The Banh Mi Handbook
Banh mi sandwiches are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and it's about time. Food writer Andrea Nguyen breaks down the easy, affordable and—most importantly—delicious Vietnamese sandwiches, laying out the basics behind the Vietnamese and French influences on the classic sandwich combination of bread with fat, protein, vegetables and spread. Nguyen includes a mix of traditional recipes and modern and creative culinary twists (such as sandwiches based around chicken saté, chicken katsu or edamame pâté) to lay the groundwork and show how far interpretations can stretch. While there are some passages that speak to the origins and cultural authenticity of the recipes, it's occasionally hard to discern quickly which sandwiches would be at home with a Vietnamese street vendor and which are modern or creative culinary twists. If you're looking to re-create the taste of a hole-in-the-wall banh mi joint, go for the easy and satisfying pork bologna-esque recipe for Cheater's silky sausage and heed Nguyen's insistence on the importance of a few dashes of Maggi seasoning sauce. Throw it into a crispy roll with a pile of cilantro, homemade spicy mayo, and pickled daikon and carrots—you'll understand why after one bite.