Thursday, June 30, 2011

Banh Mi, the New New Thing

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 5:44 AM

Banh mi sandwich from Riffs Truck, mid-June
  • Banh mi sandwich from Riffs Truck, mid-June
Banh mi as the day's star sandwich offering at Riffs Truck AND on a menu in Sewanee, Tenn., (population 4,200)?

That can only mean that banh mi is having its moment as the "it" sandwich.

This archetypal Franco-Vietnamese food, banh mi combines a baguette with fillings of Vietnamese roast pork, sliced jalapeno, cilantro springs, shredded carrot and daikon radish. Beyond that it's endlessly customizable with onions, cucumber, fish sauce, pork pate, ham, aioli, chicken.

For years, the only reliable local source for banh mi was Lao Trading on Eighth Avenue. It was an obvious gap in Nashville cuisine, particularly considering the many midstate residents of Vietnamese and Laotian heritage. At last, it's popping up here and there, at Miss Saigon and Viet Noodle House.

What's next for banh mi? It would be a natural starting point for Arnold Myint's experimentations, or as an extension of Far East's menu. It'd be great to have enough clever, expert and innovative banh mi in town to make this list, or even begin to have this many options.

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