Healthy n' Hearty Banh Mi for Busy Moms and Active Kids

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The late chef Anthony Bourdain loved Vietnam. So much so that he would return to it repetitively and, on one occasion, even had then-US President Obama join him for spicy noodles and beer. Bourdain adored Vietnam for its people, culture, smells, sounds, and, of course, the cuisine. But aside from the coffee and pho noodles, another local street food staple is slowly making rounds globally – the banh mi.

Vietnam’s version of the submarine is loaded with pickled crunchy veggies. It also happens to be a good source of protein, thanks to the multitude of meats in it. You can get the roll with pork filling, beef, or chicken, or have the vendor fill it with every ingredient on their list. But you don’t need to travel out of the country to get one. Why not DIY at home? Call your family together and have fun assembling the sandwich. Think of it as a bonding experience with tasty rewards. Prepare it for school baon or as a handy snack to bring along with you on your family’s next beach trip.

A Filipino Take on the Vietnamese Banh Mi

Basket of crusty baguettes sit next to a tray filled with banh mi recipe ingredients

More traditional banh mi sandwiches contain chili, head cheese (meat jelly), pate, and a selection of cold cuts. Here is our pared-down version that would appeal to any sandwich eater. Let’s face it, meat jelly is not readily available and doesn't entice most kids and adults. Besides, we want your foray into Vietnamese food to be as if, you walked up to a simple stall and bought one yourself.

What you will need:

  • 1 toasted baguette, 6 inches in length, cut lengthwise
  • 6 tbsp Lady’s Choice Sandwich Spread
  • 200 grams of sauteed ground pork (season with salt and pepper)
  • ½ cup carrots, pickled and cut into thin strips
  • 6 slices of ham, cooked chicken breast, or salami
  • 6 cucumber slices
  • 4 sprigs of cilantro (no stems)


  • Spread an even layer of Lady’s Choice Sandwich Spread onto the toasted baguette.
  • Begin layering each ingredient onto the bread.
  • Finish off with liquid seasoning, light soy sauce, or chili oil. We also have another sauce recipe below.

Customarily, the bread comes in brown packaging. You can use wax paper, cling film, or aluminum foil to keep it fresh if you're saving it for later. Cutting it into smaller pieces also allows you to pack them in a reusable baunan.

Hoisin-infused banh mi sandwich sauce

When this sandwich was first invented, it had no special dressing. Diners were often content with the flavors of the pickled vegetables, a hint of mayo, chili oil, and a few drops of liquid seasoning. Over the years, stall owners became more creative and started introducing sauces that would appeal more to those who wanted a subtle sweet dressing.

What you will need:


  • Mix everything in a bowl until well combined.
  • The pinkish sauce should resemble Thousand Island dressing.
  • Smear the dressing on the bread before piling on other components.

A Quick Beginner’s Guide to Pork Banh Mi Recipe Marinade

Grilled pork banh mi sandwich with cilantro and green chilis on a wooden chopping board

Pork has always been a top choice for filling up a banh mi roll in many Vietnamese sandwich stalls. Are you venturing beyond the ground pork recipe? Try this grilled pork marinade. When you assemble your sandwich, don't forget to slather on a thin layer of Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise to keep it authentic!

What you will need:

  • ¼ cup patis
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground pepper, freshly ground is best
  • 6 thinly sliced scallions, use white and tender green parts
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 600 grams pork tenderloin, thinly sliced


  • In a blender, purée all ingredients except for the pork.
  • Pour the marinade over the pork and cover the container with cling film.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours.
  • Before grilling, brush the pork with oil to keep it from sticking.
  • Do the same to the grills.
  • Grill the pork over high heat. It should take 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat.
  • Let rest for several minutes before slicing pork into bite-sized pieces.
  • Assemble the sandwich and enjoy!

Pinoys aren't typically big sandwich eaters, especially during main meals. We usually reserve sandwiches for snacks – maybe because many of the sandwiches we are used to are less filling.

However, banh mi sandwiches are a different breed. Each six-inch sub packs all the essential nutrients needed by the body. Don’t believe us? Take a second to think about it. The roll contains carbs, proteins, fat, and a selection of vegetables.

Although packed with various kinds of meat, the banh mi is surprisingly devoid of the umay factor. Perhaps the fresh cilantro, pickled veg, or airy baguette keep textures interesting. There is just something about this Vietnamese street food roll that will make you want to keep coming back for more bites.

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