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« Don’t Let Your Shrimp Dawdle | Main | Cooking for the Midweek Blahs »

Make your Own Vietnamese Sandwiches

By Marilyn Hunter

Years ago when I worked in downtown San Francisco, my friend Thuy and I would often meet for lunch. We would take a $10 cab ride all the way across town to get a $2 sandwich. Sounds crazy, I know, but this sandwich was worth it.

There’s something very addictive about Vietnamese sandwiches (bánh mì) – a crusty baguette filled with sweet and salty pork, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs and slivered jalapeño. Drizzle a little soy sauce over it and it becomes a crave-able masterpiece.

We always ordered two each: one to eat and one to take home. This made us feel like we were getting our money’s worth out of the taxi fare.

Many years have passed since my lunchtime adventures with Thuy, but I think of her every time I bite into a homemade bánh mì. I never dreamed that one day I would be making them for my children.

When we make bánh mì at home, we want the meat to be as easy to prep as possible, so sometimes we marinate and roast pork, other times we use leftover rotisserie chicken. Andrew likes extra veggies and cilantro. I like extra jalapeño. The boys don’t like either, but they always want extra meat. Have fun customizing the sandwiches to your taste.

Bánh Mì - Vietnamese Sandwiches
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
4 small baguettes, cut in half lengthwise
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Meat of your choice, about 3 ounces per sandwich (roast pork, rotisserie chicken, etc.)
1 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
1 thinly sliced jalapeño
8 sprigs cilantro
Naturally brewed soy sauce, as needed
Sriracha sauce (hot sauce), as needed

Combine vinegar and sugar and pour over carrots. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and toast the baguettes in the oven until crispy, about 2 minutes. Spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise on each baguette. Thinly slice your meat of choice and pile onto the rolls.

Top the meat with carrot, cucumber, jalapeño and cilantro, dividing equally. Drizzle each sandwich with soy sauce and Sriracha.

Makes 4 servings.

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