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Sep 9, 2008 03:33 AM

My first Bahn Mi..

I tried my first Bahn Mi sandwich yesterday from a place on Dorchester Ave on the adjacent corner from the old St Williams church.
It was the combination sandwich.
I have a question. What is the stuff that sort of resembles mayonaisse, but has a clearer look to it?

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  1. Some places use a commercially prepared mayonnaise from Vietnam which is similar to the Japanese Kewpie brand (thinner and sweeter than American jarred mayo), others use a house-made mayo-like dressing which is basically an emulsion of egg yolks and corn oil or soybean oil. I think I've tasted garlic in this dressing in some places, making it like a Vietnamese aioli.

      1. re: girlygirl

        The next time I think I'll try it without the kewpie.
        I'm up in the air whether I like that part of the sandwich.
        Overall, I don't think you can beat the quality and price.

      2. Everyone always seems to say it's mayo, but when I get banh-mi at that place, which is BaLe, BTW, they always ask me if I want butter, when I order a tfu sandwich, asking whether I am vegan. I always assumed it was softened butter.......

        2 Replies
        1. re: galleygirl

          No, I think it's Kewpie, or a kewpie knock-off. Has that slightly sweet taste like miracle whip.

          1. re: yumyum

            yep- its kewpie- but i think they thin it out sometimes, good stuff

        2. Not every place puts the mayo-like dressing on every sandwich. Mei Sum, for instance, puts just nước chấm on its BBQ beef bánh mì unless you specify otherwise.

          6 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I know I've had a light schmear of kewpie-like substance on my bahn-mi from Mei Sum in the past. Thin, but detectable if you don't dig the sweet thing.

            1. re: yumyum

              I just asked Mei Sum what they use for their spread, as I was trying to recreate the sandwich at home and failed miserably. They said they make it there using egg yolks and oil. Homemade mayo, basically.

              1. re: yumyum

                I dragged a banh mi newbie into Mei Sum one time, so the nice lady behind the counter invited us back there to watch her make them, and she made a point of distinguishing between the dressings: "This one (nuoc cham) on the beef, this other one (mayo) on the tofu." Maybe the construction varies by sandwich maker? This lady was the one I almost always see in there: to my eye, she looks about 50 and Chinese.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Well you know I didn't get tofu, so perhaps they USED to use the mayo on all the bahn mi (I've been going to Pho Viet lately), or perhaps this was an error, or perhaps I dreamed it. But I grew up in Salt Lake City and have an irrational objection to Miracle whip and Miracle whip analogs.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    i always get the that explains it!

                    1. re: yumyum

                      "Miracle whip analogs" ....*shudder*...

              2. I think most banh mi places use both Vietnamese mayonnaise and fish sauce.

                I *love* banh mi; it's my favorite sandwich. I'm jonesing for one as I type. I've had excellent examples of it at Vietnamese Sandwiches and Bubble Tea; and at New Saigon, both in Boston's Chinatown.