Good Morning Vietnam!!!!!!!!!
Please meet Miss Saigon, the sandwich Mum Mum was basically created around. The word fusion gets thrown around a lot nowadays with globalization basically at its peak. There are so many fusion cuisine creations like French-Thai, Latin-Japanese and Latin-Chinese to name a few. Many blend the flavors of the 2 cultures quite well, but many also miss the mark completely. Miss Saigon, or “Banh Mi” in Vietnamese, might be one of the ultimate fusion food creations. It is probably one of the few positive outcomes of the French “colonization” of Vietnam.
The French brought over the baguette to Vietnam which was totally embraced by the people there. The French were kicked out and baguette remained and given a different twist by the Vietnamese. The recipe was tweaked and the Vietnamese baguette is made with rice flour as well as wheat flour giving it a flakier crust and softer inside. What really makes the Banh Mi stand out are the fillings. Generally always made with meat fillings like chicken, beef or pork, but always definitely flavored packed. The meats are marinated with ginger, garlic, lemongrass, honey, palm sugar and soy or fish sauce and are usually grilled or sauteed until the meat is nicely caramelized. The typical banh mi always has the bread, mayo, cucumber, pickled carrots, pickled daikon radish, jalapeno & cilantro. Some fillings still left over from the French are things like head cheese and pate which are also still popular.
Banh mi has become quite popular in larger cities like NYC, Boston, San Franciso & LA where there are larger Vietnamese populations. Many more Americans are embracing the banh mi because it does provide something familiar — the sandwich, yet giving a taste of the exotic. The common citizen also has a little more exposure to Banh Mi due to shows like the Great Food Truck Challenge that introduced Nom Nom’s banh mi to middle America.
Banh Mi was a great inspiration for Mum Mum’s because it completely comprises what we grew up eating being first generation Americans. We always tweaked typical American fare by giving them a Thai twist. Combined with our Asian-American upbringing and my experiences traveling through Asia we were able to create the dishes on our menu.
How We Make Our Marinade:
We use a wooden mortar and pestle to pound lemongrass, ginger, honey, shallots & white pepper to a paste and then mix with soy sauce and sesame oil before marinating the chicken breast, shaved steak or tofu.