What’s nice about bánh mì is that, unlike many American sandwiches, this sandwich tastes light and refreshing yet savory at the same time. Bánh mì is the Vietnamese word for bread, but it refers to Vietnamese sandwiches served in a mini baguette made of rice and wheat flours. There are variations on the sandwich, but all seem to feature seasoned meat and đồ chua—a picked mix of matchstick carrots and daikon, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, soy sauce and mayo. The baguette is an indication that this recipe came into existence during Vietnam’s period of colonization by the French.
I used this recipe for northern Vietnamese bánh mì, which was simple and easy. Our area has been covered in snow and ice and the nearest Asian supermarket is a little far, so I opted to try to find the closest ingredients at the local grocery store. I bought mini baguettes for the bread, jalapeño peppers, green onions to replace cilantro (which the store was out of), seedless cucumbers, carrots, and red radishes to replace daikon. The recipe was vague on what sort of meat should be used, so I did some Googling and found that sometimes cold cuts are used, which the grocery store was also out of. They were having a sale on Italian sausages, so I got those instead and thinly sliced them. They paired perfectly with the other flavors!
It’s very easy to make—the only thing that takes a little time is pickling the carrots and the daikon, which require a minimum of an hour to soak. Once you have some pickles pre-made, though, you’re good to go, and the pickles can last up to four weeks in the fridge. Then these can be made as quickly as it takes to cook the meat and assemble the ingredients—which is great, because these are tasty and healthy.
What’s interesting to me is that I never liked pickles—but I liked these. I think that’s partly because of the process—they’re fresh, but also I saw exactly what went into them and knew it was all good.
Enjoy your healthy and delicious Vietnamese sandwiches!
Bon appétit! Ăn ngon nhé!