03 Sep2009

Banh Mi a la Marketman

by Marketman


French bread and Vietnamese ingredients seem like strange bedfellows. And I have to admit, I was always a bit skeptical about the various types of banh mi (sandwiches) that were on offer on the streets of Hanoi or Saigon. So I decided to try a homemade version on my own. First, a light airy baguette, reminiscent of the Vietnamese ones, apparently made with a mixture of wheat and rice flour. I found a decent wheat flour baguette at Breadtalk, of all places. It was lighter than most, and must have just come out of the ovens minutes beforehand. Back home, I sliced a 8 inch piece and opened it up like a hotdog bun…


I added several slices of pate de foie gras to the bottom of the sandwich, topped this with lettuce, some pickled carrots and cucumbers with a sweetish, fish saucy marinade, and some homemade chili peppers in vinegar. Finally some fresh springs of mint and coriander were added to the sandwich. I know, it certainly sounds weird, but surprisingly, it tasted incredibly good. There is something about the unctuous richness of the pate, balanced by the sweetness of the pickles and the spiciness of the chilies that really does work wonders on the palate. Definitely something I would eat again… :)




  1. bearhug0127 says:

    looks delicious…. is it sandwiches or sanwiches?

    Sep 3, 2009 | 11:26 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    bearhug, thanks for the catch, it’s been edited. :)

    Sep 3, 2009 | 11:32 am

  4. betty q. says:

    You forgot the MAGGI seasoning! That is the secret sauce that they usually squirt on the pickled daikon/carrots.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 12:06 pm

  5. Hatari says:

    Shame shame shame for putting your readers through this…vicarious enjoyment isn’t enough..we might end up leading lives of crime. : )

    I have a little torchon purchased from a market in Provence and I will certainly try your version….alone. Hahaha

    Sep 3, 2009 | 12:32 pm

  6. chrisb says:

    There’s a hotdog place in Chicago that has a hoity-toity version of a hotdog on a bun- duck sausage on a bun topped with foie gras slices! It’s definitely on my ‘to eat’ list =)

    Sep 3, 2009 | 12:58 pm

  7. Meg Mationg says:

    Banh Mi, my favorite sandwich :)

    Sep 3, 2009 | 1:11 pm

  8. Fred says:

    do our local Vietnamese Restaurants offer Banh mi? it looks good, and is probably healthier than our regular lunch fare.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 1:49 pm

  9. Lava Bien says:

    @ Chrisb, must be talking about Hot Doug’s @ 3324 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618

    Yup it’s great, and Doug is a cool guy too. Fries deep fried in Duck Fat too.

    They have some good ones in San Jose, CA, I tend to like them better than the ones in Saigon (haven’t been to Hanoi yet, same with their Pho.

    Good looking sandwich though.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 1:53 pm

  10. sheena says:

    that looks very healthy…:D

    by the way MarketMan, you’re my inspiration to my blog. Thanks :)

    Sep 3, 2009 | 2:34 pm

  11. Joey Pacheco says:

    baguette, pate de foie gras, lettuce, pickled carrots and cucumbers with a sweetish, fish saucy marinade, chili peppers in vinegar… prepared by a Pinoy foodie… “global” sandwich ito! :-)

    Sep 3, 2009 | 2:42 pm

  12. VickieB says:

    Yum! There used to be a restaurant behind Sulo Hotel in QC called “Saigon’s Best” that served fairly decent banh mi sandwiches. They closed down a couple of years ago though and I don’t know if they’ve reopened elsewhere. Any news?

    Sep 3, 2009 | 4:13 pm

  13. mdg says:

    that looks yummy!!!

    Good to know that the baguette @ breadtalk is good, i’m always wondering it if it’s good and just always end up with my fav floss :)

    Sep 3, 2009 | 4:37 pm

  14. Jun b says:

    MM, You may want to have a topic of what is your most unusual food that you put on your baguette/Pandesal.

    Mine are Longanisa, Adobo (Chicken or Pork) with Mayo, Pansit (Hahaha can’t imagine I still do it), Bakwa (BBQ pork from Singapore).

    Sep 3, 2009 | 5:49 pm

  15. Connie C says:

    Go, MM, go! My favorite banh mi #3 at my favorite Vietnamese deli replicated at home.

    For more on banh mi bites:


    Want to experiment on different fillings? Here’s how:

    Sep 3, 2009 | 6:11 pm

  16. millet says:

    love banh mi, but have never had it with foie gras, just the usual pork barbecue or vietnamese sausage (don’t even want to know what it’s made of).

    i can imagine the swwet-sour pickled veggies as a perfect foil for the foie gras – to remove the “umay” (“pawala sa bidli”).

