Fresh, spicy, delicious. Three words you might not necessarily associate with airplane food – unless, of course, you’ve been flying Alaska Airlines.
Back by popular demand this month is a special twist on the popular Vietnamese sandwich that has become a staple in Seattle, in large part due to the city’s thriving Vietnamese community.
The sandwich is the product of French colonial rule in Vietnam, with influences from both countries in ingredients like fish sauce from Vietnam and baguettes from the French.
Alaska’s food and beverage team look to the airline’s hometown of Seattle for culinary inspiration, and decided to add the bánh mi sandwich to its onboard offerings after enjoying a particularly tasty sandwich at Capitol Hill’s Baguette Box.
“We loved the idea, but getting a fresh, hot sandwich onboard an airplane presented a new set of challenges,” says Kirsten Robinett, Alaska’s onboard food and beverage product manager. “We needed a way to add the fresh components after heating, otherwise it wouldn’t be the same. We decided to pack the fresh items in a resealable plastic bag so customers could add as much or as little of the cucumbers, shredded carrots, jalapeño and cilantro out of the fresh goodie bag.”
The sandwich has been a hit.
“Our customers love to try new things, and since this is not your typical sandwich it is a fun opportunity for them to try a new item that has been finding its way onto more and more menus in Seattle and beyond,” says Robinett.
Alaska Airlines’ Bánh Mi sandwich
(Makes about eight sandwiches)
1 cup soy sauce
¼ cup fish sauce
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
¼ cup chopped garlic
¼ cup grated ginger
2 tablespoons sugar
4 oz mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (may use more or less depending on desired level of spiciness)
2 pounds boneless pork loin, sliced ¼ inch thick, or
2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs or breasts, left whole while grilling
1 English cucumber, sliced thin
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced thin
1 small bunch cilantro
Combine all marinade ingredients in a nonreactive bowl and marinate pork or chicken for at least four hours. Combine mayo and sriracha and set aside. Wash and slice cucumber, carrot, jalapeno and cilantro.
Remove meat from marinade and grill on a preheated charcoal or gas grill until fully cooked. Spread about 1 tablespoon of Sriracha mayo on a baguette-style roll (about 6” long), and place grilled meat on roll (if using chicken, slice into thin pieces). Garnish with vegetables, or serve veggies on the side.
Flying this month? Alaska’s chicken bánh mi sandwich is flying now on north or westbound flights over 2.5 hours. Learn more about this month’s onboard food offerings.
More onboard recipes:
Where’s your favorite bánh mi in Seattle?