This Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe (Vietnamese Sandwich) is the most explosively flavorful, sensational sandwich the world! And They’re easier to make than you think!
The Banh Mi Sandwich is a rewarding symphony of complex, exciting, exotic flavors and textures and my favorite sandwich out there – so if you’ve never tried them, let me introduce you! This recipe starts with a toasted, crusty baguette smeared with chili mayo and optional pate, piled high with tender slices of full-flavored lemongrass pork, tangy pickled vegetables, crisp cucumbers, spicy jalapenos and fistfuls of fresh, zesty cilantro. It’s a harmonious explosion of sweet, sour, spicy, savory goodness that’s light and fresh yet incredibly satisfying at the same time. These Vietnamese Sandwiches are a marinate-and-cook recipe that comes together astonishingly quickly once it’s time to sear the pork. While this Banh Mi Sandwich recipe is for pork, I’ve also included how to make it with chicken as well!
Calling all sandwich lovers! I love to recreate my favorite restaurant style sandwich recipes at home, so if you love sandwiches, you’ll love: Reuben Sandwiches, Monte Cristo Sandwiches, French Dip Sandwiches, Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Italian Beef Sandwiches, Beef Brisket Sandwiches, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Cuban Sandwiches, Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, and of course, this sensational Banh Mi Sandwich recipe!
HOW TO MAKE BANH MI recipe VIDEo
WHAT IS BANH MI?
Banh mi (pronounced ban mee), means “bread” in Vietnamese, and refers to a baguette made with rice and wheat flour that’s light and crusty on the outside and airy on the inside. A Banh Mi Sandwich is a fusion of Vietnamese and French cuisine that originated in Saigon in the 1950s.
This iconic sandwich layers the crispy, airy Vietnamese baguette with the umami richness of pate and mayonnaise, then stuffs it with meat (generally pork, chicken and/or cold cuts), and balance it with tangy, crunchy pickled carrots and daikon and fresh cucumbers slices, spicy chilies, and zesty cilantro.
Vietnamese Sandwiches are a full sensory celebration of fresh, light, rich, spicy, tangy, crunchy, complex, umami-flavored complexity! It’s no wonder that they have generated a cult following around the world. So, if you’ve never tried a Banh Mi Sandwich… It’s time.
A brief history of the Banh Mi
Shortly after the French invaded Vietnam and the Indochina region in 1887, they imported flour so they could start making their beloved baguettes. It soon became a staple food for both the French and the Vietnamese. Local pate chaud began being produced in farms around the South of Vietnam as well.
Due to supply shortages during World Word I, baguettes in Vietnam began being made using rice flour, which made the baguettes crispier and airier than the French version, hence, the name Banh Mi, or bread made with a mix of wheat and rice flour. Mass production over time made the bread to be as cheap as rice or noodles and an everyday staple.
During the 1950s, Saigon introduced the world to the distinctly Vietnamese style of sandwich known as bánh mì Sài Gòn (“Saigon sandwich”, “Saigon-style banh mi”). You can see the French influences in the bread, pate and mayonnaise, and the Vietnamese influences in the lightened up crispy, airy French baguette made with a combination of wheat and rice flour, the pickled vegetables, cilantro and spices.
Hoa Ma was one of the first bakeries in Saigon to sell the Banh Mi and Hao Hanoi began to sell them from baskets on bicycles – it wouldn’t be long until the whole world fell in love with this sensational Vietnamese Sandwich.
5 Tips for Making the Best Banh Mi Recipe
Banh Mi are actually very easy to replicate at home with the right recipe. I’ve poured my heart and taste buds into research to bring you the best recipe out there which includes the right cut of meat, preparation, the best marinade and cooking technique. And the best part is? It takes just as much time to do it right, as it does to not to! So, follow the recipe and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best Vietnamese Sandwiches you’ve ever sunk your teeth into. Here’s how to set your recipe apart:
1. USE THE RIGHT CUT OF PORK
There are Banh Mi recipes made with pork belly (too fatty), pork shoulder (too tough unless you go shredded), pork meatballs (not the right texture), and even chicken. This recipe is made with pork tenderloin which lives up to its name – its unbelievably buttery tender! Pounding the thin slices of meat with a mallet before marinating makes them even more tender when you didn’t even think it was possible.
