Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meatball Banh Mi


There was a time when I strongly considered naming this blog “Beng, Me.”  It was a play on banh mi, but I quickly realized that most, if not all, non-Vietnamese speaking individuals pronounce banh mi as “bawn mee” rather than the correct pronunciation that most closely sounds like “beng mee” or “ben mee.”  For the linguist, the official IPA pronounciation is [ɓǎːɲ mî].  I find it funny how the Western world can get the pronunciation of pho down pretty well (approximately “fuh”), but butcher banh mi.

Pronunciation aside, my favorite style of banh mi is the classic combo typically filled with cold cuts, headcheese, pate, homemade Vietnamese mayo, and the standard fixings.  However, I was craving some Vietnamese meatballs and decided to make meatball banh mi and use the bretzel that I made that day instead of a baguette.


The meatballs consisted of freshly ground pork shoulder seasoned to taste with garlic, fish sauce, and sugar.  If you’re unsure about the seasoning levels and don’t like the idea of licking or consuming raw pork, simply take a small blob of meat and microwave it a little until its cooked and taste it.  The meatballs can be grilled or broiled in the oven on a broiler pan.


In addition to the bretzel, another departure from tradition was the use of giardiniera in place of jalapenos, pickled daikons, and pickled carrots as I love giardiniera and sometimes find raw jalapenos overpowering.  Also, I garnished the sandwich with avocado to add a rich creaminess in lieu of fresh Vietnamese mayo.  Unfortunately, I was out of eggs that day and unable to make Vietnamese mayo.  If you’ve never had Vietnamese mayo, it tends to be eggier and richer than your typical mayo.  I personally much prefer Vietnamese style mayo.


So in the end, my Vietnamese-German-Italian hybrid banh mi turned out well.  Usually the hard crust of a baguette tears the roof of my mouth up when biting into the sandwich.  The bretzel totally eliminated this problem and added another layer of sweetness to each bite.  The giardiniera and avocado were worthy substitutes for classic fixings, but I there is just not competition when it comes to using fresh Vietnamese mayo versus something from a jar.

1 comment:

  1. Great option for this epic sandwich! However, I like to stay faithful to the regular pulled pork Banh Mi! Check out a detailed scan of this sandwich at
    Will definitely get your mouth watering