Leftovers/ Meat/ Sandwich / Burger

Bánh Mì Thit Nuong (Vietnamese Barbecued-Pork Sandwich)

Loaded with crisp coriander and cucumbers, pickled carrots and radish, fresh chillis, creamy mayonnaise and notes of umami, this sandwich using leftover char siu pork is next level.

How good are leftovers? I personally love them – which is good because we always have them in our house and if I hated them, it would be problematic. I have lots of fun creating good, tasty and easy meals with leftovers, so thought I would share this one I put together using leftover morsels of last week’s amazing char siu pork.

When I think of Vietnamese street food, I immediately think of Bánh mì.

Bánh mì (prounched bun me) is a popular Vietnamese baguette roll stuffed with a colourful array of delicious and flavourful fillings. It is simply translated as ‘sandwich’, but is absolutely not your standard plain Jane sandwich – it’s her much, much sexier cousin.

Prior to putting this recipe together, I had only sampled bánh mì once in my food-appreciating lifetime. It was a few years ago, from a small takeaway heaven in Wollongabba, Brisbane , called My Street Food. This place had a line up out the door, with hoards of people happily waiting to sample tangy vermicelli noodle bowls, authentic beef pho and gorgeous rice paper rolls, so I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Having heard of bánh mì before and never tried it, I passed on the pho that I would normally order at Vietnamese haunt and went straight for it (on this day, it was all about bánh mì, myself and I). I was delivered an unassuming crusty baguette, which was petite, light and fluffy, so far not really much to write home about. But it was when I pried it open that things started to get interesting. There was a dazzling rainbow of incredible colour: a gorgeous clump of finely shredded carrot and radish lay alongside vividly green slices of fresh cucumber. This was nestled against a strip of mahogany coloured flame-grilled pork, cradled by a fling of chopped chillis, a layer of beautiful coriander and finished off with lashings of house-made aioli. The scent was indescribable (in the best possible way) and before I even took a bite, I knew that this sandwich was a gamechanger.

Simultaneously spicy, salty, sweet and sour, with an intricate web of textures and temperatures – I have never eaten anything like it. It was so good that once that sandwich was devoured, I wanted another. And now, years later, that desire has never gone away.

So here I am, recreating. I will admit that I am cheating a little by using leftovers, but why not? The sweet and sticky flavour of the Char Siu works so well with the zest of the pickled carrot and daikon, and the thin crust of the baguette that shatters when you bite into it is like nothing else. Cheat away, I say! You can grab my recipe for Char Siu here.

Speaking of the baguette, try and avoid anything dense. You really want a fluffy crumb that almost dissolves when you eat it. The roll should be crunchy and almost ‘hollow’. For this reason, I avoid the gorgeous artisan bakeries for these ones and go supermarket-bought.

The secