I get it now!
I finally understand what all the hype is over this sandwich, it’s an incredible thing you guys! It may not seem like it to you, but from where I’m standing the Banh Mi is a hugely popular fad right now. Maybe you can help me out because my perspective is probably skewed with me being a food blogger and everything.
It’s funny ’cause when it comes to almost anything else current (music, celebs, movies, huge world events…..) I’m pretty behind and oblivious to most of it. Like, sometimes I feel as if I may as well be living on Mars for all I can tell you about what songs are most popular or who the “it” people of the moment are. What I do get into keeping up with is what everyone is eating, so it’s likely you may have never even heard of a banh mi before and are really confused. If that’s the case let me introduce you.
Enter: these Vietnamese Pork Banh Mi’s with Sriracha Tahini Mayo! So you’ve probably gathered that it’s a sandwich but it’s not just any sandwhich. “Banh” (pronounced bun) actually just means bread and “Mi” (me) means wheat, so the name kind of only includes the bread, the filling is sort of implied though. I guess it would make more sense if you speak Vietnamese. There is some very interesting history behind these creations. They’re a fusion between French and Vietnamese cuisine that happened in the late 1800’s when Vietnam was under French rule. The French brought the bread to the party but then when their rule over the locals ceased years later the sandwich slowly evolved to include more and more of traditional Viet flavors.
By this point in history the Banh mi has gotten popular in places all over the globe due to immigrants and refugees pioneering the way for them. You can find this classic Vietnamese street food in places like London and NY, and like I’ve already pointed out, it’s an understandable craze ’cause they’re SO good!
Sandwiches aside for a second though, I have to tell you, I’m still so mixed up with the time change. I mean, I know that it’s been many days since daylight savings added an hour to my day, but my time equilibrium is still way off. I think another huge contributor to this is the proximity to the South Pole from where I live making our daylight hours almost noticeably shorten every single day. It’s been getting dark so early here that it makes it feel like I’m working late into the night even though my usual routine hasn’t changed at all. I’m also dependant on the sun for all the photos I share with you guys and trying to catch the perfect time of day to shoot can really stress me out as anyone who lives with me would tell you. It’s making me super cranky if I’m being honest.
But they forgive me for my occasional breakdowns because I make them things like banh mi’s! Speaking of which, I kept my recipe here pretty close to what I’ve found to be the basic style, are you shocked? I know, I’m always throwing in my own twists all over the place and changing things around, what’s happening to me? I don’t know, I just felt like I should keep something so delicious intact and not fix what wasn’t broken. The only thing that I did throw in was the tahini, because I had the idea a few weeks ago when I told myself I was finally going to try these and it’s been stuck in my head to do it with them ever since. I’m having a moment with tahini right now, can you tell? I love that stuff.
Oh right, how could I have forgotten to mention that I did the pork for these in our new slow-cooker! Obviously that seems like no big news if you live anywhere else on the planet but you’ve gotta understand, we have been without one ever since moving here to Chile because you can’t find them here. My wonderful dad surprised Mom and I with one and its arrival in the mail the other day so magically coincided with my plans to make this recipe. I’m a little bit psyched about it if you didn’t deduce that.
Alrighty, sorry if I’ve bored you with history lessons and nuances of my real life when all you probably wanted was a sandwich. What really matters here is that I’ve inspired you to try a banh mi. Have I (please say YES!)? Yay, then my job here is done!
- 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup red or daikon radishes, cut into matchsticks
- 2 small or 1 large cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 pounds pork fillet
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon sriracha (or more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 French baguettes (about 6'' each)
- 2 jalapenos peppers, sliced (optional)
- 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 lime (optional for squeezing on top)
- Fill a jar with your carrots, radishes, and cucmbers. In a small bowl whisk sugar, salt, and vinegar until combined then pour over veggies. Fill the remaining space in jar with water and cover with lid. Place in fridge to pickle for at least 4 hours (I like to give them at least 48 hours for best flavor and texture.)
- Place the pork in slow-cooker and whisk together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Pour marinade over pork and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours until fully cooked and super tender.
- Stir ingredients together until smooth and add additional sriracha as desired.
- Slice baguettes and toast if desired then spread each with a generous amount of tahini mayo. Slice the warm pork and layer onto buns then top with pickled veggies, cilantro, jalapenos, and additional mayo and/or lime juice if desired. Devour!