If you have a Vietnamese community near you, you have doubtless encountered this delectable $1-5 treat called Bahn-Mi. They are made with many kinds of meats (from Pâté to a Vietnamese version of Spam.) My favorite is stuffed with char-broiled pork called "thịt nướng" but most recipes for this are VERY complex with lots of ingredients. I decided to make a simple version.
Boneless loin pork chops were two for one at my local store. These are usually too-lean and flavorful to grill, but I found some marbled ones. First I Jaccarded them to absorb marinade, and then pounded them thin under plastic wrap to about 1/2" thickness. For a marinade, I threw together a few dashes of fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, granulated garlic and onion, a little soy, and plenty of Sugar in the Raw (I buy large boxes.) I rushed the marinade with my Eastman Marivac. Done in 30 minutes.
Lots of sugar ensures these caramelize and they cooked crispy in about two minutes per side (on a 500F hardwood coal fire.)
While they are marinating, you prepare the "veggies." If your wife is a caterer, you might have a "julienne" tool. If not, do the best you can with the carrots. Peel a cuke and slice it lengthwise. I cored the jalapenos so they wouldn't be TOO hot. Toss some sugar on top of the carrots, and they will go limp by the time you are ready to garnish. Put the Cilantro on at the last minute.
Vietnam, colonized by the French, became enamored of baguettes, but they also use rice flour which makes a lighter bread (almost like Cuban.) I scoop the roll (in S. Philly that is called "operated") to make it less bready and toast just before assembling. Also, a little swipe of Mayo is traditional.. ahh, the French...
This pork can also be served with rice or noodles (rice vermicelli) with some crushed peanuts on top and some additional sauce of fish sauce, soy and Siracha if you like it extra hot.
Anyway, a nice exotic take on what would otherwise be a bland pork chop.. These could be eaten room temp for tailgates ... Just be sure and put the Cilantro on at the last minute or it tastes like dish detergent.
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