banh mi

banh mi 4

For me, taste will trump authenticity every time. Spaghetti and meatballs is more Italian-American than Italian, most of my favorite sushi rolls didn’t originate in Japan, and Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches include a whole mess of ingredients that aren’t available to me. I don’t want to miss out on any of these foods just because they don’t closely resemble the versions in their original countries.

banh mi 1

I’m not saying that I have no interest in more authentic versions of banh mi. I’m just saying that a sandwich made of grilled meat, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and spicy tangy sauce is too good to wait around for daikon radish to show up at my grocery store, because it never will. Regular radishes will have to stand in for the daikon radish. And I’m sure pâté is a particularly luscious addition, but still not one that’s worth the trouble of searching southern New Mexico for it.

banh mi 2

Besides, the mixture of storebought mayo, sriracha, and fish sauce is good enough to make any sandwich tempting. One with tangy pickled vegetables and tender grilled pork, all piled on an airy baguette, has become one of my favorite sandwiches ever. It may be a far cry from its origins, but it’s too good to care.

banh mi 3

One year ago: Cheesecake (comparison of 3 recipes)
Two years ago: Twice-Baked Potato Cups
Three years ago: Banana and Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast

Printer Friendly Recipe
Vietnamese-Style Grilled Pork Sandwiches (from America’s Test Kitchen Feed)

I used a mixture of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise, heavy on the yogurt, instead of just mayonnaise in the sauce.

Sliced cucumbers are a nice addition, and as you can see, the carrots and radishes work just fine if they’re thinly sliced instead of julienned. (I haven’t figured out how to julienne things on my mandoline.)

Serves 4

½ cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sriracha
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 (6-inch) piece daikon radish, peeled and julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
1 (24-inch) baguette, cut into 4 pieces and split partially open lengthwise
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1. Combine vinegar and sugar in microwave-safe bowl. Heat until sugar has dissolved, about 90 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon sriracha, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, daikon, and carrot to bowl and toss to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, remaining 1 tablespoon sriracha, and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce together in second bowl.

3. Rub pork with five-spice powder. Grill over hot fire until browned on all sides and pork registers 145 degrees, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Grill bread until lightly toasted, about 1 minute.

4. Slice pork crosswise into thin slices. Drain vegetables. Spread mayonnaise on inner sides of bread halves. Arrange slices of pork on bread and top with vegetables and cilantro. Serve.


  1. I am lucky to have dirt cheap and amazing Vietnamese places near home, but I am still excited to try these at home. They look amazing!

  2. These look delicious – can’t wait to try them :)!

  3. I LOVE these sandwiches! One of my favorites was when the sauce was made mixing mayo and hoisin together. Good stuff!

  4. Can you believe I’ve never had banh mi, authentic or not?

  5. YUM! I’ve had some pretty good banh mi here in Boston. No idea if it’s authentic though.

  6. i had my first bahn mi at a restaurant in winter park florida. i tried it because the waiter called it a “bang me” and i just couldn’t resist. 😉 it was absolutely the best sandwich that i had ever had! i have since had them at authentic local shop in a little downtown orlando asian area, but they didn’t compare.
    i can’t wait to try my favorite magazine/ website’s version!!! thanks for the recipe!!!

  7. Joshua Merritt says:

    My dad used to take me to small Vietnamese restaurants in Houston for banh mi growing up. Now you don’t have to look very far – food carts across Austin (and apprently the US) have caught on. I love that they are still affordable. These little sandwiches inspired my latest tee design, “Banh Mi Pho Shizzle,” check it out here:

  8. Ashlee says:

    Southern New Mexico? This caught my eye, I live in Southern New Mexico, although from your other posts I might live in a little less rural of an area than you 😀 I am in the process of working with a web designer and starting a blog myself. I live in Alamogordo.. where in S NM do you live? if you don’t mind

  9. These were a great use for leftover roast pork from the freezer! I think the Sriracha meatballs I have in there will be great with the pickled veggies too.

  10. These look AMAHZING!