If you happen to live in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Southern California, New York, or anywhere with a Vietnamese population, we hope you have experienced the wonders of Vietnamese Sandwich filled with pickled carrots and daikon, fresh cilantro, and meat or tofu. The sandwiches are crisp, salty, tangy, and sweet, the perfect marriage of French and Vietnamese influences. But if you don't have a local bánh mì shop or just want to make a vegetarian version at home, here's a recipe for a flavor-packed lunch or dinner.
Vietnamese Sandwich (Bánh mì) literally means "bread" and the baguette traditionally used for the sandwich is a Vietnamese spin on the French classic. A combination of rice and wheat flour makes it light and fluffy with a thin, crackly crust. For a home version of the sandwich, it's fine to use any fresh, soft baguette; we usually get ours at a Filipino or Italian bakery. Of course, you can bake your own, too, but avoid using artisan-style breads which tend to be too thick and chewy.
Vietnamese Sandwich fillings include pork, pâté, tofu, or eggs. Our favorite vegetarian version has savory slices of lemongrass and garlic marinated tofu. Fresh fillings and garnishes like do chua (pickled daikon and carrot), cucumber, cilantro, and hot peppers may be adjusted to your liking. And be generous with the mayo! We like to spike it with cilantro and Maggi, but you may also use plain mayo (try homemade) or mix in crushed garlic, chiles, pepper, etc.