This Bánh Mì (Vietnamese Sandwich) Recipe has the most vibrant combination of flavors, textures, colors, and ingredients – and they’re super easy to make at home! Loaded with tender marinated pork, pickled vegetables, mayonnaise, and fresh herbs on a French baguette, enjoy banh mi as an on-the-go lunch or dinner.
Say hello to the bánh mì sandwich!
While Vietnamese Pho may be my number one pick for cold weather and comfort, the bánh mì (pronounced ban mee) is my go-to for all those in-between times. One of my all-time favorite sandwiches, the combination of ingredients may seem odd, but together they work so well.
So, if you’re new to Vietnamese food and you love a good sandwich, this bánh mì is a fantastic place to start!
What is Bánh Mì?
In Vietnamese, the word bánh mì translates to the word “bread.” Taken alone, it can mean any bread, but in culinary contexts, it typically refers to the Vietnamese baguette and the sandwich that’s made from it.
The banh mi sandwich is a unique fusion of Vietnamese and French ingredients. The bread used is a French baguette, typically lighter, with a thinner crust than those found in Western countries. The fillings vary, but they commonly include some form of protein, such as grilled pork, chicken, pâté, cold cuts, or tofu.
The sandwich is usually garnished with fresh cilantro, cucumber slices, pickled carrots, daikon radish, and sometimes jalapeño peppers. A common condiment is mayonnaise, often seasoned with Maggi seasoning sauce. The result is a sandwich that’s crunchy, fresh, savory, spicy, and a little sweet, all at the same time.
What is in a Bánh Mì Sandwich?
A traditional banh mi sandwich usually includes the following components:
- Bread: A Vietnamese-style French baguette, which is typically light and airy on the inside with a thin, crispy crust.
- Protein: This can be a wide variety of options, including grilled pork, chicken, Vietnamese sausage (chả lụa), tofu, smashed pork meatballs, cold cuts, or even a combination of different kinds of pork
- Pâté: The pâté adds a rich, savory element to the sandwich that contrasts with the tangy pickled vegetables and the fresh herbs.
- Pickled Veggies: Commonly, this includes thinly sliced carrots and daikon radishes that have been quickly pickled in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt.
- Fresh Herbs and Vegetables: Typically, fresh cilantro (coriander leaves) and slices of cucumber are used. Some variations might also include fresh mint or other herbs.
- Spicy Elements (optional): Sliced fresh chili peppers (like jalapeños) or a spicy chili sauce (like Sriracha) might be included for heat.
- Condiments: Mayonnaise, often seasoned with Maggi seasoning sauce, is commonly spread on the baguette. Sometimes, soy sauce or fish sauce-based seasoning might be used as well.
What pâté is in banh mi?
The pâté used in a traditional banh mi is often a liver-based pâté, similar to French-style pâté de foie. This is a smooth, rich spread made from finely ground or pureed liver, typically from chicken, duck, or pork. It often includes additional flavorings such as onions, garlic, and various spices or herbs.
The use of pâté in banh mi sandwiches is a direct influence from French cuisine. During the period of French colonial rule in Vietnam, many elements of French culinary tradition were integrated into local Vietnamese cuisine, and the use of baguettes and pâté in Vietnamese banh mi is one of the most prominent examples of this fusion.
Vegetarian alternative: Mushroom-based vegetarian pâtés can be used for a vegetarian or vegan version of a banh mi sandwich.
How to Make Bánh Mì
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Combine the marinade: In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, honey, fish sauce, and Chinese five spice until combined.
3. Marinate the pork: Transfer the pork and the prepared marinade to a large ziplock bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal tightly. Marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, rotating the bag halfway through for even marination.
4. Begin cooking the pork: Remove the pork from the marinade and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer the pork to the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
5. Simmer the leftover marinade: Transfer the leftover marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, cook for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
6. Baste the pork and continue to cook: Remove the pork from the oven and brush with the simmering marinade from the saucepan. Return the pork to the oven to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove again, baste, turn it over, and bake for another 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Rest and slice: Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing it against the grain.
