Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 254 - Bun Mi

A new sandwich shop opened up down the street from me a few weeks ago and was highly recommended by a Vietnamese acquittance, however, I've never had Vietnamese food before and was a bit frightened. The only reference of Vietnamese food I have is a scene from the movie, "Good Morning Vietnam", where Robin William's character sets his mouth ablaze by eating overly spicy noodles. Not a very encouraging scene.

Upon attending an art festival this weekend, I saw one of the concession stands was that of the Vietnamese restaurant, "Bun Mi" and thought, "Here's my chance to sample a Vietnamese sandwich!". I quickly found myself in line and ordering the "Saigon Special" for a mere five dollars and then questioning my decision as I watched the ingredients being piled on. Having researched the name of the shop for this post, I found the following historical information that made my sandwich taste all the better!

"The Bun Mi (Bánh mì) sandwich originated from the French colonization of Vietnam. Only the rich were able to afford these gourmet sandwiches because all the butter, pate, and ham were imported at that time. After the French departure in 1954, the Vietnamese learned the baking techniques, made smaller baguettes and incorporated Southeast Asian spices, herbs, and vegetables. When you combine that with marinated meats like BBQ pork, grilled beef, and lemongrass chicken, the Bun Mi Sandwich is a very delicious and affordable meal."

My sandwich included only the BBQ pork that tasted more like an awesome spicy bacon and is described as, "The Bun Mi sandwich consists of the French baguette with the addition of BBQ pork, grilled beef, and lemongrass chicken. The meats are also complimented with crispy cucumbers, sweet-tangy shreds of pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, green onions, mayo, and that classic French pâté. Add a line or two of Sriracha chili paste, and this is the best sandwich you'll ever have."

The sandwich was excellent, and surprisingly light and fresh tasting. The meat was thinly cut so I did not feel overly stuffed full of protein. The baguette was a soft crust with just enough crunch to make it the perfect nesting place for the other ingredients. Although I was afraid to try something that sounded very odd to me, it was great! Give a Bun Mi a try!

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