You’ll discover the perfect storm of flavors and textures in this simple Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwich. The deep flavor of the pork, tang of the pickled vegetables, freshness of the herbs, and heat from the peppers combine in perfect harmony.
Some of the reasons I decided to move to North Carolina include more affordable land, culture, accessibility to other interesting cities, and great picnic weather. When I moved here, I was immediately on the hunt for a truly fantastic Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwich.
It just so happens the area I live in doesn’t really have a lot of restaurants around. It took about three months into my move to find what I was looking for, but that just drove me to start developing this lovely Bánh Mì Sandwich recipe for myself. Speaking of lovely, while we have our cold days, most days are the perfect picnic weather here. What better way to celebrate an ordinary day than enjoying it with extraordinary food? This sandwich can be prepared ahead of time and wrapped in plastic wrap, or what I like to do is pack all the ingredients separately, and then build the sandwich when we get to our destination.
In case you aren’t familiar with the Bánh Mì, it’s a juicy sandwich with all the Vietnamese cuisine elements you would normally recognize. It has tender pork (but is sometimes made with other proteins), pickled carrots and daikon radish, pickled cucumber slices, fresh mint and cilantro, sliced jalapeños if you can stand the heat, and a generous spread of mayonnaise – all on a lightly toasted baguette.
Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwich Recipe
It’s the perfect storm of flavors and textures that makes this simple sandwich pack a true punch. The deep flavor of the pork, the tang of the vegetables, the freshness of the herbs, and the heat from the peppers – I can’t get enough. I’ve had Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwiches where the mayonnaise and residual pickling liquid, plus the juice from the meat, get together and have a party down the length of your forearm as you sink your teeth in. That, my friends, is one of the definitions of a terrific sandwich.
One of my favorite things to do here in North Carolina is anything outdoors. The weather is so beautiful most of the time with crisp air and a nice breeze, plus it’s pretty quiet around where I live. My neighborhood is still being built, so there aren’t residents in every home. Living in a townhouse, we don’t have our own backyard, but we do have a wide expanse of green behind our home that we use frequently. We lay down blankets and just enjoy each other’s company. We allow the dog to run off-leash, and we have picnics. Bánh Mì Sandwiches and picnics are the perfect combination. What is your favorite picnic food?
- Lightly toasted baguette
- 3/4 pound boneless pork loin chops, about 3 chops in total
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 tbsp sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp salt + 1/8 cup salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly torn
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, roughly torn
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- Sriracha (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, Chinese five spice, fish sauce, and grated garlic clove. Salt and pepper your pork on both sides and place in the marinade, making sure to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 45 minutes.
- While the pork is marinating, combine the carrots, daikon radish, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt into another medium bowl.
- Toss with your hands to combine and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. This will draw out the water that occurs naturally in these vegetables. When complete, rinse the vegetables under cold water and drain.
- In a large glass, pour in the warm water, along with the 1/4 cup sugar and 1/8 cup salt; stir until dissolved. Add the white vinegar. Add the carrots, daikon radishes, and sliced cucumber to this mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- In a large skillet or grill pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Cook the pork for about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
- To assemble the sandwich: Spread mayonnaise on the inside of the toasted baguette. Place a layer or two of the cooked pork. Top with pickled vegetables (without the pickling liquid), mint, cilantro, sliced jalapeño, and, if you love heat, some Sriracha.
Home Chef Tip: Use a large mason jar to combine the pickling liquids, carrots, and daikon radish. It'll make it easier to store and combine together.
We hope you enjoy this Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwich recipe from SoFabFood Contributor, Jennifer from The Foodie Patootie, as much as we do. If you love this recipe, you can find more like it by visiting our Sandwich Section. For daily recipe inspiration, like us on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!