Yesterday, Alex drove me to Gretna, so I could check out the Hong Kong Food Market. Gretna is considered a part of New Orleans but at the same time could be a foreign country. There are people who have lived in New Orleans for years who have never ventured over to the West Bank. I hadn’t been there in about a year.
The HK food market is like one stop shopping for Asian anything. There is a fine dining restaurant, a jewelry store, a boba shop, a salon, and a number of other businesses set up in the same business complex, all catering to the diverse Asian crowd. The store itself is in an old supermarket, so instead of being cramped and cluttered, it’s pretty amazing to go into. We went in large part because I’ve been making bastardized Western banh mi sandwiches since my birthday, and I wanted to see what they were actually supposed to taste like. I also wanted to buy the ingredients for ramen, and I’ve been wanting to go to the Hong Kong market for months.
Back to the bastard banh mi- I had all the ingredients for rudimentary banh mi: pate, cold cuts, french bread, cilantro, tomatoes (although I’m not sure they usually go in banh mi…), jalapeno, mayo. I did not have Maggi sauce or the pickled carrots and cucumber I’d heard about. So, I went to Rouse’s to try my luck. I couldn’t find Maggi or anything resembling the pickled carrots I’d read about in Jaiden Hair’s post about banh mi, so I improvised. I made it first using a mixture of mayo and vegemite with italian pickled vegetables. That was pretty gross (if anyone has a recipe for vegemite that makes it less gross, please let me know) so I substituted soy sauce for the Maggi sauce with better results.
Yesterday, we picked up the real banh mi, and I have to say that, besides the strong pickled taste of the vegetables instead of the sweeter taste of the carrots, I wasn’t that far off. I sent Alex to work today with a simple banh mi type sandwich (just meat, mayo, Maggi, and cilantro) and he seemed pretty happy with it. Now he’s been at work, and I’m catching up on cleaning and writing.