It’s NOT Chinese

Banh Mi Thit Nuong

2 cups very thinly sliced roast pork
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 baguette, about 24 inches long, split lengthwise
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced or shredded
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño chili, seeded and thinly sliced or minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a small bowl, toss the pork with the soy sauce, garlic and fish sauce. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Spread the cut sides of the baguette with the mayonnaise. Layer the pork, cucumber, carrots, onion, chili and cilantro on the bottom half of the baguette. Close the sandwich with the top half of the baguette and cut on the diagonal into 4 individual sandwiches.

This is one of my favorite sandwiches. It’s all the ingredients you know and love in a new and fantastic order. I highly suggest all the work that it takes. This is a fantastic new twist on flavor!

Banh Mi Thit Nuong translates into Bread with Grilled Pork. I grew up in a neighborhood with a large Vietnamese population. This is actually one of the languages I picked up – nothing extensive – but enough to get me politely through ordering it in the restaurants where english was definitely not a first language.

Course, you have to laugh, I’m a tall white girl in an Asian only sandwich shop. I stick out like a sore thumb. So when I say “Hai Banh Mi Thit Nuong, Mot Pho Tai, Mot Pho Ga, Kham Un”….it always garners a cute twittering laugh of surprise. I love it. It’s a nice bridging of the culture gap.

One time the store owner brought me a dish of what was similar to Egg Foo Yong. I don’t know what it’s called to this day. It wasn’t on a menu. But my God, it was heaven. They tried telling me, but I tell you what, you say one little inflection wrong in Vietnamese, and you’re telling someone bad things about their mother and you’re no longer welcome! 😉

I highly suggest making Pho for the side of this. That’s traditional Vietnamese soup. I’ll post my recipe for that sooner or later. It’s a lovely beef broth and rice noodle soup. Again, complicated flavors from simple known ingredients and voila! impressed all over again.

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