Fork in the Road Gorges on Bahn Mi

Categories: Forking It Over


For this week's column, I went on a banh mi bender, sampling the wares at all the banh mi places in Brooklyn's Chinatown. I called Andrea Nguyen, the Vietnamese cooking expert and cookbook author, to find out what she thinks are the hallmarks of a great banh mi, and she had some very interesting things to say, not only about what makes a great sandwich, but also about how she's tired of hearing it called a product of French colonialism. It was Vietnamese cooks who came up with the sandwich, and they already had a long history of making charcuterie and lunch meats—that wasn't brought by the French. Vietnamese cooks even re-made the baguette, mixing in rice flour because it was cheaper and more familiar. (Does anyone know if you can get a rice flour baguette at any of the banh mi places in the city? I didn't find any on my Brooklyn travels.)

No matter how the sandwich was born, banh mi are inarguably delicious—eat plenty of them this summer.

My Voice Nation Help

Now Trending

From the Vault