Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Banh Mi Bento

Very exciting week this week. I turned out we didn't have many folks at my wife's office so I offered a bento to someone at my workplace. A new eater! Always nice to cook for new people, but I go thru great pains to keep my worlds separated so it's hard to put my food (specifically the stuff I post about) on display for the people I work with. I'm not sure when I developed this weird phobia. At my last job I was all about bringing in food, heck I even setup an omelette station and cooked for everyone. Maybe it's because there are so many more people here that haven't been over and tried my food *and* are foodies. It's like going to the judges table. It's irrational, I'll get over it.

This box is actually a requested "hey can you go figure this thing out" bento. I was asked to re-create a Vietnamese bbq pork sandwich called a Banh Mi. Apparently it's a big favorite around here at my work and my wife loves them too. The trick I had to get right is the specific type of Banh Mi they were all looking for. You see there are a variety of Banh Mi, some with just pork (as I've done it) some with ground pork, some with pate, the sauces and marinades all differ, so I had to do some recon and taste what it is they were talking about. We went out for vietnamese and I was able to sample what they were looking for. I futzed with a few versions of the marinade until it tasted close to what I could remember and took a few lessons from my Korean Bento and broke out the indoor grill (gotta have that char). Also, to do this right I had to do a quick pickle with the carrots and daikon. The cucumbers come courtesy of my father's garden.

Now, I didn't get to go to the vietnamese food cart that they really wanted me to replicate. So I had to go out on a limb with my cilantro mayo to try and get this close enough for their satisfaction. I used a reduced fat olive oil mayo (surprisingly good at half the calories and fat) whizzed in a bit of lime fresh cilantro very tasty (credit for this one goes to south beach diet recipes) All in all I was told it was very good and "spot on" the only thing missing from my coworker's comment was fresh slices of jalepeno. So yay me I managed to get this one right.


While at the Vietnamese restaurant, I had my coworker try jellyfish, he was instantly hooked. It was a good dish, my problem was it was pretty different from the version my dad does, it lacked the proper crunch and hence it didn't taste right. Since I had been going on and on about the difference I figured I should also do a nice batch of jellyfish to show my coworker. I also owed a jellyfish salad debt to another coworker, and my wife really likes the stuff, so it was a hat trick. Same thing as last time, you'll definitely kill some vampires with all the garlic. But it is a tasty dish.

I cheaped out on dessert and included a lychee jelly dessert so nothing special there.

This was a fun bento to make, I like the challenge of trying to create a copycat recipe. It was also fun to show *my* coworkers exactly what it is my wife and her coworkers get every Monday. They didn't realize it came in a package with a note attached. (I suppose I should get more of them to visit this blog)

Box Contents
  • Vietnamese bbq pork
  • Pickled daikon and carrots
  • Fresh cucumber
  • Cilantro Mayo
  • Jellyfish Salad
  • Lychee jelly

4 comments:

m.e. said...

I am so jealous of your wife and these co-workers!!!! What I would give for my hubby to do this for me.

I love the Banh Mi replica bento. Great work!!!!

Ironjack said...

:) I suppose there are benefits towards being coworkers with my wife.

Thanks for dropping by!

Ryan said...

Okay, I know I said over twitter that you've pushed me to try my first Bahn Mi, but I've gotta comment about how awesome this bento looks. I keep coming back to this page just to look at the pictures! Fantastic job Jack!

Ironjack said...

:) Thanks Ryan! It was a tasty bento and very popular with my eaters.

Lemme know if you want my final marinade for my banh mi, I'm happy to post. In fact I'll trade ya for any tips on bacon making.