A while back, someone on Twitter alerted me to a pho banh mi at Andrew Le's The Pig and The Lady in Honolulu. It was suppose to be divine, the person said. I wasn’t about to hop on a plane to Hawaii, but when I was in Los Angeles this summer, I tried the pho banh mi at Chloe Tran’s East Burough in Culver City. She served it with a side of pho broth to offer a Viet twist on an American classic. Chloe told me that the genesis of her creation was simply “Why not?” and it worked!
When I ate it, I found myself not dipping the sandwich in the broth because for me, banh mi is not wet. Plus sipping on her lovely broth made for a terrific soup and sandwich combination.
Chloe got me thinking about how to combine two iconic Viet dishes into one. At first, I tried just using leftover cooked beef and broth from a batch of pho. The beef wasn’t tender enough for sandwiches. It was okay but not right. The lazy approach didn't work.