About 2 weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a massive craving for the tofu hoagie from Fu Wah Market in Philly. I am in Pittsburgh, and while trekking to Philly for a sandwich would not have been out of the question for my younger self, my only option was to re-create it.

What followed was a three hour researchfest. I learned that the tofu hoagie is an interpretation of the famous Vietnamese sandwich known as the banh mi. I visited a dozen sites to learn how to create the components of this sandwich, with a vegan twist.

The research paid off and culminated in the creation of a ridiculously tasty vegan banh mi sandwich, otherwise known as Swilly’s Vegan Banh Mi, and served on Superbowl Sunday 2013! (We all agree that the original Fu Wah tofu hoagie still holds the title of best vegan banh mi).

There are just 4 simple steps to create Swilly’s Vegan Banh Mi:
(1) Buy a kick ass julienne peeler,
(2) Make the do chua (carrot and daikon radish pickle),
(3) Marinate the tofu for one hour and cook, and
(4) Sandwich assembly.

vegan banh mi

Step 1: I bought the Kuhn Swiss Julienne Peeler from Amazon. (Husband points out it was made in China). Excellent purchase.

Step 2: Do Chua Recipe (serves 2-4)


  • 3 small-medium organic carrots
  • 1 medium organic daikon radish
  • 9 teaspoons of raw brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons of warm water


  1. Julienne the carrots and daikon radish
  2. Place the julienned veggies in a mixing bowl, add 1 tsp of salt, and 4 tsp of sugar. Mix with hand until everything is covered, and set aside for 3 minutes. The veggies will become limp as water drains out of them.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the warm water with 5 tsp of sugar. Mix till sugar is melted. Then add vinegar. Set aside.
  4. Wash julienned veggies with cold water, rinsing out the salt and sugar. Properly drain the veggies.
  5. Place veggies in a glass container with a tight sealing lid. Pour the vinegar mixture on top of veggies. Set in fridge overnight (but tastes great even after just 1 hour).
  6. Veggies can last several weeks (some people say months, but I’d make a fresh batch after a few weeks! Not to mention, I’d be surprised if they even lasted that long, they’re so good with everything!)

Step 3: Tofu Preparation (serves 2 hungry people)


  • One container of extra-firm tofu

 vegan banh mi sandwich

Swilly’s Vegan Banh Mi Sandwich served with salt and vinegar chips. Yum!