On an uninspiring stretch of Bond Street in downtown Oshawa, across from the bus terminal, lies The White Apron. It’s a beloved breakfast stop and up-market diner, with decor that looks like it could have been transplanted from a charcuterie on Toronto’s Ossington strip – thick, wooden table tops, black and white photos on the walls, and an open kitchen.
But we were there to try a curious item we noticed on their menu, nestled among the traditional diner fare: The bánh mì sandwich, a favourite Vietnamese street food. The bánh mì has it’s roots in French colonization, meshing traditional French ingredients like baguettes and mayonnaise, with Vietnamese cilantro, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, a mild flavoured radish.
At The White Apron, the bánh mì comes in three flavours: pork, pork belly or lemongrass chicken. We decided to try the chicken, asking for medium heat. The sandwich is made fresh in front of us, and takes under 10 minutes to prepare. However, we need to run. And so our bánh mì sits in it’s tinfoil wrapper, uneaten.
When we finally get around to unwrapping the chicken bánh mì, we’re a bit concerned about how it will have fared during the delay. Sogginess kills even the best sandwich, but when the bánh mì is revealed, the rectangular chiabatta bun is still firm with no trace of the dreaded gooey dough.
Cutting into the bánh mì uncovers a generous amount of chicken breast and sauteed mushrooms, topped with thinly sliced pickled carrot with daikon. The pickled carrot was crunchy and just slightly tart, the thick slices of cucumber added freshness, and there was just enough bright green cilantro leaves to taste the herb, without overpowering the rest of the ingredients.
The sauce, while delicious and mildly sweet, did not remind us of lemongrass in the slightest. But it tasted so good, we didn’t care! The medium heat requested was also absent – the sandwich was on the sweet side, with no trace of heat.
Despite this, the bánh mì at The White Apron was a seriously tasty sandwich, and we would definitely visit again to try the pork (and enjoy the friendly service!)
Have you tried the banh mi at The White Apron? Share your story in the comments.