I was lucky enough to go to George Brown Culinary when it was still in Kensington Market in Toronto. One the great cheap eats in the area were the $1 Saigon subs they sold at a shop near Dundas and Spadina. Since those days the Bánh Mì sandwich has become popular all over Toronto and any major city in the States with a South East Asian population.
Originating in the colonial French cities of Saigon, Vientiene, and Phnom Penh, these sandwiches consist of a French style baguette called bánh mì in Vietnam, khao jee in Laos, and nam pang in Cambodia. The Bánh mì baguette recipe was modified to include rice flour to help it stand up to the heat and humidity in this region making them extra light and crispy. These special baguettes are filled with locally flavoured meats, pates, and cold cuts as well as chili, coriander and a carrot daikon salad known as do chua and sold on the streets and markets. For an interesting and in depth look at the French baguette in Indochina please read this article at http://wwwbaguetteindochina-somkieth.blogspot.com/
|Baguette Cart in Luang Prabang|
|Typical Khao Jee Ingredients, photo from baguetteindochina-somkieth.blogspot|
2. Pha Lau - Pig ear and pork belly
3. Nem Nướng - garlic ground pork patties
4. Thịt Nướng -Vietnamese marinated grilled pork usually pork shoulder or pork butt.
5. Gà Chà Bong or Gà Nướng - shredded or grilled chicken
6. Xíu Mại - soft pork meatballs cooked in a sweet tomato based sauce.
7 Tau Hu Chay - tofu and vegetarian style
9. Bì - shredded pork skin
10. Batệ Chà- Viet- flavoured pork pate
|Chả Bi made in Toronto|
One of the most popular cold cuts in a banh mi is Chả Bi or Chả Lụa (Pork Roll). Ground up pork is packed into a roll and wrapped with banana leaves then steamed or boiled, hence producing a dense bologna type “pork roll”. These can be bought in the refrigerator section of most Asian markets.
Nem Chua (Sour Pork) is also common. Little squares of sour pork meat are seasoned with a mixture of vinegar, yeast, fish sauce, garlic, salt, sugar and pepper. The mixture is then wrapped into small squares and left to pickle and ferment for about 7 days.
|Chả Bi sliced|
|waiting for banh mi|
|where I go most often|
|selection of cold takeaway items at Nguyen Huong on Spadina|
To make banh mi at home, any selection of cold cuts like bologna and chicken loaf or BBQ pork, topped with chili sauce, coriander and homemade do chua on a baguette will taste pretty authentic.
Do Chua Recipe1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Makes about 2 cups
Makes about 2 cups
1 small daikon peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp fish sauce
1. Place the carrot and daikon in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt . Toss the vegetables and let sit for about 5 minutes.
2. Drain and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to expel extra water.
3. To make the brine, combine the sugar, vinegar, fish sauce and the water and stir to dissolve the sugar.
4. Pour over the vegetables. The brine should cover the vegetables. Let the vegetables marinate for at least 1 hour