I am a big fan of Vietnamese Sandwich (Banh Mi), and my favorite place to be in Vietnam is Hoi An, the reasons vary from Hoi An being such a beautiful little old town in the central, its cozy atmosphere, super friendly people, a peaceful place to chill in, clear blue skies, beautiful and long sandy beaches nearby, and a plentiful of local foods that seriously amaze you. And the best thing in Hoi An for me is this little Vietnamese Banh Mi stall right in front of the old market gate of the town, selling freshly baked sandwich with amazing delicious fillings that can blow your mind away, central style. No kidding! I saw CNN talk about it, Anthony Bourdain featured it twice on his No Reservations, everyone loves it, my friends and I , we madly adore it, the best Banh Mi in Vietnam is there, it is true, I am Vietnamese, and I crave for it.
So over the weekend, I decided to make my own central styled Vietnamese Banh Mi, in the good memory of 2010 when I visited Hoi An 4 times in the year (both leisure and work) when stopping over at that Banh Mi stall was such an easy job everyday. And so I made my own char siew pork (i think this type of cooking pork is chinese influenced), pickled the daikon and carrots, prepared lots of cilantro and herbs with fresh spring onions, and only if I baked my own french bread, just i live probably 2 blocks away from a good french bakery so I didn’t feel the need to (and not that I master how to bake French bread, given the convenience, I have never tried to). And here below is my Vietnamese Banh Mi, homemade with a lot of anticipation ( I was craving for it) and love ( I miss that favorite sunny central place of mine while Hanoi is now super gloomy and cold, plus the 90% humidity in the air made the chill so unbearable , trust me!). Hope you enjoy the post!
So first I prepared and made the pork the night before as it’s supposed to serve cold.
I bought a piece of about 1 kg pork belly, and marinated/ massage the meat with a mixture of 5 tbl spoons of olive oil, 1 tbl spoon of crushed garlic, 1 tbl spoon of salt and some pepper, 1 tbl spoon of 5 spice powder, and rolled the piece into a roll, wrap it with the plastic food wrap, ran a thread over the roll several times to tighten the roll and keep the roll in shape, and steam it for about an hour and 15 minutes, and I used some red food coloring on the pork skin to get a nicer touch to the piece, and this is my beautiful result:
After the pork was ready the next morning, I went ahead with some daikon radish, kohlrabi and carrot, slide them into strips using a slicing tool
Now you can mix them altogether, put them in the jar, and pour in a mixture of warm water, vinegar, sugar and salt to taste, and they should be good, crispy and sour after a day or 2. This was my jar:
And that was it for the filling. Now you just need to slice open a freshly new baked bread, spread in the butter and mayonaise, put the slices of char siew pork in, add some slices of cucumber, go generous on the cilantro and herbs and spring onions, top if off with some pickled daikon and carrots, and what makes it central style is the soy sauce that you pour into the bread, it brings all the flavors together so well and so tasty! You can add slices of chilli or simply use some chilli paste for the heat.
And voila! I am still happy now!