    Sep 3, 2009 | 6:14 pm

  17. chrisb says:

    Lava Bien, yup that’s it, Hot Doug’s. Thanks, can’t remember the name earlier.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 6:17 pm

  18. Skunkeye says:

    I call banh mi “crack sandwiches” – so good! Somehow, its never the same when I try to make them myself though. Unfortunately, most Vietnamese restaurants around DC/Baltimore don’t carry them on the menu, sticking to the usual pho (which is great but you can’t stick it in your knapsack to eat later). There’s an amazing place – my Disneyland, called Eden Center in VA which is a large strip mall chock full of Vietnamese restaurants and stores – where you can find many different banh mi delis – but that involves a trip to the suburbs. in NYC, the banh mi trend has picked up fast – I’ve been encouraging all my Vietnamese friends to spread the word to get banh mi vendors in downtown DC and Baltimore.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 6:26 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    skunkeye, I was saw a special on that Eden Center… looked really interesting. I love Vietnamese food. So good. millet, in Vietname, sometimes there is a liverwurst like pate that goes into the sandwich. I suspect the roots of this now commoners sandwich was a foie gras version from the time the French were in power… Connie C, thanks for the links! Junb, I did have a post on that topic a long time ago, link here. The favorites were interesting. mdg, I have to admit I was surprised by the breadtalk baguette, lighter than others that are more tradtional or authentic, but good for some sandwiches.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 6:38 pm

  20. kiko says:

    This is one of my favourite sandwiches…apart from pate i also add various vietnamese pork cold cuts…widely available downunder due to a sizeable Vietnamese community.. thanks MM!

    Sep 3, 2009 | 8:38 pm

  21. Vicky Go says:

    Foie gras Banh Mi, huh? Interesting! I’m waiting to see the rest of the “101 Uses for Foie Gras” if your touchon lasts that long – at the rate you’re going, debatable!
    This blog is best food porn yet!

    Sep 3, 2009 | 10:07 pm

  22. silly lolo says:

    I go to get banh-mi just so I can hang out and look at the waitress with the long slit
    dress! You gotta have your priorities in the right place! One of these days I will find out what is beyond that slit.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 10:16 pm

  23. happyman says:

    Just a couple of weeks ago, we drove for an hour just to get our fix of ‘Saigon Sub’. This is our fave sandwich. How could anything top a sandwhich with liver pate, butter, pickled veggies, cilantro and Vietnamese cold cuts (or meatballs or lemongrass sausage) plus the spreadable chillies. Yum yum yum yum yum.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 10:25 pm

  24. Anna Banana says:

    That looks like one healthy sandwich! Minus thepate de foie gras! Will try to make one with roasted chicken in place of the pate.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 10:53 pm

  25. psychomom says:

    have got to try local banh mi available here (northeast)!! always wondered what they taste like. if only they looked as good as yours MM!!!!! great pictures by the way.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 10:57 pm

  26. Christina says:

    MM, it’s interesting that your banh mi experiences weren’t so good in Vietnam.

    Banh mi is so amazingly good here in New York and has a big following of cheapie foodies, I think of it as being a foodie delight (for the reasons you say about the one you made — the combo of richness, sweet, spicy, and pickled) but I heard from a friend in Vietnam that the ones available where she was just were not that good, not like the ones you get in New York. Ironic, no? So it’s interesting that you too weren’t tempted by the ones you saw in Vietnam.

    Next time toast the French bread — that’s another component of banh mi I love that makes them so addictive — when the baguetee is crispy and a little warm, to mix with taste and feel of the soft fatty meat and crunchy pickles.

    I guess it’s one of those cultural fusion things that is now uniquely Vietnamese, the French bread + Vietnamese flavors combo, kind of like their particular type of coffee there (the French-derived espresso + Asian-style condensed milk). I love that cultural mixing when I see it in Filipino food.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 11:18 pm

  27. Christina says:

    And now I want bahn mi! Your posts are too mouthwatering MM!

    Sep 3, 2009 | 11:20 pm

  28. ted says:

    Out of curiosity, i once ordered a Sardine Banh Mi, It’s sardine with tomato sauce and the regular pickled veggie stuff they put on it, I think the sardine they put may have come out of a “Ligo” can, lol, I was amazed at the taste, it was quite good.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 11:32 pm

  29. jun b says:

    opps yeah I read the post of pandesal but I guess my 256kb memory failed :). yup its interesting to know what we put on our bread.

    Sep 4, 2009 | 12:04 am

  30. Pecorino1 says:

    Never heard of nor tasted banh mi before but it sure looks (and probably tastes) just like the popular local sandwich I had in Laos called lao pate. No curious coincidence here as Laos, along with Vietnam and Cambodia, was part of the former French Indochina. Lao pate is basically a generous shmearing of liver pate on a thick bed of lettuce, shredded carrots, herbs, with a vinegary dressing all stuffed into a sliced warm crusty french baguette. It is delicious and very filling. I loved it.

