Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bánh mì thịt

Review from a neutral Swiss taster
published in The Economist – European edition, June 12th-18th 2010 issue, page 58

Sent in by a friend (Merci Fongue!)

When the most serious and austere magazine, The Economist, forecasts some futher weakness for the Euro, I agree with all the traders ‘round the globe that we ought to sell the Euro and buy the US dollar or maybe the Yen. But allow me some puzzlement when its correspondent wrote, assertive and confident, that in his/her view (we have no clue on his/her gender or ethnicity, as The Economist's articles are never signed) “there are only three true great sandwiches in the world” (and in this order) :

- the Vietnamese “bánh mì thịt”,
- the Ashkenazi “bagel with lox”,
- and the oyster “po’boy”, a New Orleans creation with the fat, sweet oysters from the Gulf of Mexico.

Out of the 850’000 issues so far published by The Economist, we have to recognize that at least 845’000 had significant Jewish readership. So “Bagel & Lox” definitively must be on the list of the best sandwiches in the world, if only for solid marketing reasons. So be it (actually, it's really not bad at all).

Louisiana was badly hit by Katharina five years ago and is now swamped by British Petroleum. Out of sheer Christian charity and solidarity, we’ll cetainly taste the “oyster po’boy” and generously patronize New Orleans oysters whenever we'll have the chance.

So why was “bánh mì thịt” mentioned here not with, but ahead of the others? Because it's simply good and well-informed gourmet people love it. There is no other reason than that. There is really no match for this Vietnamese inspired mix of French baguette, Swiss Maggi sauce, stuffing of your liking (chả lụa, pâté, xã xiú, gà nướng, etc.) and added with home-made pickles (đồ chua), aromatic herbs lovingly grown on some mid-altitude plateau (ngò, ớt…) What more can we say, unless we drool in our own words?

P.S. Uber-hip Virgin America is reportedly serving banh mi sandwiches inflight.

Recipe to make your own Bánh mì thịt :