These days it seems that almost every menu you look at features some kind of fusion food. Chicken katsu curry burgers, Thai curry pies, taco pizzas… the list goes on. While I love trying food that’s true to its country of origin, when I spy a fusion creation on the menu, my curiosity often gets the better of me. Many dishes really seem to work – think pan-Asian, Anglo-Indian and Tex-Mex cuisine. On the other hand, there are some meals that I’m sure aren’t meant to be tampered with. For example, pizza and English breakfast are both great in their own right, but English breakfast pizza?
This recipe showcases a fusion dish that, rather than being invented on a whim (as I’m guessing was the case with English breakfast pizza), was created as a result of French colonization in Indochina between the late 1800s and the middle of the 20th century. Bánh mì is a type of sandwich that combines French ingredients, such as baguettes, mayonnaise and pâté, with Vietnamese ingredients, often including seasoned meat, pickled vegetables and fresh coriander. Pork is commonly used as a filling, but I’ve gone for steak, mainly because you don’t have to slow-cook it, but also because I couldn’t resist the thought of a steak sandwich with Vietnamese and French ingredients. The steak marinade is infused with lemongrass, which gives the meat a deliciously sweet citrus flavour. The pickled carrots add a satisfying vinegary crunch and the other vegetables give the sandwiches that essential fresh taste of Vietnamese cuisine. I realise that the pâté component might not everyone’s cup of tea but if you want to add another deeper level of flavour and perfectly complete the dish, it’s worth giving it a try.
I’d suggest preparing the steak and the carrots at least an hour in advance (or overnight if you’re organised enough), but once you’ve done this, the final cooking and assembly part is pretty speedy. Enough chat – on to the recipe!