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Nov 13, 2018
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WINE WITH…Turkey Bahn Mi

One of the blessings of Thanksgiving is the leftover turkey.  The only quandary associated with this bounty is which of the many, many delicious turkey-based post-holiday options to choose.  Over the years we have made turkey curries, pot pies, and hash. Turkey soup is always welcome this time of year, as are turkey tacos.  And in our opinion, few things in the world are tastier than a classic turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and plenty of mayo.  But 2018 is going to be our Turkey Banh Mi year.

Some newcomers to bahn mi are surprised to learn that this baguette-based sandwich is actually a Vietnamese creation, born in Saigon in the 1950s (the baguette itself was introduced in Vietnam in the nineteenth century during the French occupation of Indochina).  Today bahn mi is a popular Vietnamese street food item.  It usually includes a couple of different meats (from pork belly to meatballs to pâté), and certain vegetables are ubiquitous, including cucumber, carrots and daikon or radish.  These are generally pickled, but to keep our bahn mi as wine friendly as possible, instead of pickling we recommend dousing them briefly in a very light vinegary bath.  Sliced chilies and cilantro are de rigueur, but for those who don’t like cilantro, fresh basil leaves may be used (even better, add both, and perhaps throw in a few fresh mint leaves as well).

Baguettes are the traditional bahn mi bread.  Vietnamese baguettes are typically softer and airier, with a thinner crust, than contemporary French or American versions, which tend to be denser and chewier and have a harder crust.  You could substitute another kind of roll if you wish such as hero, kaiser, or Mexican bolillo. 

Turkey Bahn Mi

For 2 people

1 baguette or 2 mini baguettes
4-5 radishes 
½ carrot
About ¼ cucumber (we used a long English cuke)
1 teaspoon vinegar, preferably white wine or sherry
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sriracha or similar hot sauce
About ½ pound leftover turkey, sliced
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut in very thin rounds
About 10-12 sprigs cilantro
One handful of basil and/or mint leaves, roughly torn (optional)

Cut the bread in half lengthwise.  Use your fingers to hollow out the bread, making a trough in each of the halves.  Cut the radishes, carrot and cucumber in thin 2-inch julienne strips; then place all the strips together in a small bowl and toss them with the vinegar.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix together the mayonnaise and sriracha, then spread the mixture generously on both of the hollowed-out bread halves.  Divide the turkey and place it on the bottom half of each roll.  Scatter the jalapeno over the turkey then add the vegetables.  Top with the cilantro leaves and torn basil and/or mint leaves.

*         *         *

Most good Thanksgiving wines should pair well with this bahn mi.  Just as with the groaning feast the day before, full-flavored whites and soft reds work nicely, as do both rosés and sparklers.  We found that overt wood flavors in whites and firm tannins in reds proved distracting.  Regardless of color, opt instead for a wine that feels supple on your palate and is not too delicate so will hold its own with the meal.

More recipes and wine pairings:    Wine With...  
Connect  on Twitter:   @M_L_Thomas  and  @Wine_With_



Approx. Price




Count Karolyi,



Grϋner Veltliner


(Imported by Quintessential)









Less peppery than most central European renditions, this Grϋner Veltliner offers autumnal fruit flavors enhanced by a dash of green.  In turn, that herbal note echoes the vegetables in the bahn mi.







(Imported by Grapes of Spain)




Fresh and lively, with a crisp body and a mineral-tinged finish, this wine, though light in texture, pairs well with turkey bahn mi because of its vivid fruit flavors




Valle Central


“Le Rosé”


(Imported by Winebow)







Very pale in color, this rosé has been fashioned in a Provencal style, meaning that it tastes very dry, and offers echoes of dried herbs and savory spice in addition to bright red berry fruit.



MAN Family Wines,

Coastal Region

South Africa

Brut Sparkling Wine

“Methode Cap Classique”


(Imported by Vineyard Brands)









A compelling sparkler, this wine tastes legitimately dry or brut.  Its fruit leans towards citrus, and it feels invigorating in the finish, making it a fine, fresh bahn mi partner.







Pascual Toso,





(Imported by Quintessential)










Very soft and supple, with plum and cherry fruit and hints of licorice both in the bouquet and on the palate, this wine is simply fun to drink.  It doesn’t demand intellectual engagement.  Instead it provides simple drinking pleasure—just what you want with a bahn mi sandwich the day after Thanksgiving,