Are you ready for lunch right about now? Well then, you don’t need to settle for the same cold cut sandwich that you’ve been eating a lot of lately. Instead, you can try something a bit more exotic. That comes in the form of a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, which is a delicious fusion of flavors from both East and West!
One of the most common fillings is the pork roll. It is either called cha or cha lua. The pork is ground up before being tightly packed into a roll. After that, it is either wrapped in banana leaves or aluminum foil before being cooked – either steamed or boiled.
Another variant of the pork filling uses sour pork instead. It is also called nem chua. These squares of sour pork are typically eaten as a snack while garnished with raw garlic. Still, they have become increasingly popular for use in sandwiches. Raw pork skin and meat is mixed with yeast, vinegar, garlic, fish sauce, salt, sugar, and black pepper for a real taste explosion. The pickled pork absorbs all the flavor and becomes sour and garlicky.
Another frequent filling is grilled chicken. This is brown meat marinated in the Vietnamese style before being cooked. Again, pork remains the most popular, but chicken and beef are gaining more attention too.
If you enjoy sardines on pizza, then you’ll love having sardines in your banh mi. The bones are left in, but the fish are still cooked. Although the locals used to enjoy this topping more, now they are becoming more popular in tourist circles.
Pate is both a filling and a condiment in banh mi. Chicken and duck pate is used as a spread. Some places offer it as the main ingredient, as well.
For anyone who is a vegetarian, vegan, or would prefer not to have meat on their sandwich, there are also options for you! Called chay in Vietnamese, tofu chunks, shredded tofu, and ham substitutes made from veggies are all delicious alternatives. Salmon or cream-colored processed bean curb is used in place of the pork. Wheat gluten can also be used instead of the tofu, both for diners who are gluten-free, this isn’t the best idea.
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop-shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, please email us at LottePlaza.com.