Banh mi ba chi pate

    Lee’s sandwiches has different kinds of banh mi on their menu, and although I’m a stingy about chances to try out varieties (after finding out my favorite, of course), my mom often surprises me by how open-minded she is on a few things. For example, despite my usual fondness of banh mi thit nuong, this time she got me an extra: banh mi ba chi pate, the new and only item on Lee’s menu that has pate in it. I’m not sure if I would even have seen that on the menu myself. “Ba chỉ” literally means “three threads,” which I loosely understand as three layers, because there’s one really thin layer of skin, then there’s fat and meat. That’s right, sometimes words reflect great imagination of whoever made up the word originally. Just to confuse you, this type of meat is also called “ba rọi” in the south, and I have no clue what a “rọi” is, maybe a mispronunciation of “loại” – “type”? I digress. The meat is so thinly sliced that skin and fat can almost go unnoticed in your mouth. My gut instinct (well… not quite, just something I feel like I know but can’t remember from where or how I knew) tells me that the fatty pork is smoked Update: the pork is cured, but I don’t know if that explains the almost-too-attractive-to-be-natural red colour, which reddened the edge of the baguette as well. What is a banh mi with lipstick? Should you vote for it? Anyhow, I could taste little pate in there, and it would take a lot more pate to overpower the sour bickering of the shiny red slices. My loyalty with good ol’ grilled pork banh mi remains.

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