Banh Mi is the brain child of hundreds of years of cultural and epicurean fusion. While to the unlearned eye it appears to be little more than a sub sandwich, Banh Mi’s modest presentation belies its symbolic stature as a cultural food merger.
For hundreds of years, the Vietnamese were occupied in some manner or another by the French, who brought with them a taste for original and exotic cuisine, along with many food innovations of their own. Though it bears a striking resemblance to the French Baguette, Banh Mi bread is lighter, crispier and has a thinner crust, giving it a slight but satisfying crunch. Housed within the Bahn Mi shell is a slew of various delicious meat and veggie options. Most often, the meat of choice is pan-roasted or seasoned pork belly, Vietnamese sausage or some other type of traditional Vietnamese pork product. However, over the years the Banh Mi, or Vietnamese Po-Boy as it is colloquially known, has been altered to include such meats as grilled chicken, sardines, fried eggs, fried pork meatballs, along with head cheese and tofu.
Of course, no sandwich would be complete would be complete without delicious vegetables and dressings and the Banh Mi has been arranged with a wide array of both. Traditionally speaking, Banh Mi is loaded with veggies native to Vietnam- cucumber slices, pickled carrots and daikon, among many others. It is dressed with anything from mayonnaise to pork liver pâté̒ and typically served warm over cold, depending on the meat selection, of course.
So view your options, make your choices and experience your own custom made piece of cultural cuisine, complements of VietBites!