Over the past few years, there seems to have been a surge in the number of stores selling banh mi in Tokyo. I recently saw another one open in Omotesando. But… I guess it’s partly because it’s in Tokyo, but it’s just so expensive! To be honest, I still can’t understand the feeling of paying almost 1,000 yen for a sandwich.
In the fall of 2019, I went to Vietnam for the first time. I’ve traveled to Europe by myself, North America, and Mexico, but I’ve never been to Asia, not even to neighboring Korea, so this was my first trip to Asia. Although I had eaten Vietnamese food several times in Japan, the taste of Vietnamese food in the area (Da Nang and Hanoi) was much more simple than I had expected. I did a lot of research on TripAdvisor and tried various dishes at famous local restaurants.
One of the interesting things about banh mi is that it tastes completely different depending on the store (or is it stand?). The interesting thing about banh mi is that it tastes completely different depending on the shop (or stand?). Some have a lot of patties, some have a strong fish flavor, some have sour namasu, and some are very spicy! In any case, each bottle cost less than 30 Japanese yen, so I was able to try a lot of different kinds. Of course, when I returned home, I tried to make a “local” style banh mi at home through trial and error. It was quite difficult, but this recipe is the most “Vietnamese” for me at the moment.
Nukumum, to taste
Pate (any kind you like)
Carrot fish sauce (see below for instructions)
Ham, steamed chicken, or other light meat
- Make the carrot fish balls. Cut carrots into small pieces, rinse and squeeze out the water. Soak the carrots in a 2:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and water, add a teaspoon of sugar and mix well. Mix well with a teaspoon of sugar. Leave overnight if possible.
- Cut the baguette into pieces and cut horizontally. Fill the baguette with the filling without cutting all the way through to make it easier to eat.
- Put a few drops of nukumum on the open slit and spread the patties as you would butter. It’s up to you, but I like to use a lot. Put some ham or other meat between the slices, top with namasu (Japanese parsley), and add a few more drops of nukumum.
- I made this based on the banh mi I had in Vietnam, which was very different from the banh mi often sold in Japan. You can also add a little bean sauce to make it spicy (I got addicted to spicy banh mi in Vietnam). If you don’t have nukumum, you can use fish sauce, but be careful how much you pour on as fish sauce is very salty. In Vietnam, there are no specific ingredients, and there are many different kinds, such as block ham and fish. However, the simple Banh Mi is the best.