chopped fresh pineapple, cilantro, mint and thin sliced jalapeno peppers.


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#89 David Ross

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:00 PM

8678412277_61ceb28b87_o.jpg

 

This was done for dinner earlier this week -- a "Florida-Style" Banh Mi, LOL.

 

Bread is a whole wheat hoagie roll, not French bread. Meat is BBQ smoked bacon-wrapped pork and chicken meatballs that are flavored with scallion, garlic and hot chiles and a pork BBQ rub seasoning, finished in a soy/pineapple juice/honey/chili coconut water hot sauce glaze. Sandwich has a sriracha/lime/mayo accompanied with pickled onions, chopped fresh pineapple, cilantro, mint and thin sliced jalapeno peppers.

Wow again, another example of how versatile and delicious this sandwich can be.  I especially like your sauce and mayonnaise.



#90 LindaK

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 03:38 PM

Andrea Nguyen has a new cookbook, The Banh Mi Handbook.  Lots of cook-off worthy recipes there, most likely. I'm considering it...


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