Introducing the Traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi

Bin Mi is a sandwich traditionally served in Vietnam. The combination of ingredients generally used to create this sandwich is unique including:

• Pate slathered on crusty bread rolls
• Mayonaise
• Asian ham
• Green onions
• Pickled vegetables
• Cilantro
• Coriander
• Fresh chilies
• Seasonings

Although the ingredients listed above are considered to be classic, many people also include different ingredients or leave out others. When Banh Mi is prepared correctly, it is an excellent example of Vietnamese cuisine because the result is an explosion of flavour in the mouth. Making this sandwich is simple, but perfecting a good Banh Mi is difficult.

The translation of Banh Mi is wheat. All of the ingredients are stuffed into a crunchy and soft French baguette. Some sandwiches include cucumber, carrots or even shredded chicken. The ingredients used in Vietnam are dependent on the specific region. This often includes a variety of vegetables, pork sausage and headcheese. As a traditional sandwich in Vietnam, the Banh Mi was influenced by French colonialism and the introduction of French baguettes.

Despite the French influence, the people of Vietnam found a way to ensure Banh Mi was a unique Vietnamese creation. Although bread is always used to make this sandwich, the variety of ingredients and flavours ensure there is a recipe to please even the most discriminating of tastes.

Classic Banh Mi Recipe

To make a classic Banh Mi, the following ingredients are required.

• Pork tenderloin (10 ounces)
• Rice wine vinegar (6 tablespoons divided)
• Fish sauce (2 tablespoons)
• Hoisin sauce (6 tablespoons divided)
• One medium carrot (Thinly sliced)
• Two cloves of garlic (Grated)
• Kosher salt (1 teaspoon)
• One daikon radish (Medium size and thinly sliced)
• Vegetable Oil (2 tablespoons)
• Mayonaise (1 cup)
• Cilantro leaves including the tender stems (1/2 cup)
• One 12-inch baguette (Turn lengthwise and slice in half)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the pork tenderloin into the freezer and leave for 15 minutes to make slicing the meat thinly easier.

The frozen tenderloin is then sliced as thinly as possible. Place the slices into a medium bowl. Add three tablespoons of rice vinegar, three tablespoons of hoisin sauce, fish sauce and garlic. Mix well until all of the ingredients are combined. Set aside for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Use the remaining salt and vinegar to toss the daikon and carrots. Set aside at room temperature until it is needed. Take a large, cast-iron skillet and place it on the stove on medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the marinated pork. Cook for four minutes and do not stir. Toss the contents of the pan and cook one more minute.

Place baguette in the oven for 10 minutes or until it turns a golden brown. Spread hoisin on the top half and mayo on the bottom half. Layer with the pork, pickled vegetables and cilantro on the bottom half. Put the top and bottom halves together and slice crosswise. Serve and enjoy.

Vietnamese Bin Mi Recipe

To make Vietnamese Bin Mi, the following ingredients are required.


• Fresh Vietnamese baguettes (4 to 6)
• Grilled pork or homemade pork belly (1 t0 1.5 pounds)
• Crunchy Persian cucumbers (2 to 3)
• Do Chua or homemade Vietnamese pickles (Use the desired amount)
• Cilantro sprigs (8 to 12)
• Thinly sliced jalapenos (1 to 2 medium)
• Vietnamese pate (optional)
• Ground black pepper (To taste)
• Thinly sliced yellow onion (One medium)
• Soy or Maggi sauce (Use the amount desired)


Toast the baguettes until warm. They should not be crispy enough to crumble when split to place the fillings.

Wash all of the vegetables, then slice them for preparation. Using a mandoline will ensure the slices are uniform.

Cut each baguette in half. Do not cut the back portion to ensure the baguettes remain intact. Add pate and mayonnaise to the bottom. Place the meat and vegetables in layers. Add several shakes of soy sauce or Maggi and grind some black pepper to taste then serve.

History of Bin Mi

The original Banh Mi sandwich was created during the late 1950s in Saigon. In 1954, Vietnam was split into two different countries and roughly one million northerners headed south including Mr. and Mrs. Le. This couple was the first to make what is now referred to as a Banh Mi sandwich. They were the first to place the ingredients within the bread so the sandwich could travel with their customers.

At this time, food was not portable because styrofoam and plastic had not yet been invented. Saigon dining was revolutionized by this sandwich. Banh Mi was also ideal for busier life in the modern world. The Banh Mi Hoa Ma restaurant is still being run by Mr. and Mrs. Le in District 3. The sandwich increased in popularity due to shipments of American wheat and some of the local ingredients were changed.

The Banh Mi offers a lot of flavours, is an expensive meal and is low in calories. At this time, South Vietnam was called the Republic of Vietnam, with new restaurants and food carts becoming a common occurrence. New bakeries were necessary to provide the bread. Banh Mi became a new industry as more and more people began purchasing sandwiches.

In 1975, Saigon fell and millions were forced to flee Vietnam. They migrated to places including Paris, Seattle, Houston and San Diego because Vietnamese communities had already been established. Even though these refugees were unable to take most of their possessions with them, they brought their rich traditions and skills. A lot of them established restaurants for the Vietnamese communities and made changes encompassing the new local ingredients.

As time passed, Vietnamese food became popular with both Europeans and Americans as well. The popularity of Banh Mi led to Vietnamese entrepreneurs opening franchised restaurants and food trucks. Since then, the Banh Mi sandwich has turned up in restaurants and strip malls all over the world. The majority of Vietnamese still prefer to get their sandwiches from aluminum food carts to start their day.