2. SLICE THE PORK THINLY LENGTHWISE
Pork tenderloin, any way you slice it, is going to be delicious, but there is a good, better best way to prepare it:
a. Good is marinating and cooking the whole pork tenderloin but it doesn’t get as flavorful and only caramelizes the exterior.
b. Better is slicing the pork across the grain before marinating. However, this creates loads of super small slices that are an extra pain to grill because of the quantity and size. It also requires many small tedious slices for one sandwich.
c. Best is to slice the pork for the Vietnamese Sandwiches lengthwise into long, thin cuts. Not only do the thin slices soak up all the marinade, but you’re rewarded with a larger surface area for grilling, a bounty of caramelized edges and the slices layer beautifully in the sandwich rolls.
3. DON’T SKRIMP ON THE MARINADE
The Pork Banh Mi is only as delicious as the marinade, and I’m confident that this one is the best you’ll find! It is an aromatic cocktail of lemongrass, shallots, fish sauce, oyster sauce, lime juice, maple sugar, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, chili paste, ground coriander and Chinese 5 spice.
I know it sounds like a surplus of ingredients, but they are all essential to create the BEST stand-alone, showstopping pork. I experimented with streamlining the recipe, omitting certain ingredients like using all fish sauce and omitting the oyster sauce, using all brown sugar and omitting the maple. However, the most tantalizing marinade celebrates all the ingredients and is rewarded with their complex nuances, however subtle or not-so-subtle they may be.
Lastly, give yourself at least a few hours to marinate the pork, ideally 6-8. The longer you marinate the pork the more flavorful your entire Banh Mi recipe experience!
4. USE HOT WATER TO PICKLE YOUR VEGETABLES
The final crucial element in Banh Mi are the pickled carrot and daikon (called “Đồ Chua” in Vietnamese). They add the crunch and tartness to contrast the tender pork and crispy, airy baguette. The perfect pickled vegetables are not too sour, not too sweet, pickled long enough – and there’s enough of them!
Many recipes erroneously call for mixing rice vinegar, sugar and water together and pouring it over the vegetables – but the sugar doesn’t dissolve this way! Instead, combine the water, vinegar and sugar, heat in the microwave and then pour the brine over the vegetables so it can begin to work its magic. The pickled carrots and daikon will last in your fridge for several weeks, so they’re easy to make ahead!
5. LOAD UP THE LAYERS ON TOASTED BUNS
The beauty of the Vietnamese Sandwich is the ridiculously rewarding pairing of crunchy, soft, creamy textures and complex rich, umami, bright, zesty, spicy, sour, fresh flavors – so please don’t skip any elements! This
fresh yet protein packed and hearty sandwich is meant to be enjoyed on crusty, airy baguettes, so be sure to toast them so the mountain of toppings doesn’t make the airy bread soggy and lose some of its tantalizing charm.
WHAT IS IN A BANH MI SANDWICH?
Banh Mi Sandwiches are exciting flavor fireworks of umami, acid, spicy and sweet. They typically contain, in this order:
1. Roll: a crispy, airy baguette made with rice or wheat flour or a combination of both
2. Spread: pork or chicken pate and mayonnaise
3. Protein: grilled pork, grilled chicken, cold cut slices, eggs and/or tofu
4. Pickled vegetables: matchstick carrots and daikon pickled with vinegar and sugar
5. Fresh vegetables: cucumber slices, cilantro, chilies
6. Condiments: Maggi Sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and/or chili sauce
Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need for each of these elements (full recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):
vietnamese BREAD (Banh Mi)
The best option for your Banh Mi recipe is a Vietnamese baguette (which literally means “Banh Mi”). It is similar to a French baguette but is short, with a crispier crust and softer, airier inside because it’s made with rice flour or rice and wheat flour. Alternatively, you can use any baguette or roll with a crusty exterior and soft interior. In a bind, you can use two long baguettes and slice them into smaller sandwiches after assembling. I purchased my baguettes at Sprouts as “Bake and Take” and they were perfect.
The Spread Ingredients
What cut of pork is best?
