Classic Deluxe Saigon Sub
By Andrew X. Pham
Read Andrew X. Pham’s story, Saigon Subs.
1 baguette (or 2 demi-baguette totaling 20″-24″ long)
4 slices of ham
2 slices of headcheese (optional)
4 slices of Vietnamese cha lua (optional, pork cake steamed in banana leaves)
1 cup do chua (pickled carrot & daikon, see recipe)
4 spring onions, cut lengthwise and into 2 ” segments (optional)
¼ yellow onion, sliced (optional)
cilantro, cut into 2″ lengths
1 cucumber, cut into long, finger-thick lengths
1-3 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp of butter (or clarified butter)
4 oz pâté
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1. Warm baguette in toaster oven. Cut to open baguette lengthwise (not all the way through).
2. Slather butter on one side and pâté on the other.
3. Layer ham on one side, headcheese and cha lua on the other.
4. Pack all the remaining ingredients into the center.
5. Drizzle some of the sauce mix into the center.
6. Cut into halves and serve. Makes 2 servings.
Variations on the classic Saigon subs are easy and fun to make. Here are some optional ingredients and combinations I’ve tried with success.
Other optional fillings & ingredients:
salami, pepperoni, prosciutto
cold cuts, chicken, turkey, roast beef
grilled chicken breast, meatloaf
grilled pork loin, Chinese BBQ pork
pan-fried/grilled portabella mushroom
fresh/grilled bell peppers
feta cheese, olives, chopped celery
Sriracha chili sauce mixed with mayonnaise (1:1 ratio)
Maggi sauce, olive oil
balsamic vinegar or mirin
chimichuri sauce (Argentinian)
fresh sweet basil, fresh mint, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts
pickled cucumber/dills (if do chua is unavailable)
Pickled Carrots & Daikon (Do Chua)
1 lb carrot, washed and peeled
1 lb daikon radish, washed and peeled
4 Thai chili (optional)
2 cups rice vinegar
2 cups warm water
2 tsp salt (preferrably kosher salt)
½ cup sugar
2 16-oz pickling jars, cleaned, and rinsed with boiling water (Glass spaghetti sauce jars with plastic lids can be used. If lids are metal, use plastic cling wrap as a barrier between jar and lid.)
1. Divide both carrot and daikon into two equal portions. Keep the two portions separate as they will go into separate pickling jars.
2. Use a mandoline to shred one portion of carrot and daikon. Mix carrot and daikon shreds and wash with clean drinking water.
3. Cut the carrot and daikon into 3″ batons as thick as chopsticks. Mix carrot and daikon batons and wash with clean drinking water.
4. Put 2 chili into each jar. Put shreds into one jar. Put batons into another jar.
5. Pour brine mix into both jars, dividing equally.
6. If brine does not completely cover carrots and daikon, mix more vinegar and water in 1:1 ratio and add until there is enough to submerge the ingredients.
7. Store in refrigerator. Ready to eat in 3 days.
This simple version will produce two types of pickled carrots and daikons: shreds and batons. The pickled shreds are ideal for using in fish sauce mixes for dipping food. The pickled batons are best for Vietnamese sandwiches, salad rolls, and dry noodle dishes. These pickles can be kept up to a month in the refrigerator.