I don’t know why it is, but lately I’ve been on a major Saigon Sub kick. Also known as Bánh Mì, this Vietnamese-French fusion sandwich is so refreshingly healthy and delicious, with multiple layers of ingredients that each contribute an interesting and complimentary contrast of flavors and textures. If you’ve never had a Bánh Mì sandwich before, you need to get to your nearest Vietnamese restaurant and try it. Good, good stuff! So good that I now got my mother and aunt hooked on it.
Every Saturday morning I do my usual song and dance, hitting up the KCC Farmers’ Market where I can find just about all the necessary ingredients to make it at unbeatable prices. First of all I make sure I’ve got its two key components: fresh-baked Bánh Mì Parisian baguettes and Do Chua, which are those Vietnamese style pickled julienned Daikon and Carrots. The place to get these are from the Ba-Le Bakery booth, where a bag of four Bánh Mì French baguette rolls costs just $2 and a 12 oz. container of the Do Chua is just $3. Cheap!
And Ba-Le’s Bánh Mì French baguette rolls are by far the best. They’re baked fresh and have that very desirable crunchy crust on the outside, with just the right balance of glutenous chew on the inside, while being supple and well balanced in density and porosity.The only problem I find with these French Rolls is they mold quickly when left out on the counter. Like after about three days. So after two days, I already put them in the refrigerator, to which they keep pretty good for about a week. Of course fresh is best though.
As for the Do Chua, I just checked the Aina Haina Foodland, and they don’t carry it. Not sure about Safeway, although I’m sure Don Quijote has it. Otherwise, just get it from Ba-Le. Theirs tastes great. In fact, sometimes I eat just the Do Chua by itself!
Being at a Farmers’ Market, of course you’re going to get all the necessary vegetables and herbs to make your Saigon Sub from there, including Thai Basil, Mint and Cilantro (Chinese Parsley), where you can buy a big bunch for just $1 each. Try buying those same herbs in the supermarket and you’re looking at easily three or more times that price. Or of course, just grow them yourself! I might start doing that.
Cucumber is another common ingredient in Bánh Mì, to which I buy the Japanese Cucumber, as it has less seeds and an overall better flavor in this application. Japanese Cucumbers are usually about $1.50/lb. at KCC Farmers’ Market. Chili Peppers are another basic ingredient in a Saigon Sub, but I’m not one for “heat” in my sandwich and omit it, but hey, if you like it hot, knock yourself out.
The only other key ingredients needed for this Vietnamese-French fusion sandwich are the “fats”, which would be the mayonnaise and choice of meat, to which I buy them from either Costco or the supermarket. Best Foods (a.k.a. Hellman’s) brand for the mayo’ of course, and for the meats, I simply get whatever cold cuts I’m in the mood for. You can use roast beef, smoked ham, turkey, whatever.
Really, like most sandwiches, a Saigon Sub is rather flexible, as long as you have the two key ingredients: the Bánh Mì French Roll and the Do Chua Vietnamese pickled daikon and carrots. From there you can experiment with all kinds of proteins, vegetables, herbs and whatever else you think might work.
I’ve already done a Kiawe-Smoked Pastrami Bánh Mì sandwich which turned out pretty darned delicious…
Future Saigon Sub experiments for me will include a spin on the classic BLT, Grilled Cheese, Tonkatsu, “Tonkrazy”, baked salmon and either Ahi Poke or tuna tartar.
P.S. Here’s a shot of Maunalua Bay Beach Park from Kuli’ou’ou Beach Park, where you see everyone setting up tents for a front-row, ocean-front vantage point of last night’s grand Fireworks Display over Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai…
Same thing at Kuli’ou’ou Beach Park…
It got much more crowded than that right before the 8pm show.
No man is an island… not even in Maunalua Bay when the tide is low…
The fireworks display over Maunalua Bay last night on July 4th, 2010 was quite a spectacle. It began at exactly 8pm and carried on without a hitch until exactly 8:21pm, lasting longer than the 17-minute duration they said it would be on the news. Steady bursts of all the usual shells were there, including the palm, round, ring, willow, roundel, chrysanthemum, pistil, maroon and serpentine. (check out that link for a really cool interactive explanation on that!). The grand finale was of course rapid and highly explosive and seemed to last longer than the seconds it took to complete launching every last shell. Kudos to the folks who set-up this year’s Maunalua Bay fireworks display. Great job! Maika’i!
The music for the Maunalua Bay Fireworks Show was provided by Hawaiian KINE 105.1 FM.
Surprisingly there were very little illegal aerials being launched in the area either before or after the show, compared to last New Years eve, when the skies over Hawaii Kai had more bombs bursting in the air than two of these 4th of July Fireworks displays combined!And this is Hawaii Kai. Imagine Kalihi and Ewa Beach, where I heard it was like a war zone.
Speaking of which, as I was driving back home towards town from Hawaii Kai after the show (100% sober of course), around 9:30pm about five fire units and every police squad car in the area went racing by, sirens blaring, heading east. Turns out there was a substantial brush fire atop Kalama Valley that threatened nearby homes. Although they have yet to determine how it was started, it doesn’t look good to have happened on fireworks night.
Lastly, speaking of Saigon Kick, remember that late 80’s/early 90’s band? Here’s their hit single, ‘Love is on the way’…