First, I’m not even going to bother saying this is a recipe post, because we literally followed this Slate recipe verbatim. Second, have you ever had banh mi? It’s basically a Vietnamese hoagie (or sub, if you prefer that term, but I don’t. I’m from Pittsburgh.) Anyway, there is this place. It’s in Little Italy. It’s called Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli. It used to be called Saigon No. 1. They’ve expanded a bit and apparently changed their name since we first went there three years ago. Not that we were the first people to go there or anything because we most definitely weren’t. But clearly business has boomed since our presence was had. But back to the point: their sandwiches. Banh mi is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich on a baguette that has warm, sweet pork and rich pate, served with slices of cool cucumber, crisp pickled carrots, and a spicy chili sauce. It’s an amazing combination of sweet, savory, fatty, spicy, cool, and crunchy. Totally amazing.
BUT. This post is obviously not that. This post is about our imitation of that amazing sandwich. Matt found this recipe on Slate for a tofu banh mi. We’ve both had tofu before, but we’ve never cooked it before. But since we’re always looking for more vegetarian recipes to make, and we got all of the veggies necessary for this in our CSA baskets, I was all about making this. Also, the tofu cooking method is from Mark Bittman, and he’s basically our recipe god.
I became even more about making this when I discovered that a 14 oz. package of Whole Foods brand tofu is $1.79. Imagine me shouting that number. Because I am. It’s SO CHEAP. Fourteen ounces of pork would cost like $15 at Whole Foods. If I didn’t love cheese and steak, I’d sign up to be a vegan right this second.
And now that we have made and consumed this magical sandwich, I can tell you that it is very, very high on our “make-again-as-soon-as-humanly-possible” list. In fact, I just made that list up, so it’s the only thing on there. It seriously tasted exactly like a real pork banh mi (although Matt’s disagrees that it tastes “exactly like” a real pork banh mi [even though he is the one who said it as we were inhaling them], which is probably true, but you know what I mean). As I said before, we used this Slate recipe exactly so I’m not going to bother walking you through it. Plus, I didn’t take any photos besides the ones that are in this post. And as you can see, these photos were only taken after I had already had a bite. Bottom line: make this sandwich today. Seriously, you won’t regret it.