I grew up in a small suburb in Sydney called Cabramatta. It is a thriving, family-oriented Vietnamese metropolis. Taking a stroll through the shopping centre can be best described as, “a cleaned up version of Saigon.” The streets are lined with bakeries, sweet shops, tiny restaurants, grocery shops and many other places touting to make the best vietnamese products outside of the motherland.
When I was in primary school mum use to walk my sisters and I home almost everyday. There were two different routes that we could take. One was a quick walk through suburban streets and the other was a longer walk through the shopping centre.
I always secretly hoped that we would walk through the shopping centre. It gave me ample opportunity to put on the desperately-hungry-act so that I could weasel a few dollars out of mama’s wallet to buy whatever sweetie that took my fancy. I would almost always buy the vietnamese baguette roll called Banh Mi – pronounced bun-mee.
Banh Mi is a sandwich that is a product of french colonialism in Indochina. It has a combination of french ingredients (baguette, pate, mayonnaise) and vietnamese elements (fresh coriander, pickled vegetables, chili). The meat portion consists of slices of cha lua (also known as vietnamese devon) and thit nguoi (best described as vietnamese ham). However these fillings vary according to personal taste and can even include barbecued meats.
To this day I still crave a roll of banh mi as an after-work snack. It is also a very affordable at just under $5.00 (price depending on the vendor and perhaps how many hats the chef has).
Pizzaboy and I had a lot of fun making these. I realised that these would be fantastic at large gatherings. You can prepare the ingredients and assemble the baguettes an hour or two in advance.
500g Vietnamese Cha Lua (Vietnamese devon usually found wrapped in banana leaves)
500g Vietnamese Thit Nguoi (Vietnamese ham usually found wrapped in a layer of fat)
250g pickled carrots and white radish (you can buy these at your local Vietnamese grocer)
100g Vietnamese Pork Pate or French Pork Pate
2 medium cucumbers, sliced thinly
1 bunch fresh coriander
3 stalks spring onions
a dozen dinner rolls
Salt and pepper
chopped chili (optional)
1/ Prepare ingredients as pictured above
2/ Turn the grill on and heat the dinner rolls until they are golden and crunchy.
3/ Wait until the dinner rolls have cooled down and slice them in half, still leaving the length of it intact.
4/ Coat the bottom layer with the pate
5/ Layer the meat
6/ Add the pickled vegetables, coriander, spring onion and chili. Sprinkle on Maggi seasoning and salt and pepper.
Tips from the cookbookmaniac
* This is a very basic and lazy recipe. I live near a Vietnamese grocer that stocked everything that I needed. If you want to make the baguette from scratch you can get the recipe from Secrets of the Red Lantern by Pauline and Luke Nguyen . It is one of my favourite cookbooks and has a wonderful stories about Cabramatta.
* There are many ingredients that I am missing. Vietnamese mayonnaise, head cheese etc. But the beauty of a sandwich is that you can add and subtract things according to your personal taste. I have never really been a fan of the vietnamese mayo and therefore excluded it.
* Pizzaboy ate 6 of these in a row which is the equivalent of 3 normal sized baguettes. He is a piggy. oink oink.
ravenouscoupleMay 5, 2010 at 6:15 am
these would be gobbled up so fast
fantastic entry, thank you!
foodwinkMay 5, 2010 at 7:07 am
I love Cabra (although I often feel lost there!). Thanks for sharing – I want to sink my teeth into one!
Now, share with me. What’s your favourite Banh Mi shop?
AnhMay 5, 2010 at 8:20 am
Wow! That banh mi looks amazing! Love love!
(I don’t care if some ingredients are missing either. I mean, as long as it has meat + pickled vegs + the Viet bread!). Thanks for a delicious entry! 🙂
Ellie (Almost Bourdain)May 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm
Perfect finger food! Always love banh mi but this miniature version is just fantastic!
Conor @ HoldtheBeefMay 5, 2010 at 2:18 pm
Mini banh mi!!! So good! I think it would be difficult not to eat 6 in a row, right?
I really need to get to Cabramatta one of these days. My list of places to go in Sydney is getting a little unmanageable.
