banh mi pizza
1/2 kilo of pork from the Deli… along with all the fixin’s!

Well, hello strange feelings brought on by vacationing with my sister!

After an exceedingly long time apart (2.5 years… this will happen when your family lives on other ends of that great big expanse we call the States), I finally got to see Vietnam with Lex and our childhood friend, Kat. It was amazing… and exhausting.

So what’s the cure? No, it’s not a cowbell… but you’re on the right track (do pet pigs wear bells? They should).

For these Strange Feelings of home and family and belonging, I knew I needed something with the gastronomic power of a nuclear bomb. Something fatty, cheesy, light, airy, and with some vegetables, because I love vegetables. But preferably not too healthy, because these are Strange Feelings, of course, and that would just not be appropriate.

The solution? Banh Mi Pizza.

Yes. BANH MI PIZZA. Learn how glorious it is having an oven, and just how I’m making use of it…

 

banh mi pizza
Mayo, pork and beef sausage cuts, pickled daikon, chilis, emmental cheese (swiss), and thai basil, on a baguette.

These went through a bit of a refining process (because, of course), and I experimented over the course of a couple weeks in late January. If I’d been in Chicago, with the gloomy post-holidays darkness and cold, I can see these being a real pick-me-up. They worked pretty well for me in the Tropics, even so.

banh mi pizzaAs it is, HCMC is really pretty cold right now (it’s only 81 F right now! Blanket weather!), and so the oven isn’t as much of a trial as it will be in a few months, when temps rise to 100-110 F. For now, we are good.

I didn’t want to go too crazy with the cheese. (Who am I, and what did I do with Ben?!) The richness of the various meats I purchased meant that the saturated fats my brain craved were already present… but a few grams of cheddar or Emmental didn’t hurt. The one at left didn’t have any kind of cheese whatsoever, and it was darn delicious, although I did serve it with chili mayo on the side.

For my sauces I’ve experimented with no sauce (ok), Homemade mayo (excellent), Chili sauce (good, but better drizzled on top), pesto (strong, but great paired with the cold cuts), and pesto mayo (awesome).

Toppings have included sautéed onions, pickled carrots, pickled daikon, basil, thai basil, coriander, beef sausage cuts, pork sausage cuts, Swiss, Cheddar, sautéed green peppers, and the BBQ pork from this excellent sandwich.

banh mi pizza

I chose to use fresh baguettes for the crust, although I’m curious about how a baguette or croissant dough would be rolled out and baked (my oven is NOT prepared for this… not with both the temp knobs missing). It made for a heavier style of ‘pizza bread,’ if we’re going to compare this to similar things I’ve made in the US.

banh mi pizza

(Wow, these are not really great pictures, are they? That kitchen is so dark! Sorry!)

We ate these sliced like this. There was a time when I wouldn’t have minded eating the whole thing now, but I think my stomach has been shrinking… it takes a lot less food now to fill me up properly. Besides, sharing is caring (especially when it’s hot pizza bread)!

To make something like this for yourself, simply get some fresh bread, top it with weird shit, and bake it for a bit. Done. Now it is a pizza. Aaaaannnnd… now it is gone. Poof!

I’m sure I’ll keep kneading (needing? ha ha) this recipe until I’m tired of little pizzas that taste like my favorite Vietnamese street foods. So, never. Expect future updates to this article as I keep on experimenting!

You’ve just seen how I eat my feelings… how do you eat yours?