Where a Pastry Chef Goes to Find the Ultimate Tofu Banh Mi

Pastry chef Bill Corbett shares why the tofu banh mi at Sumiko in Oakland is the perfect sandwich.

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[MUSIC] My name is Bill Corbett, I'm the Pastry Chef for The Absinthe Group in San Francisco. And I'm here for my usual Tofu Banh Mi at Sumiko. My wife discovered it, she works around the corner. And one day she said you gotta come try this sandwich [MUSIC] It's just this perfect pairing of this kind of braised sort of tofu. I'm not even sure how they make it. It's kind of got a sauciness to it and the bread kinda soaks that up. And then I love the way that contrasts against the fresh, crunchy jalapenos. And the fresh cilantro and then they give it some more spice with tons of cracked pepper over the top which I've never really had before. But it just adds a little more to it. It's such a simple touch but it's so tasty. And then it's on this kind of French bread bun. And I get away with a little extra mayo and it's just like for me the perfect sandwich [MUSIC] Is that lemon grass? Yes lemon grass tofu. Okay, I didn't even know there's lemon grass here. Oh really? I didn't know. This really make sense now but the little saddle beads that makes everything great. A little bit of salt, just a little bit of her secret seasoning. Once you smell the fragrance of the lemon grass, it's just right. This is Japanese tofu that's deep fried. Is this your recipe? Yes. You made it up? Yeah. Nice. Lemongrass, tofu. It's a great combination. Works for me. Yeah. Now. [MUSIC] For me a lot of it's about the bread. They get really great bread. It should be kind of crusty on the outside it should almost shatter when you eat it but the interior should be really light and soft. And so right now she's putting on the Mayo [MUSIC] She's gonna toast up the bread. Yeah. It's genius. I would never think to do it first and I 9.9. A little touches to a jenny sandwich. [MUSIC] That's what really makes it great, is the fresh cilantro And the fresh peppers, and it just creates this really bright, tasty fresh sandwich. Soy sauce. That's your tofu banh mi sandwich. It's perfect. [LAUGH] [MUSIC] The thing here is they don't really cut the sandwich. So you gotta kind of just go for it. You end up with crap all over your face, but I'm totally fine with that. [MUSIC] This is what it's all about to me. There's really spicy from the pepper, the jalapeno, the tofu's really moist. I've had ones where they put this kind of real fried shredded tofu on it, and it's literally a mouthful of dried sawdust. And it just sucks all the moisture out of your mouth. And the bread just crackles when you grab it. I can eat this every day, and then get it with the [UNKNOWN] tea, this is my jam. [MUSIC]
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Where a Pastry Chef Goes to Find the Ultimate Tofu Banh Mi