Photo by Mai Pham The winning banh mi: R&D Bar BQ's brisket banh mi on Vietnamese banh mi roll by Common Bond.
Creativity was on display in abundance Wednesday night at The Great Banh Mi Cook-Off competition organized by non-profit Vietnamese organization, Boat People SOS (BPSOS), as a fundraiser for their domestic violence programs.
It started with the organizers, who successfully pulled off a change of venue at the nth hour due to inclement weather. The event had originally been scheduled to take place on the rooftop parking garage of Khon's in Midtown, but by 3:30 p.m., organizer Mitchell Lam made an executive decision to switch venues to Kim Son Restaurant (one of the cook-off participants). Facebook notices, tweets, and no doubt several phone calls and texts later, everything had been moved and the threat of bad weather successfully sidestepped.
Close to 300 attendees turned out to sample creative banh mi sandwiches created by 11 Houston-area chefs and restaurants, many of whom were competing for the first time. Favorites emerged quickly as Greg Morago of the Houston Chronicle, Lily Jang of KHOU, Renia Butler of the blog Gristle and Gossip, and myself sat down to perform the serious job of judging each of the entries.More »