A 21st Century Odyssey: “My Quest for Yummy Banh Mi”

When I was in high school a friend of mine introduced me to one block of our city — the extremely little Little Vietnam — that redefined how we spent our lunchtime. While everyone else was off huffing McDonalds we were sampling what was, in that time and place, a little known cuisine. As time went on, more and more of our friends caught on to it and soon most everyone was hip to these new, interesting flavours. King of the discoveries was banh mi (what we called the “Vietnamese Sub”).

As Thu Nguyen and Michael Gordon’s current Kickstarter campaign, My Quest for Yummy Banh Mi, demonstrates, we’re not the only ones that have been entranced by the unassuming sandwich.

Banh mi is simple food and, in many ways, encapsulates the history and culture of Vietnam. It’s a blend of French and local cooking that is a staple of national street food, home cooking and restaurants. Nguyen and Gordon (the former having developed foodie blog YouCook.ca) are seeking to catalog the roots of the beloved sandwich by tracing local ingredients, regional interpretations and more through a trip to the heart of banh mi country — Vietnam.

My Quest for Yummy Banh Mi sees Nguyen documenting her banh mi experiences throughout the country and laying out the groundwork for a cook/travel book that compiles the photos, recipes and writings made during this time.

Bringing banh mi secrets to the masses is a bit expensive though. That’s why Nguyen and Gordon are looking to raise a bit of cash to help offset travel costs involved in the project. Rewards for doing so include copies of the finished book (in PDF and/or hard copy), recipe cards, personalized “thank you” post cards and much more.

Check out My Quest for Yummy Banh Mi on Kickstarter, Nguyen’s specialized YouCook page, or Facebook. The project will be funded on Tuesday, May 31 at 9.46pm EST (if the $2,500 goal is met) so, if you’re donating, make sure to do so ASAP.