Always Phamished for Bánh Mì
February 13, 2011 5 Comments
I have the best memories of bánh mì. My first experience was getting it with my grandma when I was a young girl in a heavily Filipino and Vietnamese part of San Diego. I thought it was going to be like a Subway sandwich. Kind of floppy, wet with too much dressing and mayonnaise, and filled with overly jiggly meat. I wish I knew then what I know now, that back in the late 90s that my grandma knew her food.
While I’ll primarily be focusing on my love (addiction?) with bánh mì, I’m also going to express how amazing the bánh mì is from an LA-area food truck called Phamish.
At the end of the day, bánh mì is a sandwich. Unlike many other kinds of “ethnic” food that adopt foreign forms, bánh mì is accessible, identifiable, and relatable. Everyone knows how to eat a sandwich. Everyone knows that sandwiches are amazing. The good sandwiches are transcendental experiences.
And yes, this sandwich constitutes an experience.
Crunchy, fresh French bread. Cool, fragrant cilantro. Sour, refreshing pickled carrots and daikon. Crunchy, fresh cucumber. Light, but flavorful mayonnaise. Moist, lemongrass chicken, perfectly seasoned and cooked.
According to Wikipedia…
The sandwich is made up of thinly sliced pickled carrots and daikon (do chua), cucumbers, cilantro, chili peppers, pâté, mayonnaise and various meat fillings or tofu. Popular bánh mì fillings include roasted or grilled pork, steamed or roasted pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, chicken, head cheese and ham.
My boyfriend and I both order it with extra jalapeños. The extra kick just makes the sandwich. Phamish uses the freshest ingredients, so our sandwiches end up extra spicy and extra flavorful.
Phamish comes to UCLA quite frequently and they are in Santa Monica at least a few times a week. They have great service (I’m always greeted with a smile) and they add the extra jalapeños without charging you extra. (Nom Nom Truck, the other Vietnamese food truck, charges $0.50 for jalapeños that I usually cannot taste.) Once, when I went to Santa Monica and missed them by half an hour (I guess they closed early or something) I told them the next day after I found them again. She apologized and generously gave me free spring rolls, which I completely did not expect at all.
There a days when I wish Phamish had a permanent storefront right next to campus. Now that I’m looking at these pictures I took of my sandwich from last week, I must say that today is one of those days.
Check them out if you are from the Los Angeles area and have been completely immune to the food truck movement.