This recipe for a bahn mi sandwich starts with a crusty french roll that’s piled high with tender slices of grilled pork, pickled vegetables and fresh herbs for a hearty meal that’s full of flavors, colors and textures!
We are a family of sandwich lovers – it’s not uncommon for sandwiches to be on the menu on nights where I don’t feel like cooking. This Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich is a little more exotic than your typical ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly, but it’s surprisingly easy to make. This is not a 100% authentic version of the traditional recipe, but it’s one that everyone over here enjoys (hold the chiles for the kids!).
What is in a bahn mi sandwich?
The traditional version of this sandwich is a French baguette roll with pickled carrots and radish, cucumbers, cilantro and any assortment of meats. These sandwiches typically contain pork, such as grilled pork, pate or a combination of the two. The sandwich is always spread with mayonnaise and often contains a spicy element such as thinly sliced fresh chilies.
How do you make a bahn mi sandwich?
This recipe starts with thinly sliced pork, which goes into a marinade that contains soy sauce, brown sugar, lemongrass, fish sauce and garlic. While the pork is in the marinade, prepare your pickled vegetables. The pork goes on the grill to cook until golden brown. The pork is then layered onto a baguette along with mayonnaise, pickled vegetables, cucumbers, cilantro and chilies. Serve and enjoy!
Tips for the perfect sandwich
- If you’re not into spicy, it’s totally fine to omit the chilies.
- My local grocery store carries daikon radish, it looks like a long white root vegetable. If you can’t find it at your regular grocery store, try an Asian market.
- Partially freeze your pork tenderloin, it’ll make it much easier to cut into thin slices.
- Prepare the pickled vegetables and pork up to 24 hours in advance.
- Serve your sandwiches immediately after you prepare them.
- I prefer to grill my pork, but you can also cook it on the stove in a pan.
- Lemongrass can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores. Remove the tough outer coating then mince the tender interior layer.
bahn mi sandwich variations
This is a basic recipe to prepare these classic sandwiches, but you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Protein: Try using thinly sliced chicken or slabs of tofu instead of pork tenderloin. You can also add thin slices of pork pate to the sandwich for an authentic flavor. If you can find a local Asian market, you can also add Vietnamese sausage or cold cuts to your sandwich.
- Vegetables: Add other veggies to your pickling mix such as red onions. You can also substitute classic red radishes for the daikon radish.
- Herbs: I like to add other fresh herbs that I have on hand, such as fresh mint leaves or thinly sliced green onion.
Skip the local sandwich shop and make bahn mi at home. You won’t be disappointed!
More sandwich recipes to try
- Buffalo Chicken Sliders
- Cuban Sliders
- Chicken Parmesan Sliders
- Ham and Cheese Sliders
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Bahn Mi Video
Bahn Mi Sandwich
For the pork
- 1 lb pork tenderloin thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemongrass minced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the picked vegetables
- 3/4 cup daikon radish shredded or julienned
- 3/4 cup peeled and shredded or julienned carrot
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- salt to taste
For the sandwiches
- 4 French rolls or 1 baguette If using a baguette, cut into 4 pieces. Bread should be split lengthwise.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumbers
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chilies optional
For the pork
- Place the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lemongrass, garlic, sesame oil and vegetable oil in a large bowl.
- Whisk to combine. Add the pork and toss to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
For the pickled vegetables
- Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, water and salt; stir until thoroughly mixed. Add the carrots and daikon radish and toss to coat. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
For the sandwich
- Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium high heat. Add the pork in a single layer to the pan. You may need to work in batches. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until browned. You can also do this in a pan on the stove if you don't have a grill.
- Repeat the process with any remaining pork.
- Place the pan in the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes longer, or until desired level of doneness.
- Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the pork.
- Spread the mayonnaise evenly over the bottom pieces of bread. Divide the sliced pork evenly between the sandwiches.
- Top the pork with the picked vegetables, cucumbers, cilantro leave and chiles (if using).
- Place the top piece of bread on and serve immediately.
This post was originally published on January 31, 2016 and was updated on February 7, 2020 with new content.