Pork Banh Mi

Pork Bánh Mì
Sonja_For The Pleasure Of Eating

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Pork Banh Mi are a Vietnamese Sandwich and yet another delicious use for your leftover Pork Shoulder. A thin crusted fresh baguette is filled with Asian marinated pork slices, quick pickled vegetables for crunch, fresh herbs for a fragrant green topping, spiced mayonnaise and either Maggi or Coconut Aminos to add the typical flavour to these super quick buns.

Why You Want To Make Them

Banh Mi Buns are a typical Vietnamese snack (or main meal, depending on your hunger), that can be made with a variety of fillings. In this case I’m using leftover Cuban Pork Shoulder, which makes fantastic use of it.

There are 5 main components, that you will see in pretty much all of them:

The Baguette

During the French invasion of Vietnam, baguettes were brought into the country. And while the invasion was most certainly not welcome, the Vietnamese people adopted the baguettes and made them their own by improving the structure and crust into an eggshell-like, very thin, shattering crust and chewy insides that make these buns so special.

You can certainly use shop bought baguettes, but ideally not the rustic type with chewy, thick crust. Rather pick the very standard version, to get the thinner crust and typical soft insides.

Or, if you’d like to experience the unique structure of the original, which I certainly did, you could follow the fantastic YouTube video from Huy Nguyen, where he explains in detail and with great care how to make the perfect Banh Mi Bun.

Bánh Mì Buns Process

My results were great, if not as pretty as his. But then, it was my first attempt at anything baguette like, so I clearly need to practice the shaping process. The flavour and structure were incredible though and I very much enjoyed them.

Usually the inside of the buns gets removed a little for a very typical Pork Banh Mi, but I quite enjoy the chewy insides, so I left them in.

A note on Ascorbic Acid

I had actually watched the above mentioned video for the first time several months ago and have implemented Huy’s method to use Ascorbic Acid, which is essentially Vitamin C in powder form, in many of my recipes with great results. Gluten develops easier, bread becomes bouncier and the crust that develops is crispier. So, I’m a big fan and grateful for him sharing his insights.

Pickled Vegetables

In Preparation for making these Pork Banh Mis, I pickled some vegetables the day before, so the sandwich assembly would be super quick.

The acidity and freshness of the Quick Pickled Vegetables cuts through the richness of the pork and adds lots of crunch to these buns. They can also be used in many other recipes or, as I love them, simply as snack, straight from the fridge. You can flavour them any way you like. A classic would be hot, with fresh chili, but I’m not a big fan, as I always feel I can’t taste anything else, as soon as chili is involved, so I left it out.

Classic vegetables to use here would be Daikon (which I can’t find in Ireland, so I used radishes instead) and carrots. Usually, fresh cucumbers are used in the bun, but since I was pickling, I decided to pickle those too and absolutely loved it.
I’ve also added red cabbage and mini sweetcorn here, to up the veggie content of the buns. They add lovely crunch and flavour too.

Pork Bánh Mì Pickled Veg Ingred

I will also use the pickles in my next recipe, the last in the pork shoulder series, a Ramen bowl. So, if you’d like to try both recipes, the portion of vegetables will be pretty perfect. Otherwise, you’ll have leftovers for topping other sandwiches, salads, bowls or as snack. Which is never a bad idea.

The Fat

Pretty much all Banh Mi Buns have some sort of fat spread over the two halves. That can be butter or mayonnaise in most cases. I’m using a mix of Japanese Kewpie Mayo and sweet chili sauce and/or cilantro here. But you can make your own mix and use any type of mayonnaise or other fatty topping you enjoy. Of the 2 mayo mixes, the sweet chili was my personal favourite.

Pork Bánh Mì Mayo Ingredients

The (not so) Secret Sauce

Another import from the French, beside their baguettes, was Maggi. An intensely umami-flavoured sauce, originally from Switzerland, but available pretty much all over Europe. And, clearly, Vietnam. It gets drizzled over the buns, right on top of the mayonnaise, and adds what people will recognise as “typical Banh Mi” flavour.

If you can’t find it or don’t enjoy it, Coconut Aminos taste very similar. I personally prefer them, so I used them on my sandwiches.

Other alternatives are soy sauce, Worcestershire Sauce or similarly umami rich varieties. Or a mix of several of them with a hint of sugar added.

