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Refrigerating Bahn Mi--What's the verdict?

I just moved to NJ, and want to introduce my coworkers to Bahn Mi. I'll probably get them from Nicky's Vietnamese. Can I refrigerate the sandwiches for a day? Should I deconstruct them first? I have access to a professional panini press at work--should i press them or mic them or neither?

Any experiences with eating day old Bahn Mi--good or bad--would be highly appreciated.

-bryanj

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  1. Hmmm... I did this once and it was not good. The bread (which is usually nice and crispy) was a mix of stale and soggy. And the pork was tough. Maybe if you deconstruct them and them re-toast the bread (or better yet - buy fresh rolls that day somewhere good) and maybe then press/mic the meat so if soften up?

    1. It turns out OK if you pop them in the toaster oven. I usually put them on bake for around five minutes to warm everything and then a couple of minutes on broil to crisp up the bread.

      1. i feel like these have to be fresh and that its probably not worth it if you can't achieve that - isn't the deliciousness derived from the fresh bread and crisp herbs and meat and mayo all coming together when toasted?

        maybe try to buy the ingredients (let them know at the shop what you want to do). if Nicky's wouldn't accomodate that, i bet other places would. otherwise you could wing it and present them with your best interpretation of a bahn mi based on what you had available. i think that would be better than a day old reheated sandwich.

        1. Not great, but OK. Take out the cilantro, jalepeno (if you request spicy), pickled vegetables before you heat them up in a toaster oven and then add. One of the best things about the sandwich is the contrast between the hot bun and meat and the cool veggies.

          1. I don't think Banh Mi are toasted or warmed in Toronto! It's been a while but I definitely don't remember the meat being warm in a cold cut Banh Mi. I've had warm ones with chicken etc in Montreal but not that I recall in Toronto. So these comments are interesting.
            A friend told me that his family freezes Banh Mi. Freezing does tend to maintain the texture of baguette fairly well. I want to try this but I haven't done so yet.

            1. It's ok, but best eaten fresh.

              This is what I do.

              1. Wrap in saran wrap, then refrigerate.

              2. To eat, unwrap, pop in microwave at medium heat for 1 minute. Then pop in toaster oven on "light" or "low" setting.

              3. Eat.

              1. I vote for Deconstruction. Banh Mi is all about the crunch of the baguette and vegetables.
                You might want to avoid pate filling since removal could be messy. Cold meats or sausage are good choices.

                Your panini press will be good for recrisping the bread - microwave only as a last resort.

                1. Personally I would save the Bahn Mi for a road trip adventure and introduce the concept to them with something similar. The Von's stores (parent Safeway?) in my area do a decent crusty bread roll- I do mayo and either beef or turkey + onion, maybe pickle. Then after I run it home I add fresh sliced hot serrano or jalapeno pepper and handfuls of torn cilantro. Maybe a few drops of fish sauce on the mayo. If you have liverwurst or Braunschweiger in at home, add a smear of that to get the pate concept in.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: torty

                    Sounds like my 'recipe': http://www.chow.com/recipes/11642
                    Torty's idea is sound - DIY is a good intro for some situations.

                  2. I've never had a warm banh mi. In my experience the varieties I eat are always served cold or room temp.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: aelph

                      You've never had the pleasure of a Vietnamese meatball banh mi, or a breakfast one with fried egg? Them's good eatin'!

                      FWIW, to the OP: You might ask the shop to pack your veggies on the side. They'll travel better that way. But to hold a baguette overnight takes the freshness out of the bread, and that baguette crust is a big part of the experience for me.

                      If I were in your shoes, I'd drag the coworkers to the shop and eat one fresh. The ones who'll tag along for the adventure will get the full effect

                      1. re: Professor Salt

                        Nope. Those two sure sound good, tho'.

                    2. I seem to only eat banh mi as take out so I always ask them to pack the vegetables separately (they usually come in a plastic sandwich bag). I've never had a shop refuse to pack them separately-I think that they get the request often. Pop the sandwich in a toaster oven for a few minutes, garnich with the veg and enjoy. The bread is crispier than when fresh but it's still very good (just a bit different).

                      1. you can always ask them to put the fixings of the veggies on the side which is how my family does it because we have a 2 hour drive whenever we are able to get ours. but a panini press would be a lot better then a microwave, but a toaster oven would be even better since you can bake it for a bit to warm it up and it would be nice and toasty.

                        1. It's tough on the jaws, the next day. The bread gets hard, the vegetables/pickles mushier and sometimes soaks into the bread and makes the inside of the bread soggy. Since you're introducing them to your co-workers, I wouldn't do it. You want them to get the whole goodness of the sandwich, not the "ugh, it's edible" version and turn them off.