8. Pickle the vegetables: Mix the vinegar, water, and sugar together in a large bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add the carrots and radish and carefully toss to coat. Allow them to pickle for at least 15 minutes.
9. Toast the baguettes: Bake the baguettes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a baking sheet for 5-10 minutes or until the outside is hard when you knock it, then cut each baguette in half and remove some of the soft bread filling.
10. Assemble the sandwiches: Spread a layer of mayonnaise on one side of the baguette and drizzle some jugo Maggi on the other side, then layer the pate over the mayonnaise and spread another layer of mayonnaise over the jugo Maggi side. Arrange enough pork slices to cover the baguette, then top with the pickled vegetables, cucumber, cilantro, and sliced peppers. Slice in half and serve.
How to Store Leftover Banh Mi
Deconstructed banh mi sandwiches can be stored for up to three days. Here are a few tips:
- Bread: Keep the bread separately at room temperature in a paper bag to maintain its crispness.
- Fillings: Store the different fillings separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. This includes proteins like meats and tofu, as well as pickled vegetables and sauces.
- Fresh vegetables and herbs: Store fresh items like cucumber slices and cilantro separately as well. You might want to store these in a container lined with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture and keep them crisp.
When you’re ready to eat the sandwich, you can reassemble it. I like to warm the protein filling before adding it to the sandwich.
More Asian Recipes,
- Chow Mein Recipe
- Easy Teriyaki Chicken Recipe
- 10-Minute Garlic Bok Choy Recipe
- Chinese Broccoli Recipe with Garlic (Stir-Fried Gai Lan)
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Yakisoba Noodles Recipe
If you try making this Pork Bánh Mì Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Bánh Mì (Vietnamese Sandwich)
For the Pork Tenderloin
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large carrots - peeled and julienned
- 1 large daikon radish - peeled and julienned
- 2-4 French baguettes - crusty on the outside, soft on the inside
- ¼ cup mayonnaise - plus more as needed
- ¼ cup paté - see notes
- 1 teaspoon jugo maggi
- 1 English cucumber
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 Fresno pepper or jalapeño pepper - thinly sliced (optional)
For the Pork Tenderloin
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, honey, fish sauce, and Chinese five spice until combined.
- Place the pork tenderloin in a large Ziploc bag and pour the sauce over the top. Seal the bag, remove any air, and marinate for 2-24 hours, turning the bag halfway through for even marination.
- Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Remove the pork from the marinade and place it on the baking sheet. Transfer the pork to the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, transfer the leftover marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, cook for 3-5 minutes, and then set aside.
- Remove the pork from the oven and brush with the marinade from the saucepan then, return it to the oven to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove again, brush it again, turn it over, and bake for another 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the pork is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing it against the grain.
For the Banh Mi Sandwiches
- Mix the vinegar, water, and sugar together in a large bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add the carrots and radish and lightly massage or toss to coat then let them pickle for at least 15 minutes. See notes.
- Bake the baguettes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a baking sheet for 5-10 minutes or until the outside is hard when you knock it, then cut each baguette in half and remove some of the soft bread filling.
- Spread a layer of mayonnaise on one side of the baguette and drizzle some jugo maggi on the other side then layer the pate over the mayonnaise and spread another layer of mayonnaise over the jugo maggi side.
- Arrange enough pork slices to cover the baguette, then top with the pickled vegetables, cucumber, cilantro, and sliced peppers. Slice in half and serve immediately.
- For the pickled carrots and radish: You can prepare these when you marinate the pork and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches, or you can make them just before you start baking the pork. Longer time will yield softer veggies.
- Paté substitutes: vegetarian or vegan paté typically made from mushrooms, lentils, or nuts. Also, hummus, additional mayo, avocado, or even mildly flavored cheese like fresh mozzarella.
- Leftovers: Keep the individual sandwich ingredients stored in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to three days.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)