Our family’s favorite sandwiches when I was growing up in the 40’s and 50’s? Pimiento cheese, tuna salad, bologna and spam, grilled cheese, and hot dogs were old standbys. My Daddy made the best hamburgers ever in his Bus Station Cafe. Other than bologna and spam, I still have a fondness for all those. But our family has a new hands down favorite: Bahn Mi, or a Vietnamese sandwich. The ingredients in this photo are ready to stack into crusty French bread. I like to use leftover pork tenderloin to slice into this sandwich, but freshly grilled is fine, too. The traditional bread is the French baguette, but I like to use Mexican style Bolillo from our local supermarket which are crusty with a puffy light bread inside each oval roll. We are not alone in our taste for these sandwiches. They have become so popular that many fans declare them a favorite. There is even a website for this craze: Battle of the Bahn Mi: Finding, Feasting, and Making Vietnamese Pork Sandwiches. www.battleofthebahnmi.com
First, make pickled carrots and daikon radish to use as a condiment.
Pickled Carrots and Daikon
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 Daikon radish, peeled and sliced very thin
3 teaspoons sea salt
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
Mix sliced carrots and daikon with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 Tablespoon of the sugar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes so that moisture begins to seep from the vegetables. Rinse well and drain.
In another bowl, mix vinegar, water, sugar, and salt until sugar and salt dissolve. Pour over vegetables and let them sit for an hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
1 pork tenderloin. (I buy the tenderloins already marinated, 2 in a package)
Carrot and Daikon pickles
1 English cucumber or 2 Baby cucumbers, sliced
½ cup Light mayonnaise with olive oil
2 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Grill pork tenderloin on a hot grill for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside and toast sliced baguette or rolls until crusty and heated through.
Mix mayo and chili sauce before spreading on top half of bread. Slice pork and arrange on bottom half. Top with carrot and daikon pickles, cucumber slices and cilantro. Cover with top bread half, slice diagonally, and serve with extra chili sauce or sriracha.