One of my favourite lunch time dishes in Calgary was going to the nearest Vietnamese place that did a wonderful Bahn Mi. Talking to my friend, Gerrod who lived in New York for sometime, apparently the Bahn Mi is taking the city by storm and I’m glad it’s about time that it did. When I went to Paris a couple of weeks ago, I made sure to track down a Bahn Mi place (that must be accompanied by a pearl tea!)
The Bahn Mi store that I found on the Internet is closest to the Arts et Métiers metro stop, literally only a block away. The store isn’t very well signed and I walked up and down until I saw that the name of the store wasn’t on the building itself, but a tiny non-descript sign hanging off the door. Fortunately they were still open when I went early afternoon, hoping to have to grab one for dinner.
The lady who runs this place is actually a Chinese lady who lived in Vietnam for sometime, and then moved to Paris. I’m amazed because she effectively spoke four languages (I had an easier time communicating with her in English than many other people that weekend) and so we got chatting as she put together my Bahn mi. I guess it’s probably about time to describe what this dish is. My memories of the Calgarian adaptation of the Bahn Mi is a toasted baguette (think Quiznos but better) filled with the classic Vietnamese marinated meat (or tofu) accompanied by fresh or pickled cucumbers and carrots, spicy coriander (cilantro for those americans), and tiny chopped chillis to give it that bite.
Here, the baguette is fresh and unlikely another one I had in little Vietnamese town, came toasted and freshly cooked. I had the beef particularly spicy, with a homemade deep and flavourful sauce that it really did remind me of the good times in Calgary. Given that the baguette was almost a foot long, this was one of the best value meals I had in Paris. I also made sure I had the sesame pearl tea that was made just as freshly. Yummo.