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#foodbeast Features FOODBEAST Restaurants

Uni ‘Banh Mi’ Is Hors d’oeuvres Done Decadently Right

hanoi house_uni banh mi toast

New York City is a town no stranger to fine dining done in inventive ways. The most creative of food items pop up with frenetic speed and make the news cycle on a daily basis. So it goes without saying that only the most genuinely unique new dishes end up distinguishing themselves as noteworthy. Even at the smallest of bites, hors d’oeuvres and appetizers like to resist the confines of conventional and every now and then and traipse into memorable territory.

Enter the uni “banh mi” at East Village Vietnamese eatery, Hanoi House. Much of the menu here is Chef John Nguyen’s way of combining Vietnamese classics, like banh mi, with a twist, like using the uni.

hanoi house_uni banh mi toast

Though the concept for this nouveau take on an hors d’oeuvre isn’t exactly a banh mi, it’s essence is capture well via a toasted baguette, pate, and pickled veggies. The uni is just the decadent topping to catapult this bite into flavor nirvana.

hanoi house_uni banh mi toast

 

Photos: Janet Kang
Categories
Fast Food Features Hit-Or-Miss

Meet The Vietnamese Immigrants Who Created A Multi-Million Dollar Banh Mi Sandwich Empire

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Lee’s Sandwiches, the multi-million dollar Vietnamese banh mi sandwich empire, began as a modest food truck run by a family that arrived in America with little to nothing.

Chieu Le, the founder of Lee’s Sandwiches and the eldest of nine children, was in his second year of law school before the fall of Saigon. In 1975, the Vietcong shut down the law school and took over the family’s property and sugar plant business.

Hot baguette, pate, and iced coffee! #breakfastofchamps #leessandwiches

A photo posted by Carissa Dee Gee (@kixieboo) on

The Les were forced to flee on a small fishing boat filled with 98 others, one of the first waves of people to escape Vietnam by boat. Fortunately, their boat avoided disasters like pirate raids and storms that countless others faced.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Le and his wife arrived safely at a refugee camp in Malaysia where they stayed for 13 months. A month after welcoming their first born son, Minh, Le and his wife were on a plane to America.

When Le, his parents, four brothers and four sisters finally made it to the U.S., they settled down in San Jose, California. Le began taking night classes to learn English at San Jose High and bought food from a food truck that parked nearby the school.

Soon after Le stopped his English classes and began working for the Vietnamese owner of the food truck in order to support his younger brothers and sisters. Within a year, Le had saved enough money to buy a truck of his own and began a family operated food truck business in 1981.

He and his brother, Henry Le, the second oldest of the siblings, started Lee Bros. Foodservices after noticing that other immigrant trucks had trouble stocking food and ice. The brothers decided to add an extra letter “e” behind their name to help others pronounce it.

A photo posted by 黃景筠 (@_jane_huang) on

Lee Bros. Foodservices would grow to become the largest industrial catering company in northern California. In 1983, their parents Le Van Ba and Nguyen Thi Hanh asked to sell their traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches on the weekend to students and residents near San Jose State University. The rest was history.

台北上班族的越南晚餐 🇻🇳 #leessandwiches #taipei #vietnamesefood

A photo posted by Hugo Liu (@hugo_tw) on

They opened their first Lee’s Sandwiches location on Santa Clara street. In 2001, Le’s eldest son, Minh, proposed the idea of adding euro-style sandwiches, fresh baked baguettes, desserts, drinks and the famous Vietnamese iced coffee or “ca phe sua da” to the menu.

My cravings! #DeLi #Manjoo #creamcake #LeeSandwiches

A photo posted by Julie Vo (@juju_vo93) on

Thanks to Minh, the family also adopted principles of American fast-food companies and transformed Lee’s into what it is today. Unfortunately, Minh wasn’t able to see the fruition of his ideas as he was involved in a tragic traffic accident a few months before Lee’s opened up shop.

My health lunch #delicious #grilled #chicken #sandwiches

A photo posted by 徐薇涵 (@pppig) on

The family went on to establish their first store in Southern California on Bolsa Avenue in Westminster. Today, Lee’s Sandwiches is the world’s biggest chain of banh mi sandwiches with 60 shops throughout the U.S. and plans of expansion to Taiwan.

Write by Laura Dang | NextShark

Categories
Cravings News

Bon Appetit’s Controversial ‘Pho Is New Ramen’ Video Removed After Massive Backlash

pho-stk-sl4

A video launched on Bon Appetit that left the Asian community livid. Tyler Akin, owner of Stocked. in Philadelphia, was featured in Bon Appetite Magazine’s latest food video. The nearly two-minute video was an interview with Akin explaining the “proper” technique to eat the popular Vietnamese noodle dish pho, which he believes is on a trendy rise.

After a little more than 24 hours on the website Bon Appetit removed the video altogether, both from their Facebook and YouTube channels.

