This is a meal that Bob prepared for Jenny's birthday. Driven by his love of Vietnamese food (see here), he figured out how to prepare Bahn Mi sandwiches. We've noticed that in large metropolitan areas, Bahn Mi's are quite hip, especially in areas like southern California where there are large Vietnamese populations. There are entire sandwich shops devoted to them. There are only one or two places in all of Utah to purchase them, so we make our own.
One thing I love about this meal is its historical significance. When I first heard of this dish I wondered how an Asian sandwich could be required to be on a French baguette. Then I remembered the French colonization of Vietnam in the first half of the 20th century. This is surely one of the best things that came out of that relationship.
At most of the Bahn Mi shops we've visited, the sandwiches are spread with chicken pate. Bob's not a fan of pate, so we make them without. When you eat this, you will see why it's Jenny's favorite meal. It's a combination of flavors that is unique and unbeatable.
Bahn Mi Sandwiches
2 pounds of pork shoulder, thinly sliced (we have found thinly sliced pork butt steaks or chops that are cheap and that worked quite well. You can also buy thinly sliced pork at the Mexican market. Or have the butcher thin-slice a butt or shoulder roast for you. This works a lot better if the roast is boneless.)
8 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Tablespoons of sugar
5 tablespoons fish sauce (this is available at all Asian markets and some super markets. It stinks, but trust me when I say you will like the finished product)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients except the pork. Stir well. Marinate the pork in the sauce for several hours. Then grill until lightly browned on the barbecue. Chop into small pieces.
Sandwich ingredients (in order of application):
A baguette, cut in half length-wise
Mayonnaise, spread on one side of the baguette
Grilled Pork, place on top of the mayonnaise
Cilantro, put a thin layer of leaves over the pork
Pickled carrots - marinate matchstick-sized carrots in the nuoc cham sauce
Nuoc cham sauce, see recipe below
On the other side of baguette:
Soy sauce, drizzled across the bread
Cucumber - layer a thin row of thinly sliced cucumbers
Red onion - thinly sliced, layered over the cucumbers
Black pepper - sprinkle over vegetables
Nuoc Cham Sauce
(Note: This is also an incredible egg roll dip)
¼ cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup fish sauce
½ cup water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, thinly sliced or julienned (depending on your preference)
1-2 teaspoons chili paste
Mix together and drizzle over the sandwich. You will wonder how in the world something that smells like that can taste so good.