All my favorite memories of Vietnamese food include my good friend, Yen. She has taught me to cook whole fish, make savory crepes, and spread a table with sundry greens and marinated meats. She is the neighbor down the street that calls you over to enjoy delicious meals that she "happened" to be making. Neighbors like that are a treasure--you never need a reason to call; just something delicious to share with each other. Such is life in real community.
It's probably not a coincidence that I felt inspired to make one of my favorites--Banh mi--this week; catching up with friends tends to inspire me. Lemongrass pork, pickled carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, and jalepenos stuffed into a baguette, and slathered with sriracha for even more heat.
The best part of making this flavor-packed dish is that I can share it with my new neighbors, here, in Brooklyn. I'll tell you the secret to joy--it's good food, people (who love God), and music. HAPPY!
Slice the pork into thin cuts and pound them into even thinner cuts. Combine all the other ingredients (not toppings) in a bowl, rub the marinade into the thin cuts of pork as the slices are added to the bowl, and let the pork rest in the juices overnight.
Pour 1 tbsp. sesame oil into the pan and heat until crackling. Place the strips of pork in the pan to grill over medium heat. After cooking 2 min. each side, remove and let rest. After all strips have been cooked and have rested for 15 min., cut the pork into strips and tear away any of the fat (unless you like it, of course).
Meanwhile, you can start chopping up the toppings and placing them in a clockwise manner on a separate serving platter.
To serve, assemble some sandwiches, but leave some of the meat and toppings plated, so people can select their favorites to stuff into the sweet baguettes.
Share and enjoy!