Meat Marinade

For the Pork Banh Mi I’m using my Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder, pulled apart, then marinated in an Asian inspired mix of sauces and spices and re-heated.
You could also use the Air Fryer version, sliced thinly. I’ve tried both and loved them equally.

Pork Bánh Mì Marinade Ingredients

Herbs

I’m using the very typical fresh cilantro here, but you can use any soft herb you have on hand. Other variations include basil, parsley, mint, or a mix of these.

For Incredibly detailed info on Banh Mi Buns, check the great book from Andrea Nguyen. I used it as guide for mine, since I was never in Vietnam myself. I just “travel” the world through my recipes.

 

The Process

The Quick Pickled Vegetables need at least 1h in the fridge before they can be enjoyed and get better over time. So, the easiest way of meal prep is, to make them the day before. That way the Pork Banh Mi is mostly a quick assembly job.
Carrots and Daikon are traditional, but you can use radishes instead of Daikon and/or a variety of other crunchy vegetables as I do here.
They get pickled in a super quick mix of vinegar, water, sugar and salt, then go into the fridge to marry the flavours.
Pork Bánh Mì Pickled Veg Meal prep

Marinade

To give my Cuban Pork Shoulder the addictive Asian flavour, I’m giving it a quick bath in a mix of fish sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar or lime juice, maple syrup, brown sugar, sesame oil and some spices. The slices get then either a few minutes in the air fryer, oven or pan, to let them caramelise. Don’t skip this step. It gives incredible depth to your sandwich.

Buns

If you didn’t make your own, still warm, Banh Mi Buns, reheat your baguette of choice for a few minutes in the oven or Air Fryer. I always find, they come out best and really fresh tasting, if I sprinkle them with a little bit of water before heating, as it replenishes what was lost in however long they have been laying in the shop. Or your bread tin. That way, I get pretty decent tasting buns even on day 3.

Bánh Mì Buns baked

Once they are hot, slice them horizontally so they open like a book. Ideally not all the way through. Though it’s not a big problem if it happens.
Now wait a few minutes, to let the inside cool down a bit, to avoid the unpleasantly greasy transformation of mayo, if spread on hot bread.

Mayonnaise

Use the time to make your favourite mayo-mix. I used 3 tbsp of Kewpie mayo (use any mayo you have at home) to 1-2 tbsp sweet chili sauce or freshly chopped cilantro. If you like it hotter, you could use Sriracha or any hot sauce you have at home. This is a fusion cooking recipe, considering its origins of Vietnamese- French descent so experiments are welcome. Just stir together in a small bowl and you are done.

Assembly

To assemble your Pork Banh Mi, slather a thin layer of your chosen mayonnaise mix on the top and bottom inside of your bun. Add a few drops of your favourite “Secret Sauce”, be it Maggi, Coconut Aminos or a soy-Worcestershire-sugar mix. Lay the marinated and heated pork on the bottom half. Top with pickled vegetables and cucumber. Lay the herbs of your choice on top of everything.

Pork Bánh Mì Plate

Fall in love with the flavour combination and enjoy the best sandwich you had in a while. Once more, messy eating is a desired side effect.

Pork Bánh Mì

Meal Prep

Pretty much all of this can be prepared ahead and just assembled when you want to eat. The pickled vegetables keep for up to 2-3 weeks in the fridge. The meat, ideally already marinated, can stay in a separate container in the fridge for about 3-4 days, since it’s pre-cooked.
The mayo-mix keeps very well in a lidded container in the fridge and the herbs can stay either in their pot on your windowsill or in a small jar with water in the bottom in the fridge door.

You could either keep the baguette in your bread tin or freeze it and just re-heat when you want your sandwich.

For more Pork Leftover ideas check my Cuban Pulled Pork Salad and the Healthy Leftover Pulled Pork Tacos. Both made with the exact same ingredients, so one set of meal prep gives you 2 amazing meal options.

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot.

Note: None of the links are affiliated. They are just for reference, so you can easily find the few possibly uncommon ingredients used.

