Lemongrass Chicken Vietnamese sandwich (banh mi) @ quick bites, Publika

Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi

We were out really early this morning to do some Chinese New Year shopping in Publika and decided to have a quick breakfast before we hit the aisles. My better half wanted to try this shop on the same level as Ben’s Independent Grocer, right beside the food court – it serves bánh mì!

Quick Bites Publika

I was quite intrigued by the different sandwiches they have, especially the unusual combinations. I have been to Vietnam before and eaten a lot of interesting things in Hanoi, the most popular notorious being dog meat. This is far from that though, the Asian themed Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) sounds really good.

Banh Mi

We decided to share a Lemongrass Chicken Egg Combo on a regular baguette. I found out during my travels that Vietnam was once colonized by France, which leads to the introduction of the baguette into their diet. I went for the set, which comes with gỏi cuốn (Vietnamese spring rolls).

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

You get an option of shrimp or chicken Vietnamese spring rolls and we went for the former. It’s pretty good, the dipping sauce has crushed toasted peanuts inside and a fiery hot sauce that will sear your tongue, but it’s wonderful. It’s better than the Vietnamese spring rolls I made anyway. The set of a sandwich with a starter of spring rolls and a drink will set you back RM 16.50.

Banh Mi Sandwich

We both loved the Lemongrass Chicken Egg Banh Mi! The chicken pieces are nicely seasoned and you can taste the lemongrass in the sauce. There’s also an egg and lots of vegetables in the baguette, and there’s just something very satisfying about biting into a baguette stuffed with ingredients and tasting fish sauce as an end note.

Vietnamese Sandwich

The baguettes are baked daily and it’s crunchy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. It’s really delicious! quick bites claim to be from San Francisco and I couldn’t verify that but they certainly make the best and most authentic banh mi I’ve had in Malaysia!

Hand rolled Vietnamese spring rolls with East + West sausages, shrimp and winged beans

vietnamese spring rolls

I bought this pack of Vietnamese rice paper a while ago and decided to make a surprise supper for my other half last night. I had about 1 ½ hours before she came back and I wanted to try hand rolling these things coz I’ve never done it before. I have eaten a lot of Vietnamese cuisine (even had dog meat in Hanoi) but never actually wrapped even a single spring roll myself.

vietnamese wrap

I was quite surprised to find out that the Vietnamese rice paper are hard, flat circles like a tortilla wrap. You actually have to dip it into warm water to soften it up. My better half later told me that she’s seen a documentary to that effect – the rice paper are mass produced as flat, solid circles.

chinese english sausage

I first defrosted the fresh Chorizo sausage (had one left over) and took out a Chinese sausage (lap cheong). I could insert a joke on the relative sizes here but I can’t think of a tasteful one. Haha! Geddit?

frying sausages

Anyway, I fried up the Chinese sausage and Chorizo sausage (found out later that it’s better to first fry them both whole before cutting) and also a bit of shrimp. No seasoning! I reckon the two flavored sausages would do well.

kacang botol

I also made a pile of carrot shavings and slices and used a couple of winged beans for the vegetable bit. Winged beans are called kacang botol here and people usually eat it as ulam (traditional Malay raw vegetable side). I had wanted it to stick out like the picture but that was harder than I thought. Haha!

making vietnamese rolls

My first two attempts to make one failed – the Vietnamese rice paper are really gooey and sticky after the warm water treatment and it’s not very conducive to wrapping. You cannot mess it up! *One* mistake and the entire wrap is ruined!

sausages shrimp

I put one sliced sausage of each type, a couple of shrimp, then some carrots before sticking in a winged bean and wrapping the works up.

vietnamese rice paper

It took my third try for a slightly acceptable wrap and some came out looking like phalluses which is completely unintended, I assure you.

vietnamese rolls

I chucked it into the fridge to chill and it was really tasty! I made five and my dear ate 3 of them when she came back and left 2 for me but I wasn’t hungry so I only ate it later on in the night as a midnight snack (to the background noise of my neighbor arguing with his girlfriend and telling her not to come over any more and some scuffling and punches – there goes the neighborhood).

chilled spring rolls

The crunchy and crispy texture of the winged bean (kacang botol) with the two sausages made for a really good cold spring roll! It certainly wouldn’t have tasted as good in a tortilla wrap, it needs something more refined, less pushy, and the translucent Vietnamese rice paper fits the bill perfectly! I’ll make this again! :)

wondermilk cupcakes

My better half came back with cupcakes, which is perfect coz I had a 4 pints of two different ice cream in the freezer. Heh.

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