Cast Iron

Caramelized Pork Bánh Mì

October  4, 2022
11 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

These Vietnamese sandwiches are the perfect fusion of French and Asian cuisines. Bánh mì are usually very inexpensive and come with many different types of fillings. But my favorite is this one, with juicy, seared pork that goes perfectly with the crunchy pickled and fresh vegetables. Pâté is typically in bánh mì and though I list it as optional, doesn’t french bread just taste great with pâté? - monkeymom

Sandwich fan? Tune into our podcast, The Sandwich Universe, where co-hosts and longtime BFFs Molly Baz and Declan Bond debate and cook up iconic sandwiches every ‘wich way.monkeymom

Test Kitchen Notes

The caramelized pork could be a recipe all its own, but we sure do like it in this sandwich, as well. Bánh mì are often made with a rich and fatty grilled pork -- this seasoned pork tenderloin gives the sandwich character. Make sure you use a light airy roll with a crisp crust -- bánh mì is all about the interior. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Caramelized Pork and Bánh mì Assembly
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin (up to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons Fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 slice ginger, minced
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 loaf sweet French baguette (thin) or french bread sandwich rolls. Try to get the kind of French bread with a crisp crust and tender light center.
  • 3 pieces red leaf lettuce
  • 1 handful pickled carrot and radishes (see below)
  • 2 pieces sliced jalapeno chili peppers
  • 5 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon Pâté (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Pickled Carrots and Radishes
  • 1/4 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1 bunch red radishes, preferably breakfast radishes (daikon are more traditional. I just think red radishes are beautiful.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Caramelized Pork and Bánh mì Assembly
  2. Cut tenderloin across the grain of the meat into ½ inch pieces. Flatten each piece to an even ¼ inch between two pieces of saran wrap using a meat pounder, rolling pin, or large bottle.
  3. Mix ingredients from fish sauce to black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning – it should be sweet and savory so add more soy, salt, or sesame oil as you like. Add marinade to the meat and use your hands or large spoon to make sure all pieces of meat are coated in marinade. Marinate for 10-30 minutes.
  4. You can cook the pork on the grill outdoors (best) or indoors using a grill pan or cast iron pan, something that you can get very hot. Heat grill or grill pan to high and turn on that vent fan! Add vegetable oil to meat and stir to coat. Sear first side of meat until very dark brown on one side, then flip and sear on the second side. Be careful not to overcook it. The meat is thin so it cooks quickly, one or two minutes on each side.
  5. To assemble sandwiches, slice baguette and spread mayonnaise on one side, pâté on the other. Add lettuce, meat, pickled vegetables, cilantro and peppers. Dig in!
  1. Pickled Carrots and Radishes
  2. Slice carrots and radishes into quarters (or sixths for thicker guys) lengthwise. Mix all ingredients together. Taste for seasoning. Let stand as little as an hour or up to overnight. They keep for several days.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Windischgirl
  • cathy
  • Hannah
  • Rey Compañeros
    Rey Compañeros
  • Hazy Cascadian
    Hazy Cascadian

Recipe by: monkeymom

My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.

173 Reviews

Windischgirl July 31, 2023
Def have to try this: Banh mi is a summer favorite, and there was great mourning in my household when the local banh mi hut closed during COVID. I’ve been craving these flavors!
Thank you for this recipe!
When my kids were teens I used to make lazy banh mi by tossing chicken or pork strips in jarred hoisin sauce and then charring then on a grill plate (to keep the pieces from falling through the grates) on the grill, serving on a baguette with sriracha mayo, shredded carrots and radishes, cuke strips, lettuce leaves, cilantro and basil. This also makes great spring rolls: same ingredients (except for mayo) on a rice paper wrap. Drizzle with some reserved (unused) marinade, roll and eat! Light yet satisfying and perfect on a hot day.
cathy August 17, 2023
You are my kind of meal prepper-tasty easy and on the fly, willing to go beyond easy when you have the time :)
cathy June 11, 2023
Excellent and easy. Marinated for about 45 minutes and grilled pork tenderloin after cutting them and using mallet to thin down, 3 min each side on grill. It was wonderfully tender and tasty.
Hannah January 9, 2022
I spent a good amount of time in Vietnam, and one of the things I loved most there was getting a steaming hot banh mi every morning. This recipe manages to recreate the unique flavors of that perfect sandwich - the caramelized pork doesn't try to be char siu pork, but it is just as good (in fact, I think it's better).

