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Bánh Meatloaf: A Vietnamese sandwich gets an American makeover

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Blue Kitchen

(Read caption) Give meatloaf a twist with this Vietnamese-American fusion recipe. Top the meat with pickled carrots and daikon, or white radishes.

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We love border-crossing cooking. When ingredients and techniques travel across boundaries and cultures, food gets interesting. Vietnamese cuisine is a perfect example. Not only does it share herbs and spices with its Asian neighbors, but it borrows from its culinary past as a French colony.

A family favorite here at Blue Kitchen is Marion’s Vietnamese Beef Stew. The slow cooked, meaty, multi-spiced dish is served with a French baguette instead of rice and eaten with forks and spoons, not chopsticks. Similarly, bánh mì — in the West, delicious, usually meaty Vietnamese sandwiches — are served on baguettes. In Vietnam, the term bánh mì actually means bread or, more specifically, French bread.

Bánh mì — the sandwich — comes in many forms. The most popular is made with roast pork, but beef, chicken, tofu, and other varieties are generally available in the sandwich shops that have sprung up in cities across the United States. It is virtually always served with pickled carrots and daikon, a mild white radish popular in the cuisines of Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam and India. It’s often served with sliced peppers too, jalapeño being a readily available choice, and topped with cilantro sprigs.

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