While we’re scrambling to find some footage for you guys, here’s the deets:

The chef claims that adding hoisin sauce or Sriracha, two staples iconic to the dish, would ruin the broth and that he doesn’t mess around with it. Patrons are supposed to try spoonfuls of the broth first before thinking of reaching for the black and red bottles. Ironically, the chef soon adds that he’ll drown that broth in as much lime juice as he can get his hands on.

Still, as someone who grew up eating Pho for nearly three decades, there’s really no wrong way to eat it. The beauty of the dish is that it’s just broth and noodles, with toppings and condiments served on the side. This lets the you create a dish that’s best for you and your taste buds.

Akin also calls pho the new ramen pretty early into the video. Never mind that the dishes are completely different and from two separate cultures. We can’t help but think of this scene from the King of the Hill:

We’re sure Bon Appetit’s intentions were well, but the Facebook video drew some heated comments from Asian followers regarding the cultural insensitivity of the content. Some of them were just savage, with Facebook users threatening to come into Akin’s restaurant and dousing his establishment with hoisin and sriracha.

With more than one million views, the video went viral, forcing Bon Appetit to go back and clarify the meaning of their article, before just removing it altogether hours later.

This led to backlash on the magazine’s Facebook timeline:

Sorry guys, you know as well as anyone the Internet is unforgiving. Especially when it comes to food.

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Restaurants

This Restaurant Used A Lobster To Brilliantly Reimagine Elote

Lobster-Elote-Cover

If there’s one corn dish I’m always craving it’s the elote. The popular street dish in Mexico features a cob of corn that’s slathered with butter or mayonnaise. It’s then topped with a variety of flavors like lime juice, cheese, chili powder, or salt.

I didn’t get to try an elote until my early twenties. One bite, however, and I was hooked.

Before that, the closest dish I’ve had was the Vietnamese variation. This featured charred corn topped with a salty green onion oil. Still delicious in a different way.

Hop Phan, one of the co-owners of Dos Chinos and Sit Low Pho, came up with a dish that combined both the traditional Mexican flavors with some Vietnamese highlights. It’s called Lobster Elote and it’s beautiful.

Dos Chinos‘ Lobster Elote features a halved lobster that’s topped with a garlic aioli, fried shallots, green onions, shredded cheese, corn kernels and chili powder.

Check out how it’s made at the Southern California-based food stall.

You can find the Lobster Elote on the Dos Chinos secret menu. Your chances are better off at the brick-and-mortar location in Downtown Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market than at one of the truck’s, as they carry a limited supply.

They’re available for $27.75, unless there’s a promotion.

Categories
Cravings

Someone Deep Fried A Banh Mi Burger Into A Chimichanga

Banh-Mi-Burger-Changa

What do you get when you take a burger and combine it with a Vietnamese sandwich and combine THAT with a chimichanga? A good time.

Mad Fox Brewing has Frankenstein’d three different cuisines into a monster burger they’re calling The BanhMiBurgerChanga. If pronouncing it is a mouthful, you should see the burger.

The behemoth is made with 8 ounces of house-ground meat with added cilantro and jalapeño and formed into a patty. Featuring smoked gouda, beer-braised carnitas, picked ramps & onions, carrot mayo and lime juice, the burger is wrapped around a chipotle tortilla and deep fried.

The BanhMiBurgerChanga will be available at Mad Fox Brewing Company until May 16.

Photo: Instagram

Categories
Cravings

What’s Pho Stuffed into a Burrito Called? A Phoritto, of Course

Phoritto-Cover

The Phởrrito || Photo: Peter Pham

If you told us a few years ago that there would be a burrito that held the contents of a bowl of phở, we’d probably reply with “Why not make a burger out of ramen noodles while you’re at it?” Yet, here we are. The present.

Earlier this year, we discovered a restaurant that serves an orange chicken burrito stuffed with chow mein. Heaven, right? Looks like you can now enjoy a bowl of on-the-go phở by also wrapping it into a burrito.

Komodo invited us to come out and try their new phở burrito, fittingly titled the Phởrrito, at one of their brick-and-mortar locations. Made with thinly-sliced rib-eye steak, bean sprouts, cilantro, onions, Thai basil, jalapeño, lime juice and phở noodles, the burrito is wrapped with a large flour tortilla and served with sriracha and hoisin sauce.

Phorrito

A close-up look at the Phởrrito. Screen licking is highly encouraged. 

What surprised us most about the Phởrrito is how much it actually tastes like a bowl of phở, the popular Vietnamese noodle soup that inspired this creation. Obviously it’s missing the key factor of broth, but then you’d get nothing more than a soggy burrito. Perhaps a phở broth-based au jus might be a possibility in the future? In the meantime, we’re more than happy chowing down on this beauty.

Oh, they also had a few other delicious munchies to offer.

Phoritto-Other-Stuff-02

The Java, the MP3 and the Fish N’ Grapes.

Komodo has a pretty sizable menu of tacos inspired by different cultural cuisines. The Java features Indonesian pork braised in coconut milk. Marinated sirloin, tater tots and a fried egg make up the MP3. The Fish N’ Grapes includes a deep-fried Alaskan cod topped with a mixed salad of lettuce and grapes.

