Making banh mi

I am going to be honest with you.  I am probably going to get hate mail for this. ... please send me some kind of mail!  haha! 

Using the wrong bread...

Using the wrong bread...

Banh Mi, whether it is banh mi chay (vegetarian), Banh mi thit ngon (roasted pork), etc, is the best hoagie that you can ever have.  Take that Philly cheesesteak, meatball sub, etc!  It has the savory, the sweet, sour, and fresh flavors all packed into an airy bun. As in my previous post, where I went to pursue my project in Elmhurst, Queens, I went to this really great banh mi shop up there.  So I decided to make one for myself at home. 

Banh mi is, like pho, one of the most common street food that you can find on the streets of the major cities in Vietnam.  Probably on the countryside too.  Sometimes when a vendor is out of bread, they would run to their neighbor and buy some from them... even if they are direct competitors.  At least that is what I saw when I was in HCMC, Vietnam.  I mean it could be that I ran into sisters selling their hoagies at different locations, but this one that I went to ran out of bread so she ran to the cart 5 ft from me to get some bread.  I uhh... bought seven of them. 

So Sunday, I didn't have time to run to the Vietnamese market to buy the right kind of bread so I just used the leftover loaf of bread that I had from Whole Foods Market.  The bread is, as written, light inside and crispy on the outside.  This is actually pretty simple to make.


  • Bread (for the right bread, go to a Vietnamese market they make them fresh in the morning like every other bakery.)
  • Cilantro
  • Sweetened pickled carrots and radish
  • roasted meat
  • cucumber (sliced length wise)
  • mayo
  • crushed black pepper
  • fried egg (optional)

Depending on what kind of meat, or vegetarian item, that you use you will need to make that first.  For the roasted pork, for example, A blog of salt has pretty accurate recipes.  Go check out Thuy's. 

Slice the bread and spread the mayo onto both sides.  Line the bread with the meat/tofu/soy/etc.  Then layer in the sliced cucumbers, put in a helping of the sweet pickled carrots and radish.  Once you do that, put a piece of the cilantro on top and then sprinkle a pinch of crushed black pepper on top.

If you choose to add in a fried egg, which I think you should, add that in right after the main meat. 

Eat it and then tell me that that isn't the best hoagie that you have ever had!

Things around the net. Food guide in Saigon?

Interesting food, culture, and travel links.

I share a lot of links on my facebook and twitter pages and thought to myself that I should start a Friday post that have links and sometimes summaries on my blog.  Starting off is something that I am quite excited over....

Out at a market in HCMC/Saigon one day when it started to rain.  Shot in 2011 with a Canon 1D3 and 35L.

Out at a market in HCMC/Saigon one day when it started to rain.  Shot in 2011 with a Canon 1D3 and 35L.

I have been following Jodi Ettenberg for quite some time now from being introduced to her amazing food blog: Legal Nomads.  Actually I am quite envious that she has been able to stay in Vietnam for some time.  That time she spent researching the street food and where to eat.  Okay more than that, but the point is... she has accumulated a lot of knowledge of the food there.  Totally go read her blog (and buy some t shirts from her). I know that I will reference her guide when I head back to Saigon (or HCMC). 

From her guide:  The Legal Nomads Guide to Saigon Street Food

The focus is, of course, food. One specific soup, a sweet-and-sour canh chua (photo in the “street food” section below), was what initially led me to the city. I was lured in by the complicated tastes and unfamiliar sting of the rice paddy herb on my tongue. It might have been one soup that brought me to Saigon, but it was the rest of the food that kept me there, and keeps me coming back. It is not just taste of food that makes Saigon so enthralling, but the act of eating as well, and all of the craziness that eating comprises. The swirling noise, the families all sitting and enjoying a meal on the street, smiling at you fumbling with your condiments. The beauty of food being not just a necessity but also a sight in and of itself: a window into culture, and a source of endless wonder.
— Jodi Ettenberg, Legal Nomads
At Dim Sum Garden in Philadelphia.  Shot with a Canon 5D mark III and 35L

At Dim Sum Garden in Philadelphia.  Shot with a Canon 5D mark III and 35L

Bon Chon Korean Fried Chicken is set to open in Philadelphia this coming fall.  -Philly Mag

Making Tempura on Saveur.  - Saveur

Making your own clambake at home.  -Food & Wine

Lexicon of Sustainability on youtube.  An online PBS special giving you a closer look at our food, the food process, food culture, and issues with producing food for our world population.  Give it a watch. 

Water usage: Do's and Don'ts of Water Usage.  Water is, and has been, an issue in our growing world.  More specifically water shortages.  Modern Farmer has some tips to save water.  -Modern Farmer

Gear Envy.  One photographer's experience with the Phaseone MF camera.

Back on the home front.... I am thinking of what to make this weekend, and hopefully I can write up a recipe to go along with whatever I cook.  If the rain holds on Saturday I am also planning to check out some soba noodle shops in Philadelphia.