Pork tenderloin is the ideal cut of pork for Banh Mi because it’s the most succulently tender and ideal for quick cooking like grilling. Please don’t confuse pork tenderloin with tougher pork loin. Pork tenderloin is thin and small, usually 1-2 pounds each and almost always is sold in a two-pack. Pork loin, on the other hand, is long and cylindrical in shape and weighs anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds.
Pork Marinade Ingredients
The marinade ingredient list is lengthy, but once you gather the ingredients, it takes minutes to whip up in your blender. You will need:
How to Work with Lemongrass
How do I choose lemongrass?
When selecting lemongrass at the store, look for stalks that are firm but slightly pliable rather than soft and rubbery or dried out and brittle. Look for stalks that transition from pale yellow at the base to bright green in the husks and avoid stalks with leaves that are starting to brown.
How do I prepare lemongrass?
Chop off the bottom of the stalk, peel off the outer layers to reveal the more pliable inside layers, then chop the stalks into a few pieces to fit into your blender.
How can I substitute lemongrass with lemongrass paste?
Substitute lemongrass paste by using 1 teaspoon of paste for every 1 stalk of lemongrass. For this recipe you will need 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste.
How do I use Lemongrass?
Looking for more ways to use lemongrass? The tender white core is traditionally chopped or ground for marinades like this one or Lemongrass Chicken, curries or stir fries. The stalk of lemongrass is bruised then used to release its flavor in soups like Tom Kha Gai or Tom Yum, stews, and marinades.
Pickled Vegetable Ingredients
fresh Vegetable Ingredients
Banh Mi Sauce
Finish your Vietnamese Sandwich off with Banh Mi sauce and/or chili sauce. Some Vietnamese vendors make their own Banh Mi Sauce using a combination of soy, fish sauce, garlic and sugar, but many simply use Maggi Sauce, which is like an Asian Worcestershire sauce. You can find it at any Asian markets and possibly your grocery store.
Honestly the sandwiches are fabulous without any finishing touches or Maggi Sauce, but – we also love finishing touches 😉.
homemade maggi sauce
If you don’t want to make a special trip the Asian market, the best substitute for Maggi sauce is to mix 2 tablespoons soy sauce + 2 tablespoons fish sauce + 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce + ½ teaspoon sugar all together.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A BANH MI SANDWICH?
Vietnamese Sandwiches are actually very easy to make because the marinade does most the work! They do, however, require some advance planning to prepare the pork marinade and pickled vegetables at least a few hours before serving.
This Banh Mi recipe begins by marinating thinly sliced pork tenderloin in a fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic, ginger marinade. While the pork is marinating (or preferably the day before), you will pickle the vegetables. The pork can be grilled or cooked in a hot skillet until deeply golden. The Vietnamese sandwiches are assembled by layering the toasted baguette with mayonnaise, pate, slices of seared pork, pickled vegetables, cucumber, cilantro and chilies.
Step-by-Step Guide for Making Banh Mi Sandwiches
Here’s an illustrated step-by-step guide for how to make Banh Mi Sandwiches or you can watch the HOW-TO VIDEO in the recipe card (full instructions with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):
Step 1: SLICE the Meat
- Slice the pork thinly into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise.
- Cover with plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet to about 1/8-inch even thickness.
STEP 2: MARINATE THE MEAT
- Add all of the Banh Mi marinade ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until smooth. The picture below shows a food processor – but I discovered a blender works much better.
- Add the sliced meat and marinade to a freezer size bag or shallow dish and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours (the longer the better)!
Step 3: Make the Pickled Vegetables
- Add water, vinegar and sugar to a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup and microwave until boiling, about 60 seconds. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Add the vegetables to a mason jar or bowl.
- Carefully pour the vinegar mixture over top.
- Press the vegetables down with a spoon to help submerge, then wait 10 minutes or so and repeat until they are all submerged in the solution.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature for 30 minutes, then seal and refrigerate until ready to use.
Step 4: Cook the Pork
- After the pork has had time to sit in the marinade, remove it from the fridge and set out at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Clean, grease, and preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to high heat.
- Before cooking the pork, open the baguette rolls and grill the insides just until toasted.
- Then, working in batches, add the pork slices in a single layer and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side – don’t overcook!
