On this sunny Sunday, Nathan and I joined some friends (as well as the entire city of San Francisco, it seemed) in Golden Gate Park for some free live music, courtesy of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Really, how can we turn down a line-up of Bonnie Prince Billy, Iron & Wine, and Gogol Bordello? And of course, you must know by now that I would never even think of setting out for a day in the park without packing some rations. Due to lack of time, though, we decided to just walk through the Sunset and buy some Vietnamese sandwiches to snack on. Which then reminded me that I have delayed blogging about Banh Mi for far too long.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t discover the glories of Banh Mi until I started living on a grad student budget. Until I tasted my first Banh Mi, I would never have believed that a hearty, delicious lunch can be had for $3-$3.50 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now that my eyes have been opened, I’m totally obsessed and can seriously eat one of these every day and be happy as a kitty.
You might wonder with Banh Mi already so cheap, why would you even want to make your own? Well, because this cruel, cruel world has decided not to put Vietnamese sandwich shops anywhere near my school! So until the school’s cafe wises up, I either have to trek downtown every afternoon or to take more drastic measures and make Banh Mi at home.
You can use fillings like roast pork, roast chicken, or even tofu. This time, I chose to make my own meatballs using a recipe from Viet World Kitchen. While I was over there, I also found an excellent recipe for making your own pickled carrots and daikon. Thanks Andrea!
As for the rolls, the ones bought from Vietnamese markets work best because they’re made with a mix of rice and wheat flours. If that sounds too crazy, you can also cut up a sweet baguette or some other crusty French bread – it’ll just be slightly chewier. To score major points, though, make your own! (Recipe below)