Angie’s RecipesMay 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm
6 in a row? Wow…that must be very delicious…
JacqMay 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm
Yum! I love Bahn Mi and I especially love these cute mini versions! Do you know if you can find the ham and devon from your regular Asian grocery or is it specifically from Vietnamese groceries?
Amy @ cookbookmaniacMay 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm
Hi ravenouscouple! Thank you for the compliments. I had a lot of fun making these and I am very happy to be a part of Delicious Vietnam!
Hi Foodwink! Thanks for dropping by! Cabra can be overwhelming and extreme, but that’s one of the many elements that make it so fantastic. I love the pork roll from the bread shop in the Woolworths building. It faces the street. They are really fresh and generous with the stuffing 😀 The chicken rolls from Steve & Rose just opposite the station if pretty spectacular too!
Hi Anh! Thanks for the compliments! I really like the idea of a vietnamese blogging community. I ♥ Vietnamese food
Hi Ellie! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. This mini version came about because I was super lazy. They turned out fantastic. I am really happy.
Hi Conor! Cabra can be quite overwhelming for the first visit. Come with an empty stomach and a fully charged camera. It’ll be crazy!
Hi Angie! I’m lucky I have a fiancee who will eat a puddle of mud if I made it. He must really like me 😀
Hello Jacq! Thanks for visiting my little blog! *wave* The devon can be found in most asian grocers wrapped in banana leaves. The ham will be harder to come by but still possible. You can substitute it with sour pork.
Yen@foodforfourMay 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm
The mini banh mi looks amazing!
I used to catch the trains from Cab to work and chicken banh mi across the station was my choice for breakfast everyday. I haven’t been there ages, steve and rose are they from the store on the left?
These days my parents brings me the meatballs banh mi they buy from Canley heights and they are really good.
MariaMay 6, 2010 at 6:10 am
This is why I love Sydney! I’m learning so much about different cuisines all the time! And there is still soooo much to learn I almost get panicky just thinking about it! 😀 Love the idea, this would make a killer lunch!
angieMay 6, 2010 at 9:22 am
Aww they are too cute! It’s been too long since I’ve had of these babies. Mum used to make an awesome mayo when we used to have a bakery and her pate was so good. Childhood memories… =)
OohLookBelMay 6, 2010 at 11:03 am
Such adorable banh mi – just the right size, too! I love the Vietnamese pate, can you tell us where you get it?
YWMay 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm
Thanks for sharing this recipe Amy!! Love these Viet pork rolls… Definitely have to try making my own!! Cabra probably a bit far for me, I’ll try Flemington grocery shops.. I know they have the Cha Lua n Thit Nguoi, just not sure if they have the pickled vege n pate… hmmmm…
sweetlifeMay 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm
I love these, mini versions…pate-yum
KatherineMay 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm
I love Vietnamese Rolls. They are so good. Now I know that they are called Banh Mi. I’ve seen some shops with a homemade dipping sauce. I always make sure they put extra ehehe.
chocolatesuzeMay 7, 2010 at 1:43 am
i used to buy the pate from the banh mi store and eat it with a spoon..
kimMay 9, 2010 at 6:58 am
Thanks for visiting my blog! What a wonderful tutorial you wrote. And I love how you julienned the carrots and radishes. 🙂
Tuty @ScentofspiceMay 10, 2010 at 6:15 am
What a delicious looking sandwich! A complete meal in 2 bites?
I love the photographs… they’re making me really hungry (and I just had a big breakfast LOL)
Ana PowellMay 11, 2010 at 4:12 am
Great work, lovely photos.
Awesome recipe x
penny aka jeroxieMay 11, 2010 at 10:26 pm
The mini buns are really really CUTE!
M.May 13, 2010 at 1:35 am
These look fantastic…..really tasty 🙂
Lucy ChenMay 13, 2010 at 4:17 am
Looks soooo good!
melissaMay 13, 2010 at 4:45 am
What is devon? Also, what chili do you use. These look great. Thanks Melissa
pandaMay 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm
i’m so bringing this as a dish to the next party i go to! so easy to make and they look fantastic!
LisaJuly 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm
Hi, How many does this recipe make approximately?