Pork Bánh Mì

Pork Banh Mi

Pork Banh Mi are a Vietnamese Sandwich and yet another delicious use for your leftover Pork Shoulder. A thin crusted fresh baguette is filled with Asian marinated pork slices, quick pickled vegetables for crunch, fresh herbs for a fragrant green topping, spiced mayonnaise and either Maggi or Coconut Aminos to add the typical flavour to these super quick buns.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Pickling time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Fusion, Vietnamese
Servings 6
Calories 450 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 medium sized baguettes ideally with a thin crispy crust
  • Quick Pickled Vegetables Makes more than you need. Use for other recipes like Ramen or half the recipe.
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups vinegar You can use simple white vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar or honey
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large carrots cut into matchsticks
  • ½ pound radishes sliced
  • ½ pound mini sweetcorn either left whole or cut lengthwise in half
  • ½ cucumber sliced thinly if using for sandwiches or into sticks for snacking
  • ¼ red cabbage shredded
  • Spiced or Cilantro Mayonnaise:
  • 4 tbsp Mayonnaise shop bought is fine
  • 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce or
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro or both if you like
  • Meat:
  • 1 lb roasted pork. You can use ready-made pulled pork from the supermarket or follow one of my recipes for Cuban Pork Shoulder linked above.
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1.5 limes zest and juice
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cup fresh soft herbs like cilantro basil, parsley or mint, stems removed
  • Maggi or Coconut Aminos to taste

Instructions
 

  • Marinade:
  • In a bowl, combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce, lime zest and juice, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil, brown sugar, ground ginger, garlic powder, Chinese 5 spice, and ground coriander. Mix well.
  • Slice the roasted pork into thin slices or pull it apart with forks, depending on the version you are using. Place the pieces in a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the pork, ensuring it's well coated and cover with a lid or cling film. Allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but longer is better for more flavour. I’m using a Pyrex dish for this, as it can go straight into the Air Fryer, which I set to 190C/400F.
  • After marinating, heat a pan, oven, or air fryer. Cook the marinated pork slices for a few minutes on each side until they caramelize. This step adds depth of flavour to your Banh Mi. Since the pork is already cooked, 2 min per side in a hot pan or 3-4min per side in the air fryer should be enough.
  • Buns:
  • Preheat your oven or air fryer to a low temperature or use the residual heat from the pork to warm the baguettes. If using the oven or air fryer, sprinkle a little water on the baguettes before heating to refresh them. Warm for a few minutes until they're heated through.
  • Once heated, slice the baguettes horizontally, but not all the way through, creating a book-like opening. Allow them to cool slightly to prevent the mayo from becoming greasy when spread.
  • Mayonnaise:
  • While the buns are cooling, prepare your mayo-mix. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise with either sweet chili sauce or freshly chopped cilantro. Adjust the ratio to your taste. If you prefer it spicier, you can use Sriracha or another hot sauce.
  • Assembly:
  • To assemble your Banh Mi buns, spread a thin layer of the spiced or cilantro mayonnaise mix on both the top and bottom inside of the bun.
  • Add a few drops of your favourite "Secret Sauce," whether it's Maggi, Coconut Aminos, or a soy-Worcestershire-sugar mix, to the mayo-covered bun.
  • Place the marinated and caramelized pork slices on the bottom half of the bun.
  • Top the pork with the quick-pickled vegetables and cucumber slices.
  • Finally, layer the fresh herbs of your choice on top of everything.
  • Press the top half of the bun onto the sandwich to close it.
  • Enjoy your delicious Banh Mi bun! Be prepared for a messy eating experience, as it's all part of the charm of this flavourful sandwich.
  • Feel free to customize your Banh Mi with extra toppings like sliced jalapeños or Sriracha for an extra kick of heat. Enjoy your homemade Banh Mi buns!

Notes

Meal Prep
Pretty much all of this can be prepared ahead and just assembled when you want to eat. The pickled vegetables keep for up to 2-3 weeks in the fridge. The meat, ideally already marinated, can stay in a separate container in the fridge for about 3-4 days, since it’s pre-cooked.
The mayo-mix keeps very well in a lidded container in the fridge and the herbs can stay either in their pot on your windowsill or in a small jar with water in the bottom in the fridge door.
You could either keep the baguette in your bread tin or freeze it and just re-heat when you want your sandwich.
Calories: Approximately 400-500 calories per serving
Protein: Approximately 15-20 grams per serving
Fat: Approximately 15-20 grams per serving
Carbohydrates: Approximately 45-55 grams per serving
Fiber: Approximately 2-4 grams per serving
Sugars: Approximately 8-10 grams per serving

Nutrition

Calories: 450kcal
Nutrition Facts
Pork Banh Mi
Amount per Serving
Calories
450
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword Easy, Healthy
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