Banh Mi Soft Tacos

October  4, 2022
6 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

I love the taste of banh mi sandwiches, and I'm always looking for new ways to serve the components, especially since the pickled vegetables last for several weeks. I had some tortillas and the dish turned out great. I often use store-bought teriyaki sauce in a pinch, but feel free to make your own with this recipe (minus the salmon). —Leith Devine

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Leith Devine lives in Los Angeles where she creates creative recipes from unexpected ingredients.
WHAT: The Vietnamese banh mi takes on taco night.
HOW: Pickle crunchy carrots and radishes, shred teriyaki chicken, and fold it all into corn tortillas with cilantro, jalapeños, and queso fresco.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love banh mi, and we love tacos—but who knew the two could work so well together? The fresh-pickled carrots and radishes bring crunchiness and a vinegared zing, the Sriracha adds heat, and the sweet, shredded teriyaki chicken reminds us of the meal's roots. Bet you can't just eat one. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
  • 3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons Maggi seasoning
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless
  • 1 cup Thai barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce
  • 1 package taco-size soft corn tortillas
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 queso fresco cheese round, broken into small pieces (optional)
  1. Make the pickled vegetables: Put the white vinegar, rice vinegar, water, sugar, and salt into a canning jar or container with a lid and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the daikon and carrot matchsticks. Make sure all the vegetables are covered. Refrigerate up to a month.
  2. Make the "sauce": Mix the mayonnaise, sriracha, and Maggi seasoning together until combined. Refrigerate.
  3. Marinate the chicken in the Thai or teriyaki sauce for at least an hour or overnight. Barbecue, broil, or bake the chicken until brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Cool and shred the chicken into small pieces.
  4. To assemble tacos: Warm corn tortillas directly over a gas burner, under the broiler, or on the grill. (You can also wrap them them in a wet paper towel two or three at a time and microwave for 30 seconds.)
  5. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the sriracha sauce on each warm tortilla, then put shredded chicken on top. Add the pickled vegetables and chopped cucumbers and jalapeños. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Add more sriracha sauce on top.
  6. If desired, sprinkle tacos with the soft queso fresco cheese.
  7. This recipe is great with marinated beef or pork strips, too!
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • april
  • ozbaker
  • leigh frat
    leigh frat
  • velvet.onion
  • Leith Devine
    Leith Devine