Obviously their portions are much larger, but after killing an entire Phởrrito, these itty bitty bites were all we could handle.

Phoritto-Other-Stuff-1

The Komodo 2.0, the Loko Modo and the Asian Marinated Chicken.

The Komodo 2.0 is made with sirloin steak topped with southwest corn salad and jalapeño aioli. The Loko Moko features Hawaiian-seared Angus ground beef and teriyaki pineapple sauce topped with a fried egg. Finally, the Asian Marinated Chicken boasts grilled chicken, jalapeños, stir-fried rice and mandarin oranges topped with a soy sauce glaze.

All were pretty delicious, but we just can’t stop thinking about that Phởrrito.

Categories
#foodbeast

This Is a Pho Burger

Pho-Burger

Recipe A Table for Tu

Categories
Restaurants

Taco Bell’s Parent Company Opened a Vietnamese Restaurant, Stupidly Features a Communist Star Logo

Banh-Mi-Shop-Star

Vietnamese residents in the proximity of Yum Brands’ new Banh Shop are upset over the brand’s use of a star in the logo. The Banh Shop Saigon Street Food features a not-so-subtle five-point communist red star as part of their official store logo.

Would you expect anything different from the place that refers to pho as “Vietnamese-Style Chicken Soup?”

The Dallas-based Vietnamese-American restaurant is Yum’s first foray into the world of Vietnamese food, and it looks like they’re off to an incredibly bad start. Anyone of Vietnamese descent remembers how bad things were under the Vietnamese communist regime. The star, whether red or yellow, represents that unforgettable era for Vietnam. It’s almost as bad as a swastika or the Hydra symbol.

Foodbeast reached out to Yum and they sent us this email between Yum Vice President Jonathan Blum and Vietnamese-American Community of Greater Dallas, Thanh Cung.

Dear Mr. Cung,

Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us this morning.  We appreciate your time.

First, on behalf of all of us at YUM, please accept our sincere apology to you and to the Vietnamese community for unintentionally offending you with the logo of Banh Shop.  We have the greatest respect for the Vietnamese people and culture.  It was never our intent to offend anyone, but we see we have made a mistake and in hindsight, we should have recognized this logo could be offensive.  Therefore, and effective immediately, we are changing the logo and removing the red star from all materials and signage at the restaurant.  That will happen by end of day today.  We will design a new logo, and would greatly appreciate your reviewing it, along with other aspects of this restaurant, before we make a final decision.  We hope that you can let us know if there are any other elements in the new logo or aspects of the restaurant that could be perceived poorly.

We want you to know we have heard the issues raised by you and others in the community, and we are addressing those right away.  It is important to us that our restaurant is enjoyed by all, and we hope you can let others know of our sincere apology for the mistake we have made and the actions we are taking to address it.

Christophe Poirier, who heads up new concepts for YUM, will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time for the two of you to meet to review new logo designs within the next 24 hours.  We hope you’ll accept our apology on behalf of the Vietnamese community, and that you will feel free to contact either Christophe or me directly with any additional concerns or questions.

Thank you again for your understanding and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

Jonathan Blum

Senior Vice President

YUM Brands, Inc.

Let’s break it down:

First, on behalf of all of us at YUM, please accept our sincere apology to you and to the Vietnamese community for unintentionally offending you with the logo of Banh Shop.  We have the greatest respect for the Vietnamese people and culture.  It was never our intent to offend anyone, but we see we have made a mistake and in hindsight, we should have recognized this logo could be offensive.

We really want to believe it was an unintentional effort, Mr. Blum. The thing is, you’re responsible for one of the largest fast-food chains in the world. We know you respect Vietnamese culture and all, especially with a menu that dumbs down Vietnamese food to a bare minimum, but you have to have known throwing a huge red star on front of your shop would turn some heads. Seriously, don’t you have people who work for you spot-checking this stuff?

Therefore, and effective immediately, we are changing the logo and removing the red star from all materials and signage at the restaurant.  That will happen by end of day today.  We will design a new logo, and would greatly appreciate your reviewing it, along with other aspects of this restaurant, before we make a final decision.  We hope that you can let us know if there are any other elements in the new logo or aspects of the restaurant that could be perceived poorly.

Christophe Poirier, who heads up new concepts for YUM, will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time for the two of you to meet to review new logo designs within the next 24 hours.  We hope you’ll accept our apology on behalf of the Vietnamese community, and that you will feel free to contact either Christophe or me directly with any additional concerns or questions.

Oh awesome, you’re taking down the star today. Also a really solid move asking the President of the Dallas Vietnamese Community to look over your new designs. Should win over a few hearts if he happens to agree. Though maybe keep his phone number handy next time you open a Vietnamese-themed eatery.

Thank you again for your understanding and consideration.

WHAT.

H/T Culture Map Dallas Picthx Marc Lee