The best bahn mi where I live is at a tiny shop (literally 4 stools) in a crap neighborhood that smells like…well…there are not public restrooms. However, it is THAT GOOD that I make the pilgrimage and also costs less than $4. At one point, while between jobs, these heaven-sent sandwiches saved me from an all-ramen broke diet.
Nowadays, while I’m not exactly flush with cash, I am flush with a midsection that loudly proclaims that ehhhh I could skip the bread. Or maybe the pork. Bottom line – sometimes you want the flavors of bahn mi, but not the sandwich. Rich meat (pork! Or tofu!), spicy jalapeño, bright pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, maybe some spicy mayo, all come together to form a more perfect union. Your choices are as follows:
1. Bahn Mi Panzanella
This one is so good it’s actually in my weekly dinner to lunch to lunch rotation. Get the recipe here.
2. Bento Bahn Mi
The cutest version for lunch! Makes me want to buy a lunchbox. Get the recipe here.
3. Bahn Mi Springrolls
Rice paper is the perfect way to lighten up a sandwich without sacrificing flavor. Get the recipe here.
4. Bahn Mi Tacos
Duh. Tacos. Get the recipe here.
5. Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps
By eliminating the bread and replacing it with crisp, cool lettuce, the bahn mi just became the ideal light lunch. Get the recipe here.
6. Deconstructed Bahn Mi
7. Bahn Mi Burger
Technically, this one’s got a bun. But can you really say no to Bahn Mi Burgers?! Get the recipe here.
8. Bahn Mi Bowl
Like the burrito bowl, but better. And with pickles! Get the recipe here.
9. Bahn Mi Hotdog
Also avec bun, but if you do a burger, you gotta do a dog. Get the recipe here.
10. Bahn Mi Pizza
Crust is not a bun. Also, it’s vegan! Get the recipe here.
Vanessa W. Simmons is a former cook living in San Francisco, helping to run a food business. She's probably hungry, but if not she could eat.