Bánh mì (Vietnamese Fried Egg Sandwich)

"Eat quick, before more vegetables escape!"

The bánh mì (pronounced "bun me!") sandwich is Viet Nam's answer to the Subway chain. Actually, it dates back to the 40's, and the influence of Viet Nam's French colonialists, among others, is clearly seen in this dish. The sandwich can be found in hawker stalls all over the streets of Viet Nam. It's popularity has seen it spread to Western countries as well, who often don't make it to code. The bánh mì  is normally a meat-filled sandwich, and the meat usually revolves around twenty thousand variations of pork. I'm porky enough as it is, so I'm not about to pork things up any further. This variation, with eggs, would be more considered a breakfast bánh mì. But unless you're planning on plowing the fields yourself because the ox have taken ill, this would be considered a pretty heavy breakfast. I made it for supper, instead.

Another way I did not follow tradition, is by using an Italian ciabatta bread for the base. It is chewy and flavorful, with a soft crust. The opposite of a vietnamese baguette, which is drier and has a thin crispy crust. I did so because it had simple ingredients, without the usual fillers and junk the local French versions carry. To more closely follow the bánh mì, you'll want a nice, large, short, fat, French baguette. Which more closely resembles the Viet Namese baguette. (The viet namese baguette is actually made of a combination of rice and wheat flours, and may or may not be found at asian shops in your area). 


crusty (ie. French) bread (short baguette)
2 eggs
coriander (cilantro), fresh (not chopped)
salt, pepper


soy sauce (or Maggi sauce)
rice vinegar
sesame oil
chili oil

Julienne (or shred) the vegetables. Toss the vegetables in a large bowl, and sprinkle over top with the various vinaigrette ingredients (in the quantities you desire for each ingredient). Mix.  In a non stick pan, fry the eggs sunny side up until they are crisp around the edges (I prefer to turn them over at the end of cooking and fry a minute or two, to set the yolk). (n.b. You can add onions here, if you like. Also, I sprinkled my eggs with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil). Remove. Cut the baguette in half (ensuring you do not cut too close to the bottom). Spread mayonnaise on the bottom half. Then the vegetables, then eggs, top with cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

"Waiter! More napkins please!"
Vary the vegetables, if you like. Green peppers can be added, or more exotic ingredients like daikon or jikama, if you can find it (or store purchased pickled vegetables). The eggs can be scrambled or omelet-style if you prefer.  They can be substituted entirely for fried tofu or seitan. The acid can be red wine vinegar, if you don't have rice vinegar, or prefer otherwise. The soy sauce can be Maggi-brand sauce. I used chili oil, because that's all I had that would work. But the hot stuff can be anything hot (particularly asian) that can be mixed or better still, spread on the bun. Sriracha or garlic-chili sauce would work well, for example. You can also add in some cold rice vermicelli noodles. Finally, you can drizzle the vinaigrette ingredients on the bun directly, as many "banh miers" do, instead of mixing it with the vegetables.

The one thing I would maintain is the coriander. Without the fresh coriander, it's just a submarine sandwich!


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