Few sandwiches have surged in popularity across the country in recent years like the banh mi, the punchy Vietnamese po-boy with French Colonial roots. What makes this sandwich so hard to resist is its alluring medley of savory, tangy and fresh flavors. Crusty French bread, brought to Vietnam by 19th century colonists, is the vessel for a mélange of meats, pickled vegetables, fresh cilantro and, if you like, slices of jalapeño.
Around Baton Rouge, a growing number of diners are finding homey comfort in this East-meets-West po-boy. Preparation and starring proteins can vary widely. Here, we take a look at two: the banh mi made by the longstanding Vietnamese eatery, Dang’s, and a newcomer to the market, the vegan banh mi now on the menu at MJ’s Café.