The Bánh Mì Sandwich is a Vietnamese-French influenced dish that introduces Vietnamese culture and cuisine to the world. In 2022, just as “pho” did back in 2014, the term “Banh Mi” earned its official spot in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

In this blog post, I will guide you on where you can enjoy Bánh Mì in Vietnam and how to prepare an authentic Bánh Mì Sandwich at home, just like a Vietnamese.

Close-up photo of a delicious Banh Mi Pate sandwich. The sandwich features a crusty baguette filled with layers of savory pate, fresh vegetables, cilantro, and pickled carrots.

🙋‍♀️ What is Banh Mi?

“Bánh Mì” literally means bread in Vietnamese, much like “Naan” in Persian.

While “Banh Mi Bread” or “Banh Mi Sandwich” may seem somewhat redundant, in the West, they refer specifically to the Vietnamese-style baguette filled with various ingredients.

Bánh Mì has its roots in the late 1800s during the French colonial period in Vietnam. The French brought the baguette to Vietnam, and the Vietnamese started stuffing it with locally adapted ingredients, giving rise to the Bánh Mì we love today.

Vietnamese dishes with French influence

🌟 The locally loved Banh Mi in Vietnam

I mean, any Vietnamese would likely have their favorite Bánh Mì food stall conveniently nearby their home or workplace.

Now, Bánh Mì and Vietnamese iced coffee have become a cultural phenomenon in Vietnam, especially among young people, as they symbolize the fast-paced lifestyle.

YouTube

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

A trending song dedicated to Banh Mi.

Let me introduce you to some Bánh Mì you should try when planning a trip to Vietnam:

Bánh Mì Thịt Nguội or Bánh Mì Thập Cẩm is the most popular type of Bánh Mì, typically filled with Vietnamese-styled cold cuts like Ham (Chả Lụa), Red Pork Belly (Thịt Đỏ), or Head Cheese (Chả Thủ).

Twitter

By loading the tweet, you agree to Twitter’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load tweet

Bánh Mì Heo Quay features crispy pork belly (my personal favorite).

banh mi heo quay
Bánh Mì Heo Quay (Banh Mi with Roasted Pork Belly) at my home in Nha Trang

Bánh Mì Xíu Mại: Banh mi with Vietnamese meatballs, a specialty from Da Lat.

Twitter

By loading the tweet, you agree to Twitter’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load tweet

Bánh Mì Thịt Nướng or Nem Nướng is filled with pork skewers or Vietnamese sausage skewers.

Bánh Mì Thịt Xíu highlights 5-spice pork, a specialty from Hoi An.

Twitter

By loading the tweet, you agree to Twitter’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load tweet

Bánh Mì Chả Cá includes fried fish cake, a specialty from Nha Trang (my hometown)

Bánh Mì Chảo (or Bò Né): a Vietnamese-styled full breakfast in which banh mi served with a hot pan of various ingredients such as eggs, sausages, liver pâté and Vietnamese meat balls.

Bo Ne (Vietnamese Steak and Eggs)

Bánh Mì Chay: a Bánh Mì filled with vegan ingredients such as tofu, seitan, or mushrooms.

We also enjoy Bánh Mì some simple ways like:

  • Dipping it in sweetened condensed milk: the combination of warm and crispy Bánh Mì with condensed milk may sound weird, but it’s an amazing combo.
  • Pairing it with Vietnamese egg coffee.

📝 Prepare Banh Mi at home

Of course, you don’t need to travel to Vietnam right now to grab a Banh Mi. Even if there are no Banh Mi stalls nearby, you can still make your own Bánh Mì at home with just a few of my tips.

Bread for Banh Mi

The Vietnamese-style baguette stands out with its ultra-thin and crispy crust. It’s also quite airy with less crumb, providing more room for the filling.

The Vietnamese bread may not be the best to enjoy on its own because it’s rather bland and lacks the deep, rich flavors found in artisan or sourdough bread. (Well, artisan bread in Germany is just so good!!)

Avoid any bread with a dense crumb. It’s ideal if you can either make your own Bánh Mì baguette or purchase one from a Vietnamese bakery. Alternatively, any very crusty baguette, such as a French baguette, will also work fine.

