Banh Mi! Oh My!

Anyone ready for dinner?

Roast porkbelly...wow! Photo Credit: Sarah Esenwein

Roast porkbelly anyone?
Photo Credit: Sarah E!

Last night, Houstonians had the chance to get a belly full of the Vietnamese version of comfort food, the Bahn Mi sandwich at the 2nd Annual Great Banh Mi Cookoff.

Hundreds showed up to sample the offerings from over a dozen competitors, as well as other Asian inspired vendor’s dishes at the LamBo Ballroom on Westheimer.

Happy faces stacked up at the tables to try out each chef’s take on the Vietnamese sandwiches, from traditional to infusion.

Hundreds turned oit to sample traditional and new twists on this Vietnamese favorite! Photo Credit: Sarah Esenwein

Hundreds turned out to sample traditional and new twists on this Vietnamese favorite! Photo Credit: Sarah Esenwein

For those that haven’t tried a Banh Mi, it’s a po-boy style sandwich, with a fatty meat (most traditionally pork belly) on a baguette roll with fresh and crunchy carrot, daikon, cucumber and cilantro with an acidic dressing (like rice wine vinegar) to cut the heaviness. The sandwich should hit all of the five flavor profiles; salty, spicy, sweet, sour and bitter. Plus adding the freshness of the vegetables, deliver the most mouth-pleasing texture.

Over a dozen of Houston Banh Mi eateries compete to be the Best Banh Mi in Houston! Photo Credit: Sarah Esenwein

Photo Credit: Sarah E!

It’s seriously one of the best additions to our culture cuisine melting pot in Houston, the perfect Banh Mi is as mouthwatering as it gets!

It was my duty to chew through these competitors sammies along with four of Houston’s most regarded palates; Master Chef Christine Ha, Houston Chronicle Food Editor Greg Morago, Houston Press Food Authority Phaedra Cook, and Popular Food Blogger and Economics Professor Hank Lewis.

Our task?

To choose what we thought was the most innovative and delicious Banh Mi sandwich, whether it be traditional or not, but still hit those core flavor profiles.

The competition was close for some and far from for others.

In the end, the winner is…VIETNAM POBLANO!

Over a dozen of Houston Banh Mi eateries compete to be the Best Banh Mi in Houston! Photo Credit: Sarah Esenwein

Vietnam Poblano Voted the Best Banh Mi in Houston! Photo Credit: Sarah E!

Let the judging begin! Over a dozen of Houston Banh Mi eateries compete to be the Best Banh Mi in Houston! Photo Credit: Sarah Esenwein

Vietnam Poblano and the Honey Glazed Grilled Salmon Banh Mi Photo Credit: Sarah E!

Vietnam Poblano kept everyone (ok, maybe just me) CRAVING another bite of their Honey Glazed Grilled Salmon Banh Mi. This one hit every flavor profile element while being so creative in incorporating the salmon instead of the traditional pork. Maybe we’re a Coastal folk or found the fattiness of the salmon a perfectly balanced replacement for the porkbelly, this Salmon Banh Mi ‘boat’ was incredible!

Check out the full gallery of the 2nd Annual Great Banh Mi Cookoff HERE to see the other competitors submissions and more!

The 2nd Annual Great Banh Mi Cookoff was held to benefit the BPSOS Organization and you can also hear more about it on Eye On Houston HERE.

On a personal note, I know how difficult it is to stage a successful event of this magnitude. Many thanks should go to Jennifer Nguyen, Janette Diep, Mitchell Lam and Melissa Raymundo for organizing this incredible event that was enjoyed by so many.

They’re the by God Banh Mi BEST!

#toomuch?

😆

Sarah E!

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