I get a lot of mail through this ‘ere blog. Much of it interesting, some of it odd and yet more I can’t help out with, but maybe you can. I spent a lot of time guzzling down Saigon’s top street sarnies. It appears I didn’t spend an equal amount of time considering what goes inside a Vietnamese banh mi pate. Can someone please help frustrated reader Lorna who just wants to get her pate on,
"Have you in your travels run across a recipe for the pate they spread on their banh mi? (I’m afraid I never have) I am trying one this week that I found on Egullet, for a Vietnamese-flavored pate, but am not sure if this is it. I have learned from several Vietnamese markets that sell banh mi that the pate uses both pork and pork liver (that sounds about right to me…), but when they make the sandwich the pate is very spreadable, not like a pate de campagne. (Absolutely. It’s rather pastey, kinda catfoody) Got any info about this? (Zip…)
Also, the mayonnaise-like spread on the bread. (Huh?? Warm margarine or cheap butter, no?) I have heard that it is simply homemade mayonnaise from some purveyors, while others say it is flavored with garlic, like an aioli, and others claim it is flavored with more nuoc mam. (Oooh Yum, that sounds like a yank twist, no?) Any ideas there about the classic combo? (Not here, but hopefully in the comments…)
I have given up on figuring out how to make the rice/wheat flour combo of bread, as the only recipe out there appears to be a flop (made with ingredients here in the states, at least), but the pate and mayo are still somewhat of a mystery to me.
I sense the Vietnam pangs are kicking in. I live in France. I have two Chinese/Vietnamese/Asian supermarkets very near my gaff, but… they just ain’t the same. In fact all those pre-prepared, plastic boxed, cellophane covered ‘authentic’ Vietnamese specialities are a total turn off. And then there’s the dark mornings… my first cold weather experience in about a decade… broadband installation purgatory and the pavement. At this particular moment in time I would wrestle a medium sized mammal, or a large fish with small teeth for one of these.
In London last week I talked to a whole bunch of media/blogging folk, many of whom I was fleshmeeting for the first time – more on that later – the one question at least five of them asked me within five minutes of meeting was,
"Why did you leave?"
I’m starting to ponder the wisdom of the contents of my answer 🙂