Hot, warm, cool, crisp, tender, crunchy, soft, spicy, sweet, sour, salty… Mmmmm! It’s not everyday that all these textures, flavors and temperatures come together in one bite, and every subsequent bite, to create a fabulous party in the mouth. A Vietnamese banh mi is a perfect example of such an experience. It is one of my all time favorite things to eat. For me, the greater the contrast in these textures and flavors, the more heightened my sensory enjoyment.
Bahn mi is a Vietnamese-French sandwich typically made with French baguette. The crunchy exterior of the baguette makes for a great contrast to its soft, pillowy interior. Its nooks and crannies ready to absorb all the goodness ready to be filled inside. When that bread is gently toasted to add a lovely warmth and to further soften the interior, while making the exterior even crisper – well! that’s just an added layer of perfection.
Banh mi is typically made with proteins like chicken, meat, seafood, paté etc. These proteins are cooked with seasonings and spices. The rendered fat and juices of the cooked proteins and the seasonings soak up the bread. Then come layers of cool and crunchy veggies like cucumber, carrots, radishes etc as well as sweet, sour pickled veggies. Top it all off with flavors of fresh cilantro, spicy jalapeño and some yummy sauce (typically Sriracha or a Vietnamese style mayo)… and it’s party time!
Mmm… is your mouth watering yet? I bet you are wondering where you can get such flavor-packed perfection in Connecticut.
Simple! Chief Brody’s Banh Mi food truck!
Ever since this food truck was launched – I have been dying to try it out. It is the brain child of chef/owner Greg Martell, who among his many years of experience has also worked at two of my favorite places in Connecticut: Caseus New Haven and Barcelona Wine Bar. The name “Chief Brody”, is a nod to his favorite movie Jaws.
The food truck’s weekly schedule can be viewed on its social media. The truck can typically be spotted north of Fairfield county and New Haven area, which made my task of getting to it a bit challenging. Last week, my food-loving friend Liz of Twilight at Morningside, messaged me to say that Chief Brody’s Banh Mi truck will be at Two Roads Brewing in Stratford on Sunday. Since the truck was coming this close to me, I just HAD to take this opportunity and pay them a visit. So I did!
There were quite a few options on the menu last Sunday. Crispy pork belly, braised Berkshire pork, chicken thighs, craft beer brat (with Two Roads beer) and egg frittata (veg option). All these items were available in a sandwich or alternatively on a cold noodle bowl. Optional add-ons is where things got even more interesting with things like spicy kimchi slaw, pickled mango, jalapeño and picked red onions. But frankly, the original form of their banh mi was so perfect, that I didn’t feel the need for anything else. My favorite was the pork belly banh mi. This crispy, fatty and juicy perfection was uber-delicious. The craft beer brat was my honey’s favorite. I was also impressed with the tender juicy chicken pieces. All these deceivingly simple sounding dishes were delightfully yummy!
I have to say that one visit and I am a Chief Brody’s Banh Mi fan! Give it a try. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.