Banh Mi, pronounced as American “Bun – Mee”, and the other is Pho; again Americanized “Fuh-uh or Fuhh”. Not much difference there except for the other thousands of morons pronouncing it as Fa, Foo, Foa . . . or whatever else. One thing I’ve come to realize, is the idiocracy of Americans to venture out of their bubbles and try new stuff . . . you know, to taste outside of the box; or as you saw it in a Jack-In-The-Box commercial, “think outside of the bun”. To venture past the mundane and ordinary normal, and try some new foods . . . some new ingredients. Don’t worry, worst thing that can happen is you die . . . or just throw-up . . . or both. Ok, maybe you can actually expel stuff from every one of your orifices while on your way to gripping the pearly gates.
I’m not pretending to know everything; but I have learned Vietnamese cuisine encapsulates numerous flavors to achieve spectacular balances of spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter by using mostly fresh ingredients. Sometimes these ingredients are surprising to folks that decide to take a peak at just what they’re eating. It’s usually those folks that would be inclined to order a McDonald’s hamburger with “no mayonnaise”, or “no onions”. Not to say these folks are the only folks I’m talking about, but they would also seemingly be the same persons that would open a sandwich to see what’s inside, and scrape off any onions or mayonnaise that wasn’t ordered. Thus was the case of the Banh Mi sandwich orders taken at my workplace just the other day. I think I ordered the #1 (special) and the #9 Grilled Pork. On that particular menu, #’s 2-4 all were made with some sort of pate. I have made pate and elected not to try any today. Just didn’t feel right about the whole Vietnamese pate thing. I did elect for the “special” though knowing that it could have been most anything. I was right. Today, it was most anything including the pate. Oh well, it was friggin good! I didn’t know it had any pate in it until I returned home to read about the “K” Sandwiches shop http://www.ksandwiches.com/ these were purchased at. For less than $3 you get a 9 inch banh mi with whatever their filling are . . . many including pate. Ok, relax on the pate issue. Pate is nothing more than a form of a ground up meat form somewhere in the animal. Yes I said somewhere, flavored and spiced to taste good. Usually many pates are very strong and full of flavor. Pates are fine, if you figure out just what is in them . . . and where they are from.
This story isn’t about the sandwich, Vietnamese food or pate. This story is about a worker venturing out of a comfort zone and trying something “you just gottta try”. Something she cared to share with the rest of us at the office today. I am always game for trying foods from a restaurant, because I like to see and taste things the particular restaurant brings to the table. What kind of bubbles are chefs out there breaking to be different, maybe to be the same or just to keep you interested. Well the sandwiches today were tasty. I expected them to be so. To me, today wasn’t about the sandwiches so much as it was about the experience. The office all having something new to them that I was able to experience. Seemed everyone had heard of a Vietnamese sandwich, or even Banh Mi, but I don’t necessarily know that any of them had ever tried. I’m not to sure any of them will ever try again after one adventuresome traveler (or eater) decided to look at the inside of their sandwich. “Uh, . . . what is this . . . ?”
Today would have been a perfect day for pho. It was cold, windy, slightly rainy and to top it off, our office heater wasn’t working. Something nice and hot like a very hot soup, along with the Banh Mi would have been perfect. Wikipedia describes Pho as “served in a bowl with a specific cut of white rice noodles in clear beef broth, with slim cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket). Variations feature tendon, tripe, or meatballs in southern Vietnam. Chicken pho is made using the same spices as beef, but the broth is made using only chicken bones and meat, as well as some internal organs of the chicken, such as the heart, the undeveloped eggs and the gizzard”. That’s the good stuff I’m talking about here. It’s when that stuff makes its way into the pates that adorn the Banh Mi sandwich. That’s the stuff that person saw in their sandwich. That’s what makes it all good.
Today’s sandwich tasted rather common from my understanding of the Banh Mi. The fillings are all seemingly the same, but today the bread itself stood out quite clear. I guess the bread on the banh mi is like the broth for the pho. It’s a make or break deal. It is the dish. Maybe that’s why this “K” Sandwiches is so good. Their bread rocked.