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My first Bahn Mi..

janzy Sep 9, 2008 03:33 AM

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?

  1. k
    Kenji Sep 10, 2008 03:05 PM

    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.

    1. MC Slim JB Sep 9, 2008 10:49 AM

      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
        yumyum Sep 9, 2008 10:51 AM

        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
          alyssap99 Sep 9, 2008 11:05 AM

          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
            MC Slim JB Sep 9, 2008 11:17 AM

            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
              yumyum Sep 9, 2008 11:36 AM

              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
                alyssap99 Sep 9, 2008 12:25 PM

                i always get the tofu...so that explains it!

                1. re: yumyum
                  Bob Dobalina Sep 9, 2008 01:33 PM

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

          2. galleygirl Sep 9, 2008 10:30 AM

            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
              yumyum Sep 9, 2008 10:40 AM

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

              1. re: yumyum
                kewpie Sep 9, 2008 10:45 AM

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

            2. g
              girlygirl Sep 9, 2008 06:26 AM

              Did you like it?

              1 Reply
              1. re: girlygirl
                janzy Sep 9, 2008 03:47 PM

                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. MC Slim JB Sep 9, 2008 05:10 AM

                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.

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