Full disclosure: I haven’t been to Vietnam, so I can’t promise this is going to make you think of late nights and food stalls in Hanoi, but I can tell you that it tastes pretty good.
There is just one thing though … to make this, you need to plan ahead. This is not a sandwich you can slap together in 10 minutes, but it’s portable, you can eat it with your hands, and it will impress your friends.
If you’ve never had the chance to try a bánh mì sandwich, well, you should really do something about that. The real-deal is a mix of Vietnamese and French influences, from back when Vietnam was a colony of the bleu, blanc et rouge. A toasted baguette, some pickled vegetables, pork paté, and a bit of spice come together for something truly delicious. The words bánh mì technically just means bread, but outside of Vietnam, it is really all about this sandwich. Typically they’re filled with something porky, but I really like this version. It’s a little lighter in taste and you can feed it to pescetarians.
adapted from: Five and Spice
Pickled Vegetables (make between 30 minutes and 2 days in advance)
1/2 daikon radish or 10 regular radishes
1 large carrot
240 mL (1 cup) cider vinegar
120 mL (1/2 cup) water
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. salt
Slice all the vegetables into matchstick sized pieces. Combine all the pickling ingredients with the vegetables. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, covered.
On the Counter
1 baking tray
1 small bowl
Marinade (make between 30 minutes and 1 hour in advance)
4 filets of sea bass, (about 100 g or 3 oz each)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 spring onion/scallion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch (1.25 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and minced or grated
4 demi-baugettes or 2 full-sized baguettes, halved
a handful of fresh coriander/cilantro
3 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt or mayonnaise
1 japaleño or green chili, sliced thinly
What to Do
Mix all marinade ingredients together and pour over filets. They don’t need to be skinless, as you can easily take the skin off once they’re cooked. Marinade for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 hour ahead. Any more than that and the fish will start falling apart.
Line your baking tray with foil. In a 180C (350F) oven, bake the marinated filets in one layer for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Cut or flake the fish into generous chunks.
Meanwhile, mix the sriracha and yogurt/mayonnaise and set aside.
When the fish is cooked, set the oven to broil/grill and place the baguette halves in for 2 minutes, until lightly toasted.
Slather one side of the bread with sriracha cream, add the fish, pickled vegetables, sliced chili and coriander. Close your sandwich and eat!