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Saturday, September 20, 2014
Why making Banh Mi at Home Sounds like a Good Plan
Why making Banh Mi at home sounds like a good
around lately I noticed a number of pretty contradicting trends in the American
fast food businesses. Pizza Hut announced to forgo their plans to introduce
‘skinny’ healthy pizzas. Dominos tried to introduce healthy pizzas earlier, but
apparently they also hit a wall of non –acceptance from the public, same reason why Pizza Hut abandoned the idea.
I noted a
couple of articles ago that one of the food trends of 2014 was healthy Gourmet
Pizza’s, a trend seemingly growing fast in the US, the move sounded therefore
A few days
later, Vietnamese sandwich outlets were introduced by Yum, owners of Pizza Hut,
and Taco Bell, among other famous fast food brand names, in an effort to
introduce healthier items on the menu.
Hut’s owners abandon healthy ‘skinny pizzas’ because they are rejected by the public
and they believe that healthy Vietnamese sandwiches will be accepted is
is a very difficult to overcome issue for fast food companies, health food has
perishable ingredients and perishable ingredients are very difficult to control
for the staff. Except maybe for a salad here and there
Fast food does not hire chefs at store level, they have
‘workers’ (with due respect for the word) trained to prepare very simple food,
that food has to be fool proof or the risk of contamination and more over
cross-contamination reaches dangerous levels, something fast food companies
cannot afford to happen.
Sales for a
number of fast food chains, that entered China, went down by 20% last year due
to some food safety scandals. Millions of dollars are needed to restore
customer confidence and no fast food company is looking forward to that, let
alone the image damage it causes.
No cooking here
A closer look at a
fast food kitchen lay-out, may explain why that is so.
Frozen foods are strictly
separated from perishables and processed foods and handled by different staff
members. The moment you mix the two, you have a recipe for disaster.
That is the main reason why fast food uses processed food. A pizza for example has
a processed sauce, vegetables, processed meat and some processed cheese on top
of the dough, when prepared, the raw pizza goes through a 473 F oven and is
served, quite difficult to mess that up.
Ingredients are replaced after a set
period of time, so if everybody follows the rules, you can safely eat your
pizza. The moment raw meat or fish enters the circle matters become tricky.
you see the same thing, a worker places a frozen burger patty on a hot plate or
in a grilling machine, flips it over after the buzzer beeps, somebody else adds
a slice of lettuce and a slice of tomato on top of a halved bun and the ‘burger
man’ tops the patty, pack, serve, also difficult to mess it up.
fresh (not frozen) meat has to be cooked with vegetables, all is lost and food
safety control is out the window. The solution? When the pizza does not work
for the public, choose a complete new concept and the public will welcome the
idea, believing it has been invented by people going out of the way to make our
life more exiting.
When you ask
me, the best way to have a great Vietnamese sandwich (Banh Mi) is to make them
yourself. Why? Well here is a good reason:
In the early
1980s, Vietnamese sandwiches were at the center of a food craze in the US,
several peddlers ensued in a sort of food war, advertising prices as low $1 or
$1.25. Obviously you got eventually what you paid for and the fast food masters
know that benchmark.
Banh Mi is
made with a light crispy baquette as a base; this kind of baquette is made with
a mix of wheat and rice flour resulting in an airy crumb. They are available in
Vietnamese and Chinese stores, bakeries or deli’s. The baquette is traditionally
spread with (chicken) liver pate, topped with chili pepper, daikon and carrot
pickles, protein is an option, roast chicken, grilled pork, chinese char siu
pork and tofu are common.
I am pretty
sure that you will not to find a traditional Banh Mi in the fast food. Simply because grilled, roast and barbequed meats are not processed meats and therefore very perishable.
is the protein and when you have leftover vacuum packed grilled or roasted meat
in your freezer you’re half way done.
Here is a
1 serving of
grilled, roasted, or barbequed pork, chicken or beef
de-seeded cucumber strips
4 thin chili
pepper slices (Jalapeno works fine)
1 tsp light
baquette lengthwise in half and remove some of the inside (keep that for bread
mayonnaise on the inside and layer all ingredients in the baquette. Top with
the soya sauce and voila. Enjoy.
replace the mayonnaise with pate, if you like
What a way
to make perfect use of your vacuum packed meat you stored in the freezer.
If you have no homemade vacuum packed meat in your freezer start making some, you can find your vacuum sealer here: