As I think back about the time I had my first Bánh Mì Vietnamese Sandwich, I remember it clearly. It was the Summer of 2004 in San Jose, California. A good friend and business associate of mine were on our way back from a meeting. He suggested we pick up some Vietnamese sandwiches at a local place called Lee’s Sandwiches. Being a fanatic of Phở, a Vietnamese soup, I was enticed to try one of these Southeast Asia flavored sandwiches. It was spectacular. I was so impressed with these sandwiches, Lee’s Sandwiches soon became my go-to sandwich place. Then, I moved to North Carolina (where there’s no local banh mi deli) and forced to learn how to make Banh Mi on my own .
What is a Bánh Mì Sandwich?
Vietnamese cuisine is an Asian cuisine with French influences, from when Vietnam was a French colony. The term Banh mi ( from the Vietnamese language) refers to the French baguette used to make these specialty sandwiches. The sandwich in its complete form is the Vietnamese variation on the classic French ham sandwich, called Jambon-beurre.
Although I use roasted pork loin in my , other proteins such as roasted chicken, pulled pork, grilled beef or fish are also used.
Bánh Mì Vietnamese Sandwich Recipe
- 1/3 baguette La Brea Bakery French Baguette
- 6 tbsp Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Sriracha
- 1/2 cup Cilantro, de-stemmed
- 7 slices Pork loin (about 5oz) Roasting an entire loin is required.
- 1/4 Red Onion, pickled
- 1/2 Jalapeno, sliced
- 1/2 Cucumber, medallion sliced
- 1/3 Carrot, pickled sticks
- 1/3 Diakon radish, pickled slices
- 1 tbsp Soy sauce low sodium
- 1 cup White distilled vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 3 tbsp White granulated Sugar
Step 1 - Quick Pickle Carrots, Daikon Radish and Red Onion
- Remove stems, wash and peal daikon radish and carrot. Slice carrot into 1/8 inch thick match sticks. Cut daikon into 1/8 inch thick slices. Place diakon and carrots into medium-size bowl. Set aside.
- Slice red onion and place in small bowl.
- Add all vinegar, salt and sugar together in a small sauce pan. Place pan on stove at medium heat; simmer and stir ingredients until salt and sugar completely dissolve. Once dry ingredients have dissolved, remove from heat and immediately pour 1/3 of hot mixture into bowl with onions and remainder of mixture in bowl with carrots and daikon radish. Set bowls aside for later use.
Step 2 - Roast an Entire Pork Loin (for 6-7 slices of pork)
- Turn on and preheat oven to 375F degrees. Remove silver from pork lion; then, salt and pepper pork.
- Add loin to baking or roasting pan.
- Cook loin for approximately 60 minutes or until internal temperature of meat reaches 150F degrees (with meat thermometer). Then, remove loin from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.
- Slice 1/8 inch medallions of pork for sandwich. About 3oz. of pork (approx. 6-8 sliced medallions) will be used for sandwich.
Step 3 - Create Sandwich
- Cut baguette in 1/3 sections. Hinge cut one section. Open baguette section and place flat on baking sheet and set on middle of rack of oven. Lightly toast each side of bread under oven broiler. Once toasted, remove from oven and let cool for about 3 minutes.
- In small dish, combine and stir Sriracha sauce and mayonnaise until well-mixed; then spread sauce across both cut sides of the toasted baguette.
- Layer pork medallions across the bottom baguette. Then, drizzle Sriracha on top of pork.
- Remove a handful of daikon root slices from vinegar bowl and layer them across
- Next, layer jalapena peppers.
- Then, layer red onion, cilantro and cucumber slices.
- Drizzle soy on top of sandwich ingredients. Sprinkle with pepper.
- Enjoy your sandwich.
Step-by-step Bánh Mì Flavor Layering
Tips & Observations for a Great Banh Mi Sandwich
Before I publish a recipe such as this one, I usually test it a few times to get to understand kitchen workflow during preparation, cooking and assembly. I also test how flavor and texture work together. The research and development I did for this recipe took an unusually long time; about two dozen sandwiches over six months. Here some things I found that I’d like to share.
Banh Mi Ingredients and Ingredient Layers
There are many components to this sandwich. Although you may want to switch up the order of ingredients on the sandwich, I found layering the ingredients as I present here best showcases their flavors and textures.
Also, banh mi ingredients are bold. I attempted to balance the flavors as much as possible. Be careful not to over indulge with one. Doing so may drown out other flavors.
Good French bread tastes really good. Unfortunately, this bread is one type that has a really high amount of sodium. And speaking of sodium watch out for the amount of soy sauce and pickled vegetables you put on the sandwich. These high sodium ingredients add up.
There are many Asian-style marinades out there. Go ahead try them out. In two of my tests, I marinaded the pork and the results were fantastic.