Grilled Pork Banh Mi


After soaking in a spicy-sweet marinade, the meat is grilled on skewers and served in a baguette with cucumber and cilantro to make a flavorful banh mi pork sandwich.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
6 servings

Luke Nguyen grew up in Australia and learned to cook at his Vietnamese parents' restaurant. He later opened his own restaurant, The Red Lantern, in Sydney. On his first visit to Saigon, he had this simple banh mi sandwich filled with peppery pork and hoisin sauce.

In Vietnam, the term "banh mi" simply means wheat bread of any kind, though it's most often associated with the Vietnamese baguette. The French introduced baguettes to the country in the 1860s at the beginning of their imperialism. At that time, imported wheat was pricey, so the bread was considered a luxury food. It wasn't until bakers started combining wheat flour with rice flour around the time of World War I that baguettes became more widely accessible.

In the 1950s, the influx of North Vietnamese migrants to South Vietnam began to change the country's food landscape. Whereas baguette sandwiches until that point had been largely based on traditional French fare, sandwiches now started to take on local flavors. Bahn mi sandwiches as we now know them were popularized in the United States in the 1980s by Vietnamese-Americans.

The cucumber and cilantro toppings called for in this banh mi sandwich recipe are standard for most varieties; some also include pickled carrots or shredded radishes. As for condiments, chile sauce is also typical, though you can also find some sandwiches spread with mayonnaise.


  • 1/4 cup fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 scallions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, thinly sliced

  • 6 (8-inch-long) rolls or 2 baguettes, cut into 8-inch lengths and split

  • Hoisin sauce

  • Sriracha chile sauce

  • Vegetable oil, for grilling

  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into 2- x 1/2-inch matchsticks

  • 1 1/2 loosely packed cups cilantro sprigs


  1. In a blender, puree the fish sauce with the honey, sugar, pepper, scallions, and garlic. Transfer the marinade to a bowl, add the pork, and toss. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Thread the pork through the top and bottom of each slice onto 12 bamboo skewers.

  2. Spread the rolls with hoisin and Sriracha. Light a grill and oil the grates. Brush the pork with oil and grill over high heat, turning, until just cooked, 4 minutes. Place 2 skewers in each roll, close, and pull out the skewers. Top with the cucumber and cilantro and serve.

Grilled-Pork Banh Mi

© Con Poulos

Suggested pairing

Hoppy IPAs are terrific with these bold sandwiches. Try one from California’s Central Coast, like Firestone Walker’s Union Jack.

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