Dec 292011
Today’s Reader Guest Post for The Holiday Project:
Nicole and Sheeter from Davis, California
[These two make an awesome team. Sheeter makes the best homemade BBQ sauce and ribs while Nicole bakes up the most delicious treats. It’s always so much fun going on food adventures with them!]


Banh mi (pronounced ‘ben me’ most places [although its southern pronunciation ‘bang me’ is, arguably, way funnier]) literally means bread in Vietnamese. But it’s much more than bread. It’s spicy and sweet, sour and savory, crunchy and chewy … all at once, which is probably why this Southeast Asian sandwich has such a cult-like following. Banh mi shops can be found in virtually any major city like say, San Jose, CA, home to some of the best banh mi outside of Vietnam and, more importantly, Lee’s Sandwiches, the most successful banh mi chain ever. Full disclosure: There may be some bias involved here. San Jose is one of the co-authors’ hometown—and it’s not Sheeter. But if banh mi isn’t within close reach, you can create your own with the right ingredients.It begins with a Vietnamese baguette which, unlike its French counterpart, is individually portioned, made of wheat and/or rice flour, and has a light golden crust. This style of baguette can be found at Asian markets and banh mi shops, but you can also substitute whatever bread you like. It need only be hearty enough to handle all of these fillings:


Banh Mi Sandwich


  • Cilantro
  • Fresh Jalapeno
  • Cucumbers
  • Pickled Carrot and Diakon (Do Chua) – see recipe below
  • Sliced deli meats – Proscuitto, Salame, Ham
  • Liver Pate
  • Soy Sauce


Directions:1. Lightly toast a baguette, slice it in half and spread on a layer of liver pate.
2. Add a few slices of deli meat on top of the pate (We are particularly fond of proscuitto).
3. Lay down 2-3 slices of cucumber before adding a handful of Do Chua.
4. Top it off with cilantro, sliced fresh jalapeno and a quick drizzle of soy sauce.



The great thing about Banh Mi is that it is endlessly configurable. We tried a banh mi breakfast sandwich with fried bacon and a sunny-side up fried egg instead of deli meat. It was fantastic!



Pickled carrot and daikon (Do Chua)
Carrots, shredded, in thin rounds or thin strips
Daikon radish, cut like carrots
Distilled or rice vinegar
Sugar pinch
Salt and pepper pinch

1. Fill cut carrot and daikon into an airtight jar if you plan to keep the do chua for at least a week.
2. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and sugar (depending on desired sweetness) to vinegar. Mix together. The liquid can be diluted with warm water if it the vinegar taste is too overwhelming. 3. 3. Pour the liquid over the carrot and daikon, just enough to cover the vegetables.

As we were assembling these banh mi’s, Sheeter’s roommate Morgan swore repeatedly that he was just going to have ‘a bite’. But after sinking his teeth in one, he held up the sandwich half and asked, “Can I take this?”

We agreed, and concurred that the sandwich was, indeed, as good as Lee’s.

We’re Sheeter and Nicole, and our fanaticism for travel and technology is no secret—but we’re food enthusiasts too! We’re in our last year as undergrads at UC Davis (woo!). Sheeter is studying environmental policy and planning, and putting his transportation specialization to work at Siemens’ Rail Systems Division in Sacramento. But he’d rather be roasting a pig, putting together five variations of carne asada tacos in honor of Cinco de Mayo or making a mean stew. Nicole is studying international relations and art, and back from a quarter in D.C. where she sometimes wrote articles but mostly jumped into piles of fall foliage. She would, likewise, rather be brewing Vietnamese iced coffee or baking up a storm of sweet pies.

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  7 Responses to “‘Banh Mi’ — A Gourmet Vietnamese-Style Sandwich”

  1. Making for lunch tomorrow, yum! Thank you!

  2. […] ‘Banh Mi’ — A Gourmet Vietnamese-Style Sandwich (By readers Sheeter and Nicole from Davis, California) […]

  3. […] bike! Only in Davis. There was a whole group wearing these awesome shirts. I WANT ONEEE! Go Ags! [Nicole and Sheeter also guest […]

  4. All hail the banh mi. But where’s the mayo??

  5. […] All of the awesome group photos were taken by Sheeter!] Posted by Life Tastes Like Food at 12:51 am Tagged with: Adventure, Big Sur, Friends, […]

  6. […] My friends have made this dish in the past during our annual Tahoe trips but this is the first time Nicole and I got to experience this cooking method first hand. It’s so easy!! And the chicken always […]

  7. […] Carolyn, and Nicole pictured above. John (the farmer!) […]

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