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The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches Hardcover – July 8, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


One of NPR's Best Cookbooks of 2014

“ Who better than Andrea Nguyen to unravel the mysteries of one of the great sandwiches of the world? Her book is deceptively simple on the outside but bursting with layers of flavor and complexity within—just like the best banh mi. As always, Andrea puts mastery within the reach of any curious cook smart enough to take her advice.”
—Joe Yonan, author of Eat Your Vegetables

“ Brimming with information, inspiration, and smart advice, this is much more than a sandwich book. Andrea Nguyen once again demonstrates her commendable talent for writing recipes that deliver great tasting food and teach you to become a better cook.” 
—Molly Stevens, author of All About Roasting   

“ Andrea perfectly tells the story of how Vietnamese food culture was influenced by French colonials. Her simple recipes elevate very humble ingredients to heights you would not expect. I can’t wait to incorporate some of these ideas into our sandwich menu.”
—Sam Mogannam, owner of Bi-Rite Market

“Through these recipes, Andrea tells her life story. From childhood lunches of silky sausage on toasted baguettes to postmodern banh mi smeared with curried edamame pâté, she sketches the transformation of a sandwich, born of French and Chinese colonization and Vietnamese ingenuity, into a global culinary phenomenon.”
—John T. Edge, author of The Truck Food Cookbook

"Lots of tasty riffs on the meaty, pickly, crunchy, saucy, spicy Vietnamese sandwich."
Cooking Light, July 2014

"The banh mi sandwich is itself the product of many miles traveled: the crusty bread brought to Vietnam by French colonists, filled with all the bright, hot, fresh, meaty, intensely tasty elements of the local cuisine. This delicious cultural collision is the subject of "The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches" by Andrea Nguyen.  . . .  it's a master course in banh mi construction, from the bread to the pickles and condiments to every imaginable filling, whether it's pork meatballs or fried oysters or a lipsmacking citrus-marinated grilled chicken you're hankering for."
Wall Street Journal, June 2014

About the Author

ANDREA NGUYEN is a celebrated food writer and teacher whose work appears in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Saveur, where she is also a contributing editor. Her previous books, including Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Asian Dumplings, and Asian Tofu, were highly acclaimed and nominated for James Beard and IACP cookbook awards. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. 
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160774533X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607745334
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Behrendt on July 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful cookbook! The writing, photos, and organization are top-notch. Overall, working with the "Handbook" is like having a friend teaching and helping out in the kitchen. As noted in the first review, the book is about way more than just sandwiches - some history, family stories, the hunt for perfect bahn mi bread, and best of all, new ways of thinking about food. Ms Nguyen breaks down the delicious bahn mi sandwich into simple elements - crunch of the crust, softness of the crumb, a bit of fat, a umami blast, unctuous fillings, cool and crisp veggie toppings - in a way that I was able to carry over into my other cooking. I was thinking of her meatball bahn mi as I tweaked my usual spaghetti with meatballs recipe for dinner last night - adding finely chopped cilantro stems to the meat, coating the meatballs with panko, and a dash of anchovy paste to the sauce. I bring this up to show how this is a little book that makes one's culinary imagination take flight, as a great cookbook should.

More down-to-earth, Ms Nguyen also gives myriad little kitchen hints that I found immediately useful - how to keep cilantro and how to cut it to stay fresh, squeeze quick pickles after salting to get them crisp, how to refresh bread. Not to mention how many of her recipes can be simply transposed onto a bed of rice noodles or lettuce for a delicious meal. If you love to cook, then don't pass up this book!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of the author, following her lovely and delicious blog for some time. This book follows through on what I love about her work -- it's accessible for a home cook, the photography is delightful, the writing is clear, and I'm eager to get in the kitchen and try things out for me and my family.

This book features recipes for omnivores, meat-eaters, and vegetarians. Also, because of the way the book is structured, one could easily turn many of these sandwich fillings into main dishes for a non-sandwich meal. In my family, we eat a lot of rice, and I'll definitely be serving things like Crispy Drunken Chicken, Shrimp in Caramel Sauce, and Maggi Steaks with or without bread.

But the bread! She includes a recipe for banh mi rolls, but I haven't got to try it yet. When the weather cools down, I'll give it a try. It's written for a heavy-duty stand mixer, which I do not have, but Notes include instructions on how to work it by hand. Probably it would be a bit imposing for someone without a mixer or some bread-making experience; it is not, however, more complicated-looking than recipes I've done before, and it requires no special equipment beyond a spray bottle.

There is also a recipe for bao-like buns, or steamed bread, in the "alternative banh mi" chapter. That chapter also features a recipe for lettuce wraps and a salad, perfect for warmer weather meals.

Also included is a section on condiments, such as homemade mayo in several variations and some other sauces, and quick pickle recipes. They are refrigerator pickles and as such do not require any special canning techniques.

The section which may see the least use in my house is the one on cold cuts; this is not because the recipes look bad, however.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Helpful Advice TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
‘The Banh Mi Handbook’ prepared by Andrea Nguyen is a book which will introduce reader to exciting world of Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches, providing recipes for both vegetarians and those who like to eat everything.

Full of beautiful pictures, a book goes beyond delicious diet providing information about Vietnam history, family stories, the times when French ruled and cuisine which emerged as a combination of cultures and culinary habits compound.

Handbook is divided into following chapters:
- Banh Mi 101
- Bread
- Mayonnaise, sauces and pickles
- Cold cuts
- Chicken
- Seafood
- Pork and beef
- Vegetarian
- Alternative Banh Mi

Where this book especially shines is the variety of recipes that will take a lot of time until you make the same recipe again and due to numerous tips and tricks it’s written in a style which more resembles to a friend who is helping you in the kitchen than the book of recipes.

Though the book is mainly focused on sandwich preparation, there is no problem to turn these sandwich fillings into main dishes, therefore this is certainly not a book only for those who like variety of sandwiches. Still, for me the best part of the book was one discussing the bread buying and making Banh Mi bread.

Overall, Andrea Nguyen with her handbook managed to create a book that will seamlessly fit into every household providing the opportunity to enrich the cuisine with new and extremely tasty dishes.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Aaron J. on October 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Sandwiches are my favorite things to eat. I love all kinds of sandwiches. When I came across this little gem, The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches,
I just had to have it. I had no idea what banh mi was, however, the attractive design and the delicious appearing cover art immediately piqued my interest.

Banh mi is a “twist on the French snack of pate and bread”, created more than 100 years ago by Vietnamese street vendors. Banh mi sandwiches have their own kind of spreads and sauces, and can be created using a variety of meats or vegetables.

I love how this book provides much more than just recipes. It provides the story of these sandwiches along the way. The recipes are clearly written, though a little intimidating to the beginner, and beautifully photographed.

Andrea Nguyen, the books author, clearly lays out each sandwich component. The recipes start with the bread, how to make it at home, or what to look for at the store. Then it proceeds to the “spreads”. Nguyen goes into great detail to describe and explain how to make the one-of-a-kind sauces that banh mi is known for. Then she gets to the heart of the sandwich with individual sections devoted to cold cuts, chicken, seafood, pork and beef, and vegetarian.

This beautiful volume is a must have for any sandwich connoisseur. This book is complete in all things banh mi.
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