Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Banh Mi

320 Main's Banh Mi.

Technically, Banh Mi isn’t a sandwich – it’s just bread.

Good luck convincing anyone of that in the US, where the French-style baguette from Vietnam has become synonymous with the sandwiches that are made with it. Indeed, drive through any neighborhood with a large Vietnamese population (such as Garden Grove, right up the 22 freeway from Seal Beach) and you’ll see plenty of shops advertising Banh Mi sandwiches. Usually these sandwiches are labeled as Banh Mi with whatever their filling may be. For example, you’ll see things like Banh Mi Thit – meaning a Banh Mi baguette filled with meat (pork belly being the most common).

As with so many sandwiches, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to good Banh Mi. There’s a mix of cultures going on here, and so we find that French baguette a necessity – and little else. Typically you’ll find some other French influences like mayonnaise and maybe even pate paired with cilantro, peppers, and pickled vegetables. This fusion of East and West in sandwichular form (this is our blog and we’ll make up our words as we see fit) has been called “the world’s greatest sandwich” as well as “the world’s greatest street food.”

With so many accolades being thrown about, how can 320 Main not indulge in trying our own hand at the Banh Mi?
We take a French roll and fill it with kurobuta pork belly, cucumber, jalapeños, cilantro, and pickled carrots and onions. Add some Sriracha hot sauce and jalapeño aioli in the place of regular mayo to the mix and you’ve got a sandwich that packs a wallop of flavor. Paired with our Sriracha coleslaw (if you wanted some more spice) or our house French fries and a cool cocktail like our new Gimlet, this sandwich will definitely help you relax into summer .

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare  runs, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

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