Caramelised Pork Banh Mi sandwiches

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Caramelised Pork Bahn Mi

As I said in my Ultimate BLT sandwich post, I am beyond obsessed with sandwiches at the moment. I love how so much flavour and texture can be achieved between two slices of bread and thus I’m expanding my repertoire..much to my family’s enjoyment.

Caramelised Pork Bahn Mi

Last night I decided to make my version of a traditional Bahn Mi which a Vietnamese sandwich consisting of baguette, meat, shredded vegetables and fresh chilli & coriander. I’ve eaten Daikon only a few times in restaurants but have never seen it in my green grocer or supermarket. I decided Twitter would be the most likely place for me to find out where in Pretoria to look for fresh Daikon and after asking the question, got approximately 10 answers as to where to find this long, white Japanese radish. I also learnt that I don’t know my city half as well as I thought I did and now have quite a few new places to go visit. I found the Daikon in a small Asian shop (Yat Sang) in Faerie Glen.

Fresh Daikon

I was contemplating using pork belly in my sandwich but decided instead to keep it quick and simple and used pork fillet that I had sliced and thinned out between two layers of cling wrap before marinating in a sticky and sweet Asian barbecue sauce. I grilled the pork in a griddle pan to create lots of caramelisation but you could do the same in a frying pan, under the grill of your oven or on the braai (barbecue).

Caramelised Pork Bahn Mi

To serve the Banh Mi’s I made a plain mayonnaise to add creaminess to the sandwich and topped the pickled vegetables and caramelised pork with fresh coriander and finely sliced chillies. The end result was a sandwich packed with sweet, salty and zesty flavours and interesting textures from the crunchy veg to the sticky pork. It also inspired my family to dub me the “Queen of Sandwiches” – a title I am very proud to have.

Caramelised Pork Bahn Mi

Makes 4-6 sandwiches

for the pickled vegetables
2 fresh daikon, peeled
3 large carrots, peeled
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 t salt
1 T sugar
for the pork
600g pork fillet, sliced into 5cm medallions
1/2 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup manis (sweet, thick soy sauce)
2 T fish sauce
1/4 cup canola/vegetable oil
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
2 T honey
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste
for the mayonnaise
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
1 small clove of garlic, peeled
250ml canola oil
salt to taste
for the bahn mi sandwiches
4-6 fresh mini baguettes, halved
fresh coriander
fresh chillies, chopped

  1. To start, make the pickled vegetables. Thinly slice/julienne/shred the vegetables.
  2. Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a microwaveable bowl and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the hot vinegar over the vegetables and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, tossing every now and then.
  4. To make the pork, place the pork medallions between two sheets of cling wrap and bash with a rolling pin/meat mallet until approximately 1cm thick.
  5. Combine all the marinade ingredients and add the pork. Allow to marinade for 5-10 minutes.
  6. To make the mayonnaise, place the egg yolks, mustard and lemon juice in a tall container and blend with an immersion/stick blender until pale.
  7. With the blender running, slowly pour in the olive oil until you are left with a thick, pale yellow mayonnaise. Season to taste and set aside.
  8. To cook the pork, heat a griddle pan until hot and grill the pork for 1-2 minutes per side until the marinade has caramelised and the pork is cooked through.
  9. Toast the halved baguettes under the grill of the oven or in a hot frying pan until golden brown.
  10. To assemble the sandwiches, spread some of the mayonnaise over the bottom halves of the baguettes followed by the cooked pork (you can slice the pork if you prefer).
  11. Add some of the pickled vegetables and finish off with fresh coriander and sliced chillies.
  12. Serve immediately.
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Showing 10 comments
  • Hungry Huy

    Homemade mayo? I can dig it! Banh mi is great and the meat is usually fatty enough to hold its own. But a well made mayo takes it over the top.

    For me the bread is also very important. It seems to vary a lot depending on which bakery (or Vietnamese bakery if available) you get it from.

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks for your comment! Definitely one of my favourite sandwiches.

  • Danelle De Klerk


    What can I use instead of the daikon? I cand find it anywhere around here!!

    • Alida Ryder

      I would suggest you use normal radish. Even though they won’t be cut into long thin strips, just slice really thinly and pickle.

  • Jacqui

    You must have been to YatSang just before and nabbed all the good daikon – they were all kinda soft when I got there. Yuck.

    Anyway, just wanted to note that you may want to add what size of daikon people should get. I saw that last week they only had the wee little ones, but usually they’re the size of my lower leg! We usually have problems figuring out at least 5 different meals to use just one. 😉

    But gorgeous photos as always, and scrummy recipe. Banh Mi is definitely one of the best sarmies in the world!

  • Kitchenboy

    Looks delicious Alida! And your photos (as always) are awesome – licking my screen as we speak.

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