The bánh mì sandwich is a splendid union of French and Vietnamese cuisines. Resulting from the French Colonial period in Vietnam, most renditions include French contributions like pâté, jalapeño, mayonnaise, and the baguette that encloses the sandwich, while incorporating Vietnamese ingredients such as coriander, cucumber, pickled carrots, and specially marinated meats or tofu.
The marinated meat in this case is Korean though. In fact, it’s a Korean staple—bulgogi, a dish of almost purely of beef or pork that’s thinly-sliced, marinated, and grilled. Given the large influence of Southeast Asian cuisine in Seattle, it’s no wonder AMLI South Lake Union resident Melissa mashed these two culinary mainstays together to create a prize-winning sandwich for our AMLI EATS contest, held last fall.
Melissa’s bulgogi bánh mì combines the best aspects of both recipes. This sandwich is quick, inexpensive, filling, and packed with flavors you won’t find anywhere else. In other words, it’s perfect for whipping up at home.
For this recipe, Melissa won a gift card to Williams-Sonoma. Other winners received gift cards to Blue Apron and two grand-prize winners received a dinner party with a private chef and up to 10 of their friends. Find the winning recipe below, along with a short interview with Melissa.
Melissa’s Beef Bulgogi Bánh Mì
1 lb beef (sukyaki cut which is a very thin cut typically from a Japanese supermarket)
1 Bosc pear (peeled, cored, puréed)
1/2 chopped white onion
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
Mix everything together, marinate in fridge for at least 6 hours. Use non-stick pan on medium-high heat, do not add oil to pan prior to adding meat, as it will already have sesame oil in the marinade. Stir-fry on the pan until meat is cooked. Set aside.
Assembling the Bánh mì
4 soft French baguettes
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced long ways
1 cup shredded, pickled carrots and radishes (basically in vinegar, water, and sugar. Usually sold pre-made in Asian supermarkets)
Cilantro for garnish
Butter for spread
Pate for spread (I used a mushroom pate for lower cholesterol)
Pepper for garnish
Sprinkle of sesame seeds (optional)
Slice open one side and toast the baguettes at 350 degrees in the oven for a few minutes, until they are slightly crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. Remove from oven. Spread butter on the inner flap on one side, and spread the pate on the other flap. Add one or two slices of cucumber along the bottom flap. Add the Bulgogi on top. Then the pickled carrots/radishes. Then the cilantro. Then sprinkle pepper on top. A sprinkle of sesame seeds on top is optional. Serve!
Interview with the cook:
1. How many days of the week do you typically cook?
4-6 days a week. I’m a night shifter so I’m all about quick cooking.
2. Who do you usually cook for?
My boyfriend and myself. We usually bring extra food or baked goods to share with coworkers at work.
3. What was the inspiration for your AMLI EATS recipe? Is there a story behind it?
I love Vietnamese food and Korean BBQ, so I had this grand idea of combining bánh mì and Korean BBQ together. It’s been a big hit with friends and family.
4. What is your favorite cuisine to cook? Why?
Vietnamese food! The recipes are straightforward enough but take many tries to refine, so I’m enjoying learning more about foods my family and I grew up eating. For example, making pho broth is a laborious process.
5. Where do you shop for ingredients? Are there any local stores that have great deals, produce, or other items you use to cook?
Amazon Fresh delivers the majority of our groceries. If I’m looking for specialty Asian meat cuts, produce, sauces, and such, I’ll swing by Uwajimaya (it’s a massive Japanese/Asian supermarket in Seattle).
6. What is the one thing you couldn’t do without in your kitchen?
Eggs. From baking cakes and cookies to scrambled eggs to go with hash browns or easy over for bacon breakfast sandwiches, they are a must have in our household.
7. What’s the best part about cooking at your AMLI apartment?
The counter and cabinet space. I have every kitchen appliance you could possibly imagine (my mother is a part-time hoarder and sends us these things). Two crock pots, stand mixer, hand mixer, coffee maker, juicer, toaster, rice cooker, smoothie blender, food processor, George Foreman grill, rotisserie oven, coffee bean grinder, electric water kettle, spiralizer. I need lots of counter space for food prep, and cabinet or pantry space to hide all our stuff when guests visit.