In my opinion, the banh mi is a perfect sandwich, and this version does not disappoint.
Simona May 31, 2020
This recipe - and particularly the pork here - is absolutely delicious! Would without a doubt make this again.
Rey C. October 14, 2019
Easily one of my favorite and most made recipes. Everything about this is great.

Hazy C. September 10, 2017
Just made these for the second time last night.

Absolutely fantastic!
kiki January 30, 2017
Love, Love, Love. Can't believe how fantastic this recipe is. And easy. I invited friends over for dinner and made this scrumptious recipe. All were impressed. I was pleased with how well the pate complimented the flavors. My twin 6-year old foodies loved it along with their picky eater buddy. I'll have to try to make my own bread next time. I've ruined recipes by marinating too long. It can truly kill the meat, so followed your short marinating time and it was perfect.
Elizabeth June 1, 2016
I've made this many times over the last couple years and it never disappoints. I found a particularly fatty rolled pork loin at my supermarket last week - i sliced it thin and marinated it, and after grilling the fat streaks had kind of gotten a little melty and awesome, and the edges were brilliantly charred. We always close our eyes a little and swoon when we eat this. Also, I always make my own baguette for it (the popular no knead bread recipe from Jim Lahey) because I want something that has a hearty center. Well done!
Leslie C. May 8, 2016
Made this for dinner last night, with cucumber rather than daikon radish that I couldn't source. Absolutely delicious, my husband claimed all the leftover pork for lunch the next day! The marinade was excellent, I can use it for multiple applications. Thanks!
Greg L. March 10, 2016
I found the liver pate at a store that has Polish food if that helps. I found it did not have that overpowering liver taste. I had both the pork and chicken liver pate.
Laura V. March 10, 2016
Thanks-I went ahead without the pate- started the bread last night, tonight I'm baking it. The pork is marinating and I made the pickles. Tomorrow just cook the meat!
Laura V. March 9, 2016
I have had a chicken liver pate before, and I loved it! Even though I was NOT a liver lover it was great. But when I tried to make a pate it tasted horrible- Just so Liverish and yuck! Where can i get a good recipe, and which is better for a non liver lover- pork or chicken.?

stephanieRD January 31, 2016
I made this recipe a LOT a couple years ago when I lived in Cleveland, where banh mi is very hard to come by. This was the answer to my prayers and I still turn to it for inspiration to come up with my own banh mi variation!
Greg L. May 23, 2015
Thank you monkeymom! We loved them.
Liz April 12, 2015
So good! We added siracha to the mayo and soaked jalapeño and red onion in red wine vinegar because we didn't have any picked options. It was amazing but we will do it by the book next time. Thank you Monkeymom!
David C. January 31, 2015
You can also do jicama in place of pickled radishes. Whatever you do, leave the daikon alone. It will fill your house with the odor of an atomic fart.
Laura V. March 6, 2016
Windischgirl July 31, 2023
Really? I’ve never had an issue with a daikon, which I use to refer to a large, long white radish. Unless I have the wrong veg?
I have used raw baby white turnips as well, as a sub for radishes. It’s all about the crunch!
Carolyn January 8, 2015
I LOVE this sandwich. Have made it several times and get excited each time. Thank you!
James E. June 9, 2014
Such an amazing recipe and very delicious!!
Margarita U. February 24, 2014
This is the tastiest pork I have ever had! I can't wait to use this marinade recipe again! In fact, the pork tasted so nice that it was a shame to use it in a sandwich, where you couldn't appreciate its taste. I marinated 3 slices for about 90 minutes, but marinade would be enough for 4-5 slices I think. I eat low in salt and found the marinade perfect. I used the truffle mousse from Three Pigs sold at TJoes, ciabatta bread instead of baguette, did not have cilantro and forgot to add chilis. I love Banh Mi and in my case it didn't taste as expected, but I discovered a favorite recipe for pork served with rice and veggies. The pickled veggies are also nice on the side of any dish.
Jenny M. January 28, 2014
Hi monkeymom! I tasted the marinade (as you suggested) before putting it on the meat, but it tasted really salty, so I made the marinade again with only 1 Tbsp. of soy sauce. It still tasted salty, but I went with it anyway. Do you know if some of the saltiness will subside after it has been cooked? Can't wait to see how it turns out! Thank you for the recipe!!
Foodiewithalife January 4, 2014
I'm going to start marinating this weekend... can't wait for these weeknight sandwiches!