C – Bahn Mi sandwiches are my favorite sandwiches.
I grew up with them. I used to take them for granted. They used to be $1 for a sandwich at Vietnamese sandwich shops. Inflation has hit and those days have past. I feel a bit old talking about back in my “olden” days.
Nowadays, this street food sandwich averages about $3 to $5, depending on the city and where you get them.
Of course, there are places that serve them as a “fancy” sandwich that can cost up to $10.
I am usually appalled by such a price and never get it.
But, one day I fell for the $10 Bahn Mi sandwich. Was it worth it?
As a cook and a foodie, maybe. I still say I could make it better.
Yeah, I still can’t believe I spent $10. That’s way too much for it. It was pretty, but just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped.
I guess I have high expectations when it comes to bahn mi sandwiches. I grew up with them. They are suppose to be a cheap street food that fills you up. I expect more from a $10 bahn mi than I do a cheap banh mi.
So, what is my perfect bahn mi? One with the perfect balance of meat and crispy vegetables. A few nice, full sprigs of cilantro, with a few bites of jalapeno that surprise me as I go.
This pork belly bahn mi really hit the spot. I guess the best bahn mi’s are the ones you make yourself.
There’s something about knowing how much to put into a sandwich that makes it so wonderful. It might be the OCD in me … or the food blogger in me … but I made the perfect bahn mi sandwich.
|Sandwich Week: Pork Belly Bahn Mi|
- 1 pound pork belly, trimmed
- 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and thinly juilenned
- 2 birds eye chili, chopped
- 1½ Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp sake
- 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1½ Tbsp light soy sauce
- ¼ cup Chinese chives, cut into 1 inch pieces
- French baguette (not sourdough) or Vietnamese-style French rolls (we used a French baguette)
- 5 slices of cooked pork belly for each sandwich, more if desired
- 1 cup carrot, juillened
- 1 cup diakon, juillened
- Salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 cucumber sliced thinly, lengthwise
- Soy sauce to taste
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 6 cilantro sprigs
- 1 jalapeno, sliced thinly
- Slice ½ by 2 inch thick slices of pork belly.
- In a heavy bottom pot, place oil, the garlic, juilenned ginger and birds eye chili. Cook for about 1 minute on medium high heat until fragrant.
- Add sugar and mix well. Cook until the sugar has caramelized into a golden brown.
- Add the sake and let cook for about 1 minute.
- Add dark soy and light soy sauce. Mix well.
- Add the pork belly and enough water to cover the pork. Mix well.
- Add chives and mix well.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer for 2 hours, or until the pork belly is tender but still holds it shape.
- Remove pork belly slices from pot and use for sandwiches or eat with rice.
- Mix carrots, diakon, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1½ tablespoon vinegar and salt to taste together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. It sould be perfectly balanced. Not too sweet, salty or tart. Set aside.
- Do the same for the cucumber slices with the remaining sugar, vinegar and salt.
- Place bread under a broiler and toast. Be careful not to burn.
- Slice bread in half lengthwise but don’t cut it all the way through.
- Spread mayonnaise on the bottom.
- Place cucumber slices on the bottom.
- Add pork belly on top.
- Top with jalapeno slices.
- Add cilantro.
- Drizzle some of the sauce from the pork belly mixture.
- Drizzle soy sauce over top.
- Sprinkle fresh ground pepper.
I made sure that every bite would have everything in it. What’s the perfect bite? A bit of crispy bread, a flavorful piece of meat, some crunchy diakon, carrot and cucumber, aromatic cilantro, creamy mayonnaise, and a thin slice of jalapeno. It’s a lot. It’s also the most satisfying thing on the planet.
I hope you understand why I can eat this every day, if my health would let me. It’s amazing in flavor and so good … as long as it doesn’t cost me too much.