This Vietnamese-style Banh Mi sandwich is one of my all-time favorite things to eat, with its tender braised meat, vibrant pickled vegetables and cucumbers.
If you’ve eaten Banh Mi before, you know that these flavors together are simply irresistible. The basics of the sandwich are always the same, but each restaurant or food stand seems to have their own variations, which makes it fun to try everywhere you go.
The best part is that this sandwich is really easy to make at home, so you can have it any time you want. We always have leftover pork (because we make these carnitas on a regular basis), so it’s a no brainer to use it in this sandwich.
The basic ingredients for this dish are easy. You need a crusty roll or baguette, pork or pate, pickled daikon and carrots, cucumbers, cilantro and mayonnaise.
It’s not really possible to buy the picked daikon and carrot mix. I always make my own. They only require a quick pickle, so it won’t take much longer than 30 minutes to prepare. Here’s a great recipe and guide for making it.
Add some sliced jalapenos and a soy-sauce mayonnaise to the sandwich, and you’ve got a pretty good substitute for the real thing.
A true Vietnamese Banh Mi has pâte on it, which is another ingredient that is due to the French influence on this sandwich. Pâte is very tasty on the sandwich. If you want it to be as authentic as possible, it’s a must – and fairly easy to get at the store. However, it’s not necessary. Here’s a recipe for pate, if you’d like to try making it yourself.
What Type of Bread to Use
One consideration you will have to make is what bread to serve it on. Traditionally, you’d use Vietnamese baguette, which is a bit more crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside than a French baguette. You can make your own Vietnamese rolls using this recipe, if you want to try your hand at it.
The difference between the Vietnamese baguette and a French baguette is how much lighter they are. Vietnamese bread is made with rice and wheat flour, so they are more airy.
A French baguette is the next best thing. You might want to pull a bit of the bread out of the inside of the roll to make it less dense and give space for all the ingredients.
At my grocery, I’m able to easily get these Vienna rolls, which are very similar to French rolls, but they’re smaller. Any roll with a crusty exterior is a great option.
To top it all off, I always add Yum Yum Sauce or Sriracha Mayo. It adds a lot of flavor and I find it truly irresistible. However, the more traditional dressing would be mayonnaise and Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce. Mix those together and spread them on the bread.
Other Recipes to Try
If you like these Banh Mi sandwiches, you’ll also love our Vietnamese pork bowls. They combine all of the same ingredients as this sandwich with vermicelli noodles in bowl form – no bread.
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Vietnamese-Style Banh Mi
For the pickled vegetables
- 1 medium carrot cut into matchsticks
- 1 medium daikon cut into matchsticks
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
For the sandwiches
- 4 6-inch baguettes Vietnamese rolls, if possible
- 2-3 lb pork shoulder slow roasted
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 small cucumber thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeno peppers ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
For the pickled vegetables
- Place the carrot and daikon in a bowl. Pour the salt over the top and massage it into the vegetables to release some water and soften them. Let them sit for about 5 minutes. Rinse the vegetables under cold water to remove the salt.
- In a bowl, combine the sugar, water, and vinegar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add the vegetables to the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to one hour or overnight before using.
For the sandwiches
- Heat the rolls in the oven for 5 minutes until just slightly crunchy. Slice lengthwise, but don't cut all the way through the roll, so one edge is still connected. This will keep the ingredients in and make it easier to eat.
- Mix together the mayonnaise and soy sauce. Spread this dressing on both of the insides of the rolls.
- Fill each sandwich with a 1/4th of the meat, cucumber and jalapeno, a handful of pickled daikon, and a sprinkling of cilantro.
- You can substitute prepared roasted pork or chicken breast instead of making your own pork shoulder.
- If you can’t find Vietnamese rolls, French baguettes will work.
- If you can’t find diakon, you can use regular radishes cut into pieces.
- Traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi includes pate slices on the sandwich, but it’s not my preference to add it. Give it a try to see how you like it.
- The pickled daikon will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator in the pickling water.