Build a Better Burger is an annual contest held at Sutter Home Winery in California's Napa Valley. Among the 2007 finalists for the alternative burger was one based on the beloved Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. The entry came from Brigitte Nguyen of Lexington, Kentucky. She grilled ground pork patties seasoned with some usual Viet suspects -- fish sauce (nuoc mam), lots of garlic, Chinese-five spice and soy sauce -- and added ginger and minced jalapeno for extra heat.
The bun itself got a double dose of creaminess in the form of butter and mayonnaise. Usually, banh mi has just one of these, most often the mayo. For extra lusciousness, she spread a bit of pate in there too. Pickled daikon and carrot, jalapeno slices, cilantro and cucumber grounded the burger in the classic banh mi tradition.
How's that for Vietnamese food going mainstream? As a runner up, Brigitte received $2,000. Here's her recipe at the Build a Better Burger site:
Btw, the winning alternative burger ($10,000 prize) was a "Little Italy Sausage Burger."