    Sep 4, 2009 | 1:35 am

  31. betty q. says:

    Millet: are you referring to the one that looks like a bavarian meatloaf or headcheese. If it is the bavarian meatloaf look-a-like…it is just llean pork ground up, potato starch, fish sauce and a bunch of other stuff that esapes me now but I will look for it later. it is a recipe handed down to me by a dear Vietnamese friend. It is doable at home. You can make a whole kaboodle and freeze it too! If it the headacheese, it is like the pata hamon filling with strips of pork skin ccoked or boiled. Do not throw away the broth you cooked it in…it is full of the gelatinous thingey that yu will need later to let it set.

    So, which one are you talking about?

    Sep 4, 2009 | 2:03 am

  32. natie says:

    that is A sandwich!makes a tasty meal.
    silly lolo,drop some diamonds on the floor and you’d have a better view.

    Sep 4, 2009 | 2:11 am

  33. NYCMama says:

    Part of the fun when I order my banh mi is watching them make it. My local purveyor has what looks to me like an old ice cream freezer with compartments, with the various ingredients inside. First they put mayo on both sides of the baguette, then they put the meats, then they toast it in a toaster oven face up, then they put in the vegetables, wrap it up, and voila — my dinner! There is a fancy place in NYC with a version of bahn mi that uses very tender, thinly sliced pork belly instead of the usual meats, haven’t tried it yet. It’s also more than 3 times the price of my neighborhood banh mi!

    Sep 4, 2009 | 3:59 am

  34. Bong says:

    Hmmmm… this makes me want to go to Lee’s Sandwiches at Little Saigon for a Banh Mi although yours looks yummier!!!

    Sep 4, 2009 | 10:03 am

  35. millet says:

    sillylolo, you are silly and naughty at the same time!

    bettyq, i used to make pata hamon (my dad’s recipe), and now that you’ve brought it up, am thinking of making it again sometime soon. thanks!

    Sep 4, 2009 | 2:35 pm

  36. ariel says:

    San Jose/Silicon Valley has some good vietnamese sandwich places. The key is crispiness of the baguet and also the pickled vegetables. I like more daikon than carrots on mine. plus they use liver spread and good head cheese. in little saigon in sf when i worked for a project in the state of california, there was a hole in wall store that had lines every lunch time for sandwiches. The vietnamese usually eat this with beef stew in carrot soup.

    Sep 4, 2009 | 2:38 pm

  37. ted says:

    millet, would you mind sharing your pata hamon recipe?

    Sep 5, 2009 | 1:18 am

  38. Riza Arellano says:

    I love banh mi, my mom duped a recipe from her Vietnamese hair stylist once, and her stylist suggested to put liver spread on the baguettes. Needless to say it tasted like the ones we had at the Vietnamese restaurant. You should try it, just a suggestion…

    Sep 5, 2009 | 4:43 am

  39. san says:

    Yummy…I can still remember hunting for the Lee’s Sandwiches stores and branches all over LA and suburbs….we brought them to the beaches, tours and then ate more at night….tried all their varieties. San

    Sep 5, 2009 | 8:29 am

  40. maila says:

    chrisb and lava bien, i love the duck hotdog with foie gras topping at hot doug’s. mmmmmm. except that my gout flares up whenever i eat one of those lol.

    Sep 5, 2009 | 9:29 am

  41. connie says:

    Love Banh Mi and the smelly burp ala longanisa burp afterwards. Thanks, was wondering what to do tomorrow, will go and get me some Banh Mi!

    Sep 6, 2009 | 1:42 pm

  42. Marketfan says:

    millet, i second ted’s request…how do you make pata hamon?

    Sep 7, 2009 | 10:16 pm

  43. Tony Bu says:

    Betty Q, hasn’t the Maggi seasoning (soy-sauce-like) product been pulled out of the market? Can’t see any in major supermarkets in Robinsons Galleria,Megamall, Cherry, Landmark Makati.

    Sep 10, 2009 | 4:17 pm

  44. betty q. says:

    Tony Bu: I wasn’t aware if it was pulled out of the stores there. It is still available here (I think!). I will go out in a few minutes and check it the availabiity. The one I have at home was purchased months ago. What am I talking about…I just bought a few sandwiches and she still uses it. So, it must be available here!

    Sep 15, 2009 | 7:00 am

  45. gia says:

    If you happen to visit Puerto Princesa, Banh Mi is simply called as French bread ….the bread is made of rice flour so it has a crunchy outer layer and very soft inside. There are different variations of this sandwich but the most popular ones have beef stew or pork barbecue (marinated in vinegar and lemon grass) as fillings.

    Nov 30, 2009 | 3:22 pm

  46. Allan Tulod says:

    I missed banh mi when I was in SAIGON ? i Dont know where should I find selling Banh Mi here in MANILA?

    May 5, 2011 | 12:39 am


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