This version of pork banh mi is made with pork tenderloin for a quick, easy, and truly delicious take on the Vietnamese street food classic. It's equally weeknight-friendly and party-worthy.
Why we love this recipe
For years my take on a char siu tofu banh mi has been on heavy rotation in our kitchen and many of yours. This version, made with pork tenderloin, is similarly savory, special, and quick and easy to make. It's got:
- Layers and layers of savory flavors
- Crunchy, super-easy pickled vegetables that you'll want use in all sort of other meals, too
- An easy, fabulous, sweet and savory way to make pork tenderloin
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
For the pork
First, you'll create a quick and savory marinade for the pork.
- Pork tenderloin is quick-cooking and low in fat, so be sure not to overdo it in the oven. Pull it out when it reaches an internal temperature of 145° and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
- Five-spice powder is a warm, cozy, and slightly astringent spice blend made from star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, clove, and cinnamon
- Use unseasoned rice vinegar
- Hoisin sauce is a savory, salty, sweet sauce based on fermented soybean paste.
For the pickled vegetables
While the pork marinates, you'll quick-pickle some vegetables.
- Cut cucumber and carrots into matchsticks. You can use daikon cut into matchsticks or thinly sliced radishes.
- For the vinegar, you can use seasoned rice vinegar — or you can make your own from plain rice vinegar, salt, sugar, and a bit of mirin (optional), according to the directions in the recipe card.
To assemble the sandwiches
Here's what you'll need to put the sandwiches together.
- The rolls: Banh mi means "bread" in Vietnamese. But the best bread for these sandwiches is NOT fancy. A soft roll with a hint of crust that can be crisped up a bit on the outside is what you're looking for. In New Jersey, this pretty much means a standard-issue sub/hoagie roll. A section of baguette works well, too.
- I like to use Japanese mayo, but you can use regular mayo if that's what you've got.
- Drain the pickling liquid from the vegetables before serving.
My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples
For years, I've been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.
I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they're a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they're mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.
How to make it
Here's what you'll do to make these easy and fabulous pork banh mi sandwiches. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- Whisk up an easy marinade right in the pan, and marinate the pork while you make the vegetables.
- Prep the vegetables and stir them together with the vinegar in a shallow bowl. Let them marinate while the pork cooks and rests.
- Bake the pork at 400°F until just cooked through. Let it rest, and then slice thinly.
- Assemble the sandwiches, and you're ready to eat!
Expert tips and FAQs
Paté is a traditional addition to this sandwich, so go for it if you're in the mood. You can also swap in cooked chicken, pork sausage, or — for a bangin rendition — pork meatballs for the tenderloin.
You can pickle the vegetables and cook the pork up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate until ready to use. Assemble the sandwiches right before serving. Or, if you're picnicking with them, assemble, wrap tightly in foil, and serve within a few hours.
This sandwich is an American adaptation of a traditional Vietnamese street food. While truly delicious, it doesn't claim authenticity. I'd encourage you to seek out the Vietnamese original as well, and to support Asian-American creators. I recently came across Cooking With Lane, who shares Vietnamese, Laos, and Thai recipes. I think you'll love her site.
More favorite sandwiches
- Crispy chicken sandwiches
- Vegan Philly cheesesteaks
- Turkey meatball subs
- Chicken caprese
- BBQ pulled chicken
For the pork
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon five spice powder
- ¼ cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) neutral high-heat oil (such as safflower)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar
- 2 pounds (907 grams) pork tenderloin
For the pickled vegetables
- 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1 Persian cucumber or ½ English cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks
- 1 small daikon, cut into matchsticks, or 8 radishes, sliced
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
For the sandwiches
- 2 hoagie rolls (about 12 inches each), each cut into two portions
- Kewpie mayo
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Jalapeño slices (fresh or pickled)
For the pork:
- Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the center.
- In a 12-inch cast iron or other oven-safe skillet, whisk together the garlic, five spice powder, brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oil, and vinegar.
- Dry the pork tenderloin with paper towels.
- Add pork to pan and turn to coat completely with marinade.
- Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Transfer skillet to oven and bake until tenderloin reads 145°F in the center, about 20 minutes depending on thickness. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing thinly. Reserve the thickened marinade to spoon onto the sandwiches if you like.
For the pickled vegetables:
- While the pork marinates, place the cut vegetables into a shallow bowl.
- Pour the ½ cup vinegar overtop and stir to coat.
- Let sit until ready to assemble sandwiches, stirring occasionally.
- Before using, drain off excess vinegar.
For the sandwiches:
- Lightly toast the rolls, then split each one lengthwise down the middle, leaving the bottom intact so the roll can open like a book.
- Spread a generous amount of mayo onto each of the inside faces.
- Nestle some pork slices into the sandwich. Top with a generous serving of pickled vegetables. Drizzle with sriracha and top with plenty of cilantro leaves and jalapeño slices to taste. Serve immediately.
- I've tried to give an indication of how much produce you should buy, but really you want to end up with about 3 cups total of matchsticked veggies. This isn't something to stress about. Whatever you have will be delicious.
- If you don't have seasoned rice vinegar, stir together ½ cup plain rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon mirin (great if you have it, but don't stress if not) and 1 tablespoon fine sea salt. Heat it up in the microwave or in a small pot until the salt and sugar have dissolved, then let cool to room temperature before pouring over the vegetables.
- I get my meat from Butcher Box and tend to receive pork tenderloins that are about 1 pound each, so I bake two for this recipe. One isn't enough for four sandwiches, but two yields some leftovers.
- Real banh mi is all about the bread. If you can get legit Vietnamese banh mi rolls, go for it. Otherwise, the key is to find whatever rolls you can that can get a little crisp on the outside with a light toasting but are kind of medium-shitty and soft on the inside. In New Jersey this means run of the mill “sub” or “hoagie” rolls. You can also use sections of baguette.
- You can pickle the vegetables and cook the pork up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate until ready to use. Assemble the sandwiches right before serving. Or, if you're picnicking with them, assemble, wrap tightly in foil, and serve within a few hours.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 363Total Fat: 18.7gCarbohydrates: 35.7gFiber: 5.4gProtein: 11.8g