I think Mr. Heylucy could live on a diet that alternated soups and sandwiches, with the occasional combo of both at the same meal. Luckily, I pretty much agree with him, I like soup and enjoy a good sandwich myself. I have long loved Vietnamese Banh Mi, and have an eternal inner struggle when going to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant: pho or banh mi? It's so hard to decide. Until now, banh mi were a take-out treat, but a friend sent me a link to this recipe from the traveler's lunchbox, and now I can make them at home too! I think every ingredient is important here, so don't skip anything!
I made a whole jar of daikon/carrot pickles, which are the most time-consuming part of these sandwiches, but since they can be used for other things as well, they're worth having on hand. The bread is key, and I was lucky to find that the deli inside the big Asian grocery store I frequent sold the rolls individually. Vietnamese baguettes have a definite French influence, but they use rice flour which somehow makes them lighter on the inside, and shatteringly crisp on the outside. If you can't get the real deal, try to find rolls that are soft (not too chewy), with a thin crust that will get nice and crispy in a warm oven.
There's just something about the warm, sweet and salty, sliced pork paired with the fresh, cool vegetables that makes my mouth water. My regular restaurant banh mi also includes an egg, cooked over easy, so the warm, runny yolk adds a delicious sauce on top of all those crisp vegetables. I didn't include the egg this time, but that extra step would be worth including the next time, I think.