I owe my recent infatuation with Vietnamese food to my good friend, the Secret Soup Spoon. The SSS introduced me to Saigon Panda years ago for noodles. I love a good bowl of pho or noodles or fresh spring rolls. And, we are fortunate to have a pretty decent selection of Vietnamese eateries here in Sioux Falls. (Although, I must tell you, if you want the really good stuff, you need to wrangle an invitation to an Asian friend's house for dinner when the friend's mother is willing to whip up a batch of the Real McCoy.)
What we do not seem to have, however, is a place that will crank out a Bahn Mi sandwich. I have seen recipes for these things over the years, but never tried one from a bona fide Vietnamese place.
So, what is this sandwich? From what my research reveals, it starts with a crusty French roll onto which sliced pork or maybe grilled chicken is piled. I've seen recipes that also call for some liver pate. It is garnished with pickled vegetables- onions, carrots- and also maybe some cucumbers and cilantro for sure. It is also going to need some of that good sweet-sour-salty-spicy sauce concocted with fish sauce, and other such ingredients. This whole thing sounds tasty beyond belief.
I found a close approximation the other day on the seasonal menu at Grille 26. There is is called a Thai pork sandwich with slaw. It's on ciabbata bread, no pate, no cilantro, but damn, that is one tasty sandwich, Vincent! In fact, this is how good it was . . . Even the SSS, who is ordinarily not really excited about Grille 26, ordered the sandwich and RAVED about it. High praise indeed.
So, get to Grille 26 and get that sandwich. And, if anyone knows where to find a more authentic Bahn Mi here in Sioux Falls, speak up.