Update: originally posted in August while I did research on my Buford Highway project for Where’s 2014 Guestbook. Since then, I’ve purchased numerous bahn mi to go…I’m officially addicted!
Vietnamese food was greatly influenced by the French. Following the country’s invasion by Napoleon and his troups in 1859, a colony called Cochin China was formed along the Mekong delta, later renamed Indochina. This occupation lasted through 1885, during which time many French cooking techniques and ingredients were introduced to the Vietnamese, including pate’ and croissants.
In fact, French breads like the traditional baguette have become a mainstay in Vietnamese cuisine. The bahn mi is a perfect example. Headcheese, grilled pork, and other meats are stuffed into a freshly baked baguette with pickled carrots, cucumbers, mayo, cilantro, and a drizzle of fish sauce, creating a sandwich that is crunchy inside and out.
One can always find freshly baked baguettes at Lee’s Bakery, along with bahn mi for only $2.99 each, to go. Or, like me, enjoy your bahn mi in their nondescript dining room lined with coolers and shelves of drinks, sweets, and specialty items. On the way out, I picked up a little cake filled with mung bean paste. Although I like the flavor of sweetened mung beans, I found the cake itself too sweet. I guess it’s an acquired taste I haven’t acquired yet.
However, my bahn mi with grilled pork was exceptional! I discovered a razor thin slice of jalapeno tucked inside my sandwich, as I removed the cucumber spear. A handful of cilantro, stems included, along with fatty strips of pork, was stuffed into the crisp baguette, prepared with a generous slathering of homemade mayo. Although the sandwich is rather large, it somehow comes off as light. I easily ate the whole thing…and loved it.
4005C Buford Highway 404-728-1008