If there were a Between-the-Bread Olympics, some classic contenders would certainly take gold. The American Grilled Cheese. The French Dip. The Reuben. The BLT. The Hoagie. Note that most of these come from the Western half of the world. I’m just guessing, but maybe this is because the Eastern half is less bread-centric. And a sandwich without bread isn’t one.
There is however, a notable exception. (Probably more than one, but I’m spitballing here.) The Banh Mi. In Salt Lake City, get one at Oh Mai.
A banh mi is constructed on a baguette, itself a legacy of the French occupation of Southeast Asia. With much of the crumb hollowed out, leaving mostly crisp crust, the filling is a layering of Vietnamese culinary history and may include pate, pork head cheese, cilantro, fish sauce, pickled daikon, bean thread, jalapeno, ham, mayo, basil, sriracha…it’s up to you. Somehow all these disparate elements combine in the mouth to make one spicy, salty, sweet, hot, umami, crunchy, fresh flavor. Just another example of how world diplomacy could take a lesson from world cuisine.
There are several Oh Mai locations; this was the original. 850 S. State St., SLC, 801-575-8888, ohmaisandwich.com
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