I love Vietnamese food. A lot. My two favorite dishes are Banh Mi sandwiches and Pho. My husband could eat Pho everyday. Pho was my first real introduction to Vietnamese cuisine, but I fell head-over-heels in love with the food when I had my first Banh Mi. That was five years ago, and my love hasn’t slowed down.
Then I had these Korean Meatball tacos at a local restaurant and knew I wanted to do something similar, but different. I loved the use of the meatballs – but I wanted more veggies and more delicious flavors. And so here we are. The recipe is full of flavor, the meatballs are tender and moist, the pickles are crisp and delicious, and the sauces each provide a layer of flavor and luxury.
What is a Banh Mi?
The Vietnamese sandwich, sometimes called a “banh mi sandwich”, is a product of French colonialism in Indochina, combining ingredients from the French (baguettes, pâté, jalapeño, and mayonnaise) with native Vietnamese ingredients, such as coriander, cucumber, and pickled carrots and white radish.
The classic version, banh mi thịt nguội, sometimes known as banh mi đặc biệt or “special combo”, is made with various Vietnamese cold cuts, such as sliced pork or pork bellies, chả lụa (pork sausage), and head cheese, along with the liver pâté and vegetables like carrot or cucumbers.
Using a sous vide to make the quick pickled vegetables makes things go a lot faster – they are done in an hour instead of 5 days. I love the fresh slightly sweet vinegary taste to crisp pickles. This helps you get the flavor of the banh mi easily.
How Do You Like Them Pork Meatballs?
At ZAO Asian Cafe they serve these Korean Tacos and you can have them with their Chicken and Pork Meatballs. I was OBSESSED from the first bite to the last. It was seriously these tacos that inspired me to make this dish – but I wanted it with more Vietnamese flavors. Anyway – my meatballs make theirs look kinda bland.
You get lemongrass, ginger, garlic, cilantro, sesame oil and that “I don’t wanna know what’s in but it can make things taste just a little bit better” fish sauce all working together in perfect harmony. These meatballs will rock your world. Don’t want tacos – make the meatballs and serve them with a little sauce over quinoa, over rice, or just on their own. They are that good. I stand by them. Make the vinegar sauce at least to go with them – it adds a sweet note of flavor that you just don’t want to live without.
Egg Yolk Sauce?
How many times have you seen fancy food photography where they have a poached egg perfectly atop a dish? The yolk adds a luxurious richness to the dish and it is the pinnacle of finishing moves. But when you go to do it, the egg slides off to the side and the yolk breaks and you just can’t get yours to look quite right.
Well, this sauce is the answer to all your prayers. It is rich, luxurious and sooooo delicious – with no tedious mess. You have cooked it (149 at 45 minutes) and it is ready to go on top of any dish you want. I made it with this recipe but then I bottled it, put a layer of plastic wrap over the mouth of the bottle, screwed the bottle lid on top and it’ll keep about 3-5 days. Just means I have to cook more yummy foods and drizzle them with egg yolk sauce. YUM!