Step 5: Assemble the Banh Mi Sandwiches
- Whisk the mayonnaise and Asian chili garlic sauce together. Spread the chili mayo in a thin layer on the top and bottom of each toasted role.
- Spread some pâté along the bottom of each roll (optional but HIGHLY recommended!).
- Layer the sandwiches with sliced pork, drained pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, jalapeño slices, and chopped cilantro.
Tips for Making Vietnamese Sandwiches
Partially freeze the pork for easier slicing. The pork is much easier to slice if partially frozen (freeze for 1-2 hours). When ready to slice, cut the pork tenderloin in half, then stick half back in the freezer until you’re finished slicing the first half.
Don’t skip pounding the pork. Just like chicken, pounding the pork tenderizes the meat even further – you’ll be amazed at how buttery tender it becomes! It also helps to even out uneven slices. If you don’t have meat mallet, use the side of a can or a rolling pin.
Marinate the pork, but not too long. Ideally, the pork will marinate for 6-8 hours for maximum flavor infusion. However, don’t marinate the pork much longer because the marinade can break down the proteins of the thin slices which will make the pork mushy.
Pickle the vegetables early. Likewise, the longer you let the veggies bathe in the pickling brine, the more pronounced the sweet and tangy flavors will be. I suggest pickling the vegetables a day early so they can marinate for a full 24 hours. At the very least, pickle them just after you get the pork in the marinade.
Slice the matchsticks thinly. Both the carrots and daikon deliver dynamic crunch, so make sure to slice them quite thinly. Thicker is fine, but they will be that much crunchier!
Don’t skip the five-spice. If you are not using pate, then I highly recommend using Chinese 5-Spice in the marinade. Many pates are seasoned with Chinese 5 Spice and really elevate the sandwich.
You must toast your baguette. The crunch is part of the full Banh Mi
experience! Additionally, you don’t want the inside of the sandwiches to get soggy.
Preheat the grill to high heat. I experimented using medium-high and high and high delivered the best sear and most tender pork. As always, don’t add the pork until the grill reaches full temperature.
Clean the grill. The pork is sliced thinly and cooks in a matter of minutes so it’s crucial that your grill is clean. If the pork sticks to the grill grates, it will be tough to flip and you’ll likely wind up overcooking it.
Do NOT overcook the pork. The pork should be tender, not dry. You only need to cook the pork slices a couple minutes per side, so work in batches as needed so you can really pay attention. The first side of the pork will likely be deeply seared and the second side will not have as much color because the pork will be done cooking. DO NOT wait to remove the pork until the second side is deeply seared too. Keep in mind that the grill make cook the pork unevenly, so remove the pork slices as needed.
Switch on your oven vent if grilling the pork indoors. Things may get a little smoky, so start running the vent as the grill pan preheats.
possible recipe variations
There are many variations of Banh Mi Sandwiches, so have fun experimenting! Just be sure to maintain the requisite balance of creamy, crunchy, sweet, sour, spicy, savory and fresh.
- Use a long baguette. If you can’t find short baguettes, use long baguettes, assemble, then slice.
- Make it spicy. Add extra chili garlic paste to the chili mayo or marinade, leave the seeds inside the jalapeño peppers, pile on extra jalapeño slices and/or drizzle the Vietnamese Sandwiches with sriracha.
- Omit the chilies. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you are sensitive to heat, omit the chilies and/or the chili sauce in the mayonnaise.
- Add extra vegetables. Feel free to add extra veggies such bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocados, pickled red onion, etc. – whatever sounds good to you. You can also substitute classic red radishes for the daikon radish, just be aware that they are more potent.
- Add extra herbs. In addition to cilantro, try fresh mint, green onions and/or Thai basil.
- Go vegetarian: Swap the pork for marinated tofu cut into strips or grilled tempeh cut into thin strips, or even mushrooms. For vegan, you can also swap the mayonnaise for Vegenaise if you wanted to avoid eggs as well.
- Chicken Banh Mi: Marinate whole chicken breasts or thighs instead of the pork. DO NOT thinly slice the chicken before marinating or it will dry out. Instead, grill the chicken, rest for 10 minutes, then thinly slice.
