Header image: Rice Paper Banh Mi with 5 Spice Chicken from CHOW

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

Serious Eats

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

Just Bento

The cutest version for lunch! Makes me want to buy a lunchbox. Get the recipe here.

3. Bahn Mi Springrolls

Minimalist Baker

Rice paper is the perfect way to lighten up a sandwich without sacrificing flavor. Get the recipe here.

4. Bahn Mi Tacos

A Spicy Perspective

Duh. Tacos. Get the recipe here.

5. Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps

Cooking for Keeps

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

Sassy Radish

Turkey gives this deconstructed bahn mi a whole flavor profile. Get the recipe here.

7. Bahn Mi Burger

Half Baked Harvest

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

Keepin it Kind

Like the burrito bowl, but better. And with pickles! Get the recipe here.

9. Bahn Mi Hotdog

Damn Delicious

Also avec bun, but if you do a burger, you gotta do a dog. Get the recipe here.

10. Bahn Mi Pizza

My Darling Vegan

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.
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