Street Food Sunday: Vietnam’s Most Loved Sandwich, Banh Mi Thit

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Vietnam’s famed Banh Mi Thit is quite the upgrade from a ham and cheese sandwich…

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There is no other dish that so perfectly embodies the history of Vietnam than the Banh Mi Thit. The 50c treat is found in almost any shopfront in Vietnam and has become somewhat of a symbol of Vietnamese cuisine.

Served on a crunchy French baguette – a bread introduced to Vietnam during the French rule of the 19th century – and spread thick with pâté, Banh Mi Thit pays homage to the country’s undeniable French influence. Layered with pickled carrots and daikon, juicy lemongrass pork, cucumber, and the divisive coriander, the sandwich is a delicious medley of French and Vietnamese cuisine.

Spice up your sandwich lunch this week with this authentic Banh Mi Thit recipe.

Banh Mi Thit recipe
Source: Andrea Nguyen

Banh Mi Thit Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 Vietnamese baguettes (see note) or other similar crusty white bread rolls
  • 2 tbsp store-bought pork liver pâté (see note)
  • 1 large Lebanese cucumber, cut lengthwise into 4, seeds removed
  • ½ cup coriander sprigs 
  • 2 spring onions, green part only 
  • Maggi seasoning or soy sauce and sliced red bird’s-eye chillies, to serve

Mayonnaise

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil

Pickled carrot

  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) white vinegar
  • 75 g (⅓ cup) white sugar
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, coarsely shredded

Lemongrass pork

  • 125g minced pork
  • 3 tsp grated palm sugar
  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ lemongrass stalk, green part reserved, white part finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil

Instructions

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Standing time: 1 hour

Mayonnaise (makes 1 cup):
Put egg and lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk in oil gradually until thick and emulsified. Add 1 tbsp water and whisk to combine. Season with salt and refrigerate.

Pickled carrot:
Dissolve sugar into vinegar over low heat before removing from heat. Pour vinegar mixture over carrot in a bowl pour over vinegar mixture, add 1 tsp salt and stir to combine. Stand for 1 hour or until cool. Drain carrots, discarding liquid, and refrigerate until needed.

To make pork, knead mince in a bowl with ½ tsp salt until smooth. Working in 2 batches, gather a ball of mince and throw it back into the bowl, repeating for 2 minutes, to tenderise. Add sugar, fish sauce, soy, lemongrass and garlic. Mix well to combine. Halve reserved lemongrass and shape pork mixture around each piece to make 2 x 10 cm pork ‘kebabs’.

Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue to medium. Rub oil over pork and cook for 4 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Split baguettes open and spread with mayonnaise and pâté. Cut pork ‘kebabs’ lengthwise and divide among baguettes. Add pickled carrot, cucumber, coriander and spring onion, and season with Maggi seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Scatter with chillies, to serve.

Note
• Vietnamese baguettes are available from Vietnamese bakeries.
• Pork liver pâté and Maggi seasoning are available from Asian food shops.

Feature image: Van Thanh on Unsplash

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Street Food Sunday: Vietnam's Most Loved Sandwich, Banh Mi Thit

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