- Use Vietnamese cold cuts: In addition to the pork or instead of, use Vietnamese “Brawn” (Thi Nguoi) and/or Cha Lua Vietnamese Pork Loaf.
- Banh Mi pork meatballs: These soft meatballs are gently poached in Vietnamese broth which makes them easy to “smash” into the baguette.
Can Banh Mi Sandwiches Be Made in Advance?
Honestly, when I’m making Vietnamese Sandwiches for myself, I will assemble them, wrap in foil, then microwave for 10 seconds when ready to enjoy. The baguette isn’t quite as crusty, but other than that, they taste fabulous.
For company and the freshest experience, the very best Vietnamese Sandwiches are served fresh but you make all of the components ahead of time:
-Marinade: Can be blended up and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
-Pork: Can be sliced and pounded thinly up to 24 hours in advance, or placed in the marinade up to 8 hours in advance.
-Pickled vegetables: Can be stored in the pickling liquid up to 1 week in advance.
-Chili mayo: Will last up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
How to Store Vietnamese Sandwiches
Planned leftovers: Store the sandwich fixings, bread, and pork in separate containers and assemble your sandwiches throughout the week.
Pre-Assembled: Assembled sandwiches should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Once assembled, the sandwiches are best eaten within three days. The bread won’t be as crusty, but still delicious!
What to Serve with ViEtnamese Sandwiches
This Banh Mi recipe requires extra planning and ingredients, so I prefer keeping the sides really simple. A green salad, fresh fruit, or even chips or sweet potato fries are perfect. Here are a few other sides you can serve alongside these Vietnamese Sandwiches:
Appetizers: Spring Rolls, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Pineapple Cream Cheese Wontons, Crab Rangoons, Chicken Satay, Potstickers, Pork Egg Rolls, Sesame Chicken Egg Rolls, Sweet and Sour Chicken Egg Rolls and Chinese Chicken Wings.
Soup: Tom Yum Soup, Tom Kha Gai, Laksa, Curried Butternut Squash Soup and Thai Noodle Soup.
Salad: Ramen Noodle Salad, Crunchy Asian Salad, Chinese Salad, and Asian Pineapple Salad.
Fruit: fresh fruit such as chopped pineapple is always an easy, welcome side. Or Grilled Pineapple, Summer Fruit Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad, Creamy Grape Salad, and Pina Colada Fruit Salad are also fantastic.
Looking for more Vietnamese and Thai recipes?
Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
Peanut Sesame Noodles
Coconut Curry Chicken
Chicken Pad Thai
Red Curry Chicken
Yellow Curry Chicken
Dan Dan Noodles
Pad See Ew
Tom Yum Soup
Tom Kha Gai
Thai Basil Beef
Thai Basil Chicken
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- 1 pkg. pork tenderloin, trimmed (comes with 2 pieces, 2 – 2 ½ lbs. total)
- 2 shallots peeled, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup lemongrass from white inner part of 3 stalks (see note)
- 1/3 cup fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 inch ginger, peeled (or 1 tsp ground)
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled (or 1 teaspoons powder)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce (like Sambal Oelek or Sriracha)
- 1 tsp EACH ground coriander, Chinese 5 spice
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup matchstick carrots (2-3 carrots)
- 1 cup daikon cut into matchsticks (may sub radishes)
Chili Garlic Mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1-3 teaspoons Asian chili sauce (like Sambal Oelek or Sriracha)
- 6-8 soft French baguettes, about 8-inches each, or use long crunchy rolls, or long baguettes cut sandwich size
- pate, optional
- 1 English cucumber thinly sliced lengthwise
- 4-6 jalapenos, thinly sliced
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Maggi seasoning (optional, see notes for DIY)
Pickle the vegetables
- The pickled vegetables are best made 24 hours ahead of time, but you can also make them at the same time you marinate the pork.
- Add vinegar, water and sugar to a microwave safe liquid measuring cup or bowl and microwave until boiling, about 60 seconds (you can also do this on the stovetop). Whisk to dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Add the vegetables to a large mason jar or bowl. Carefully pour the mixture over top (I do this using a funnel). Press the vegetables down with a spoon to help submerge. Wait 10 minutes or so and repeat pushing down the vegetables until they are all covered in the brine. Let the mixture cool to room temperature for 30 minutes, then seal and refrigerate until ready to assemble the sandwiches (the longer the better).