What is inside Banh Mi

Ingredients for Banh Mi Charcuterie Board

Inside a Banh Mi, there are typically several ingredients:

Liver Pâté: A traditional Vietnamese liver pâté usually crafted from pork or chicken livers and seasoned with a blend of five-spice seasoning.

Mayo: Vietnamese mayo is made from egg yolks and infused with shallot oil, scallion oil, or garlic oil, without any vinegar. It is notably thick and creamy compared to regular mayo.

A close-up photo of homemade Vietnamese Mayo, a creamy and rich sauce used in Vietnamese cuisine. It has a smooth and velvety texture, perfect for enhancing the flavor of Banh Mi sandwiches and other Vietnamese dishes.
Vietnamese Mayo

Pickled carrot & daikon (Don’t skip this!): Đồ Chua is thinly sliced carrots and daikon radish pickled in a brine of vinegar, water, and sugar. They add a fresh flavor and crunchy texture to your Banh Mi.

Sliced cucumber, green onion, cilantro and chili: These ingredients provide freshness and a spicy kick to your Banh Mi.

Maggi seasoning sauce: small drizzle of Maggi soy sauce can enhance the flavor of your Banh Mi. Alternatively, you can use your regular soy sauce.

Protein choices are versatile. You can fill your Banh Mi with various options, whether store-bought or homemade.

  • Bánh Mì Ốp La: sunny-side-up eggs & nước chấm. My favorite breakfast at the high school’s canteen.
  • Vietnamese cold cuts:
    • Chả Lụa (Vietnamese pork roll)
    • Chả Quế (Vietnamese cinnamon sausage)
    • Chả Thủ (Vietnamese headcheese)
    • Nem Chua (fermented pork paste)
  • Gà Nướng: Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Chicken
  • Thịt Heo Quay: crispy roasted pork belly
  • Thịt Nướng & Nem Nướng: grilled pork and grilled pork sausage

Substitutes and Fusions:

Assemble the Bánh Mì

Bánh Mì might initially appear challenging to prepare at home due to its numerous ingredients. However, if you have all the necessary ingredients ready (many of which are store-bought), you can actually whip it up in just 10 minutes.

  • Heat the baguette bread.
  • Split the roll down the top middle, but leave the back part uncut.
Slice the roll down the top middle.
  • Spread liver pâté and mayo on both sides of the roll.
Spread pâté on both sides of the roll.
Spread mayo on both sides of the roll.
  • Layer in the protein, cucumber strips, đồ chua, green onion, and finally, cilantro.
Fill the bread with protein, cucumber strips, đồ chua, green onion, and cilantro.
  • Finish by adding a few slices of chili and a drizzle of Maggi Seasoning (or Soy Sauce).

🍞 How to enjoy Banh Mi Sandwich

Vietnamese people love eating Bánh Mì anytime during the day, but it’s particularly well-suited for a quick breakfast (although many are more into piping bowls of Phở or fancy Cơm Tấm for breakfast).

Bánh Mì is an excellent choice for a picnic or camping trip. You can either assemble Banh Mi at home or bring all the ingredients and put it together at your campsite.

Banh Mi Charcuterie Board, the deconstructed version of Bánh Mì, is also a creative idea for your potluck parties or family gatherings.

Banh Mi Charcuterie Board on a table

For me, I simply love having Bánh Mì with milk tea for breakfast, and my caramel milk tea is always the best choice.

Some other Vietnamese street food:

Did you find this recipe helpful?

Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below! Your support means the world to me! It would greatly inspire me to create more valuable content about Vietnamese and Asian cuisines. Thank you and have a nice day!! Don’t forget to stay in touch with me on Instagram, FacebookPinterestYouTube 🥰.

Close-up photo of a delicious Banh Mi Pate sandwich. The sandwich features a crusty baguette filled with layers of savory pate, fresh vegetables, cilantro, and pickled carrots.

Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwich Recipe (From A To Z)

6b91f43e6abb4ea3ddc4c83fa8e3d4ad?s=30&d=mm&r=gCielle
The Bánh Mì Sandwich is a global ambassador for Vietnamese culture and cuisine these days. With my helpful tips, preparing an authentic Banh Mi at home becomes a breeze.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Protein Choices (according to your preferences, should total 1 lb / 500g)

Instructions
 

  • Warm the baguette bread.
  • Slice the roll down the top middle, leaving the back part uncut.
  • Spread mayo and pâté on both sides of the roll.
  • Fill the bread with protein, cucumber strips, đồ chua, green onion, and cilantro.
  • Top it off with a few chili slices and a drizzle of Maggi Seasoning (or Soy Sauce).

Notes

  • Vietnamese baguettes work best for Banh Mi, but you can also opt for any very crusty bread, like French baguettes.
  • As for the filling, you can stick with traditional options like Chả Lụa (Vietnamese Ham), Thịt Heo Quay (roasted pork belly), or Thịt Đỏ (Red Pork Belly). Alternatively, feel free to use your favorite protein (no need to limit yourself).
  • Liver Paté and Mayo are a must (the Vietnamese ones work best).
  • Đồ Chua (Pickled Carrot & Daikon) and Maggi Seasoning Sauce (or Soy Sauce) are irreplaceable.
 
 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
5/5 - (43 votes)

Similar Posts

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
anon
anon
28 days ago

5 stars
hi cielle! thanks for the recipe, i think your blog is soo underrated! not only do we get a little history lesson, we also get real recommendations where to eat in vietnam, as well as a breakdown of key ingredients, saying how its different from regular pate or mayo ❤️ this beats most of the banh mi recipes from big name blogs easily :)) it also makes me realise the banh mi vendors here have been a little stingy with the do chua and mayo hahah, also i rarely see daikon here in australia, usually just carrots and cucumber. perhaps it’s been westernised, as i mostly only see roast or grilled pork banh mi. it’s also really cool to learn all the names of the cold cut meats in vietnamese, i love learning new things. thanks again for the really extensive guide!

Ong KC
Ong KC
4 months ago

5 stars
Dear Cielle, Thank you for the recipes. I made Banh Mi following your blog. Bought baguette from a local vietnamese resto that bakes them. My hubby said he loves my Banh Mi, tastes so authentic with pickled radish & carrots, fresh cucumber strips & coriander, no Pate bec hubby does not like. I dare say my Banh Mi is almost as good as street vendors in vietnam. Better than some chain store in Singapore. For Protein filling I made lemon grass chicken but with leftover fillets of turkey breast. Run out of fish sauce so I used another tbsp soya sauce & added salt. Grilled it on a teflon pan & it came out super tender & moist. I will def be making more banh mi & more lemonngrass marinates. Planning to try it on Halibut fillets next time.

Ong KC
Ong KC
Reply to  Cielle
4 months ago

Thanks! Actually that’s my plan, get some cooked pork belly from supermarket for protein in my banh mi. I am on a Banh Mi adventure, trying different proteins. Just bought bratwurst from Swiss butcher today and planning to grill it to make Banh Mi. Have you tried? How do I get lemongrass flavour in? Can I marinate it like in your chicken recipe?

OKC
OKC
Reply to  Cielle
4 months ago

5 stars
Thank you for the tips. I really appreciate it. Decided not to do lemongrass infused bratwurst with sauerkraut (added like pickled vegs), as I worry the flavour may be too far off to match banh mi, I will stick to authentic Vietnamese flavours. I have done another banh mi with pork liver pate bought from Swiss deli. Protein was grilled lemongrass turkey breast, this time I have replenished my fish sauce. Also I did not forget scallions and scallion oil. I did not so much taste the difference. It was the sriracha mayo that carried the taste for me. The crunchy airy bread smeared with sriracha mayo, liver pate, then stuffed with pan grilled lemongrass turkey breast, padded with pickled carrots & radish, coriander & scallion, drenched in scallion oil. Super delicious.
Next I plan to do Vietnamese meatballs banh mi.

Ong KC
Ong KC
4 months ago

5 stars
I used sriracha mayo to line the inside of the halved baguette before layering the fillings. Forgot scallions but it seems not noticeable. Also no chili for me. Next time I will make pate banh mi, we had it while on vacation in Hanoi early 2023, from a chain cafe that sells plain banh mi with only pate fillings. For me that was the best.

Anonymous
Anonymous
18 days ago

5 stars