42 Reviews

april November 7, 2022
Such a good idea, a gluten free banh mi!
Leith D. November 7, 2022
Alexa W. March 24, 2022
Six thumbs up! (Mine, my husband’s and my daughter’s, that is.) And it’s made of ingredients we almost always have on hand—what could be better? :)
I make all kinds of tacos but fish tacos are one my favourite go-to summer meals!
Leith D. March 24, 2022
I’m so happy you liked them!
ozbaker June 8, 2017
I substituted Greek yogurt for 3/4 cup of the mayo, added a dollop of mayo and a dollop of sour cream plus the sriracha and Maggi. I also used a Korean BBQ sauce (Wonnie's Hot and Spicy Sauce) instead of the Thai BBQ sauce. Bahn Mi is Korean not Thai. Why would one use a Thai sauce?!
Leith D. June 8, 2017
That sounds great! Actually, banh mi are Vietnamese, not Korean or Thai. I don't know of a Vietnamese BBQ sauce, so I improvised. I'm sure Korean was just as good!
ozbaker June 8, 2017
You are absolutely correct! My bad. I don't know what I was thinking, as I've been to Viet Nam and had banh mi there. I think it was the pickled carrots/daikon fermenting in my fridge that made me think of Korean food.
Leith D. June 8, 2017
Me too, and aren't they amazing? The pho....oh my. I always think of kimchi too!
heyrobertdavis July 10, 2016
LULULAND June 26, 2016
Thank you!
LULULAND June 26, 2016
The recipe doesn't say how long the pickled veggies need to stay in the solution before using them for this recipe, do we use them right away or wait for some time before using them?
Leith D. June 26, 2016
Let the veggies sit for 1/2 hour before you use them. They'll stay fresh in the refrigerator for a few weeks after that.
SueSLP April 29, 2016
This is one of the memorable dishes we have had in a very long time. It feels very street food-like and the flavors "wow" you. My husband and I have served this to our children, to our extended family while on vacation, and at a recent dinner party. Each time, the diners were stunned by the unique flavors for such an unassuming dish. I actually crave this for several days after eating it. We have served it with papaya/spinach salad like another commenter. Fresh, crisp, delicious. TY!
Leith D. April 29, 2016
Thank you so much. I'm happy your family likes it so much, and thanks for letting me know!
leigh F. September 4, 2015
I made these with thai pineapple fried rice and string beans with ginger, garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce. Delicious.
Meredith M. July 24, 2015
These tacos are SOOOO GOOD! Made them last night and they were a hit. I will definitely be making them again. The thigh meat is a great call - it's a little more fatty so it really holds the flavor well. Awesome, awesome dish.
Leith D. July 24, 2015
Thank you! I love thigh meat, because the breast can dry out so fast. The leftover pickled vegetables motivated me to find new ways to use them up.
SueSLP July 20, 2015
We prepared this dish twice in 2 weeks. Big hit with the whole family. Served it with a papaya, spinach, & avocado salad. Thank you!
Leith D. July 24, 2015
I'm so glad! The salad sounds amazing too.
velvet.onion July 9, 2015
i'm always on the lookout for recipes that look like they could be easily tweaked to a vegetarian/vegan version and this worked out beautifully. switched out the chicken for tempeh and the mayo for veganaise. easy peasy and so delicious. thank you!
Leith D. July 24, 2015
Great! I've used tempeh as well and it really works.
Agnes July 8, 2015
made these last weekend and they were gone in a flash! I didn't add the cheese to keep the asian theme and it wasn't missed. fantastic!!!!
Leith D. July 8, 2015
I'm glad you enjoyed them! For my kids, no taco is complete without cheese, and queso fresca cheese is so mild it doesn't interfere with the Asian flavors. They are great in a hard taco shell or pita too. Thanks!
Leith D. June 21, 2015
Maggi is a seasoning used in a lot of Asian recipes, especially in "brown sauce". A little goes a long way! It's high in sodium and contains MSG. I'm friends with a chef at a Thai restaurant and she swears no banh mi (and most Thai food) is complete without it. She sprinkles it on the bread. That's too much for me, so I add it to the mayonnaise mixture. It's really tasty though!
mrslarkin June 21, 2015
Congrats, Leith Devine!! These look awesome! I've never tried Maggi seasoning before - is it like soy sauce?
KarenP June 21, 2015
I hadn't heard of it either and did a little research. I wish it didn't have MSG.
Leith D. June 21, 2015
I agree, I get MSG headaches if there is too much in a dish. It's an extra umami note, but I'm sure they'd still taste great without it.
KarenP June 21, 2015
Here's some substitute suggestions. Trying the Bragg's although I know it won't be "authentic."
Corey B. June 20, 2015
Is there nutritional information on this?
Leith D. June 21, 2015
Sorry I don't have any.
KarenP June 20, 2015
Looks delicious. thoughts about a side dish to go with this?
Leith D. June 20, 2015
I've served them with salads, and I found a great corn salad that I like, Grilled Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad by Ceecee Lee. I've also served cold Asian soba noodle salads and Asian style slaw salads.
KarenP June 20, 2015
Thank you for the great ideas!
JDestefano August 30, 2019
I just prep extra cucumbers, picked veg, cilantro, and even some salad greens and avocado - an impromptu salad with the sauce as dressing.
boulangere June 19, 2015
These caught my eye the instant they were posted, and I'm not at all surprised to find them as a finalist. They look utterly divine.
Leith D. June 20, 2015
Thank you!
Trang D. June 19, 2015
It's actually banh* mi. Did no one do a quick google search?
Leith D. June 20, 2015
Trang, my (quick) search showed "banh mi" is correct.
dymnyno June 19, 2015
Is the correct spelling banh mi or bahn mi? You and the "editors" use different spellings, but I have only seen bang mi used by recipe writers.
Leith D. June 20, 2015
I've never seen "bang mi", only banh mi and sometimes bahn mi.
dymnyno June 20, 2015
Banh mi not bang mi and not bahn mi.
Leith D. June 17, 2015
I used a premade marinade in this recipe, but a great chicken homemade marinade can be found in my recipe for Thai Chicken Crostini.