Marinate the Meat
- The pork is much easier to slice if partially frozen (freeze for 1-2 hours). Keep any pork you are not currently slicing in the freezer.
- Slice each tenderloin in half through the equator, then slice the pork into long 1/4-inch slices lengthwise (long-ways). Cover with plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet to about 1/8-inch thickness (see photos in post).
- Add all of the marinade ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Combine the sliced meat and marinade in a freezer size bag or shallow dish and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours (the longer the better). Meanwhile prepare the rest of the toppings.
TOAST BUNS AND COOK PORK
- Let the pork rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Clean, grease and heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to high heat (get the vent going if cooking indoors!).
- Toast Rolls: Open the rolls and grill the insides for 1-2 minutes—until toasted (you may also broil in the oven until toasted, 5 minutes or so); set aside.
- Grilling pork: Working in batches, add the pork in a single layer and cook for about 2 minutes per side, just until cooked – don’t overcook! Transfer to a plate.
- Indoors: Grease a grill pan with vegetable oil or add a thin layer of vegetable oil to a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven; heat to high heat. Working in batches, cook the pork just until cooked through, about 1-2 minutes per side – don’t overcook! Transfer to a plate.
- Whisk the mayonnaise and Asian chili garlic sauce together. Spread a thin layer on the top and bottom of each toasted role. Spread some pate along the bottom if desired.
- Layer the sandwiches with sliced meat, drained pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, jalapeno slices and cilantro. Drizzle with Maggi Seasoning. Serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks
- Lemongrass: Chop off the bottom of the stalk, peel off the few outer tough husk layers to reveal the more pliable inside core layers, then chop the stalks into a few pieces to fit into your blender. You can find lemongrass at Sprouts and Whole Foods either whole or in sectioned into smaller pieces with the herbs. If you can’t find it – make sure to ask!
- Lemongrass paste: Substitute the lemongrass with 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste.
- Chinese Five-spice: If you are not using pate, then I highly recommend using Chinese 5-Spice in the marinade. Many pates are seasoned with Chinese 5 Spice and really elevate the sandwich.
- Daikon radish: These can be found at Sprouts, Whole Foods and possibly your grocery store. Daikon look like a long, thin white tuber, are slightly tangy and boast an excellent crunch. Daikon is milder in flavor/less peppery than traditional radishes but you may substitute with regular radishes, keeping that in mind.
- DIY Maggi Sauce: Mix together 2 tablespoons soy sauce + 2 tablespoons fish sauce + 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce + ½ teaspoon sugar.
- Don’t overcook the pork: DO NOT wait to remove the pork until the second side is deeply seared too if the pork is already cooked. Keep in mind that the grill make cook the pork unevenly, so remove the pork slices as needed.
- Chicken Banh Mi: Marinate whole chicken breasts or thighs instead of the pork. DO NOT thinly slice the chicken before marinating or it will dry out. Instead, grill the chicken, rest for 10 minutes, then thinly slice.
- Vietnamese cold cuts: In addition to the pork or instead of, you can add Vietnamese “Brawn” (Thi Nguoi) and/or Cha Lua Vietnamese Pork Loaf.
- Vegetarian Banh Mi: Swap the pork for marinated tofu cut into strips or grilled tempeh cut into thin strips, or even mushrooms. For vegan, you can also swap the mayonnaise for Vegenaise if you wanted to avoid eggs as well.
Prep aheadFor company and the freshest experience, the very best Vietnamese Sandwiches are served fresh but you make all of the components ahead of time:
- Marinade: Can be blended up and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Pork: Can be sliced and pounded thinly up to 24 hours in advance, or placed in the marinade up to 8 hours in advance.
- Pickled vegetables: Can be stored in the pickling liquid up to 1 week in advance.
- Chili mayo: Will last up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
How to Store
- Planned leftovers: Store the sandwich fixings, bread, and pork in separate containers and assemble your sandwiches throughout the week.
- Pre-Assembled: Assembled sandwiches should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Once assembled, the sandwiches are best eaten within three days. The bread won’t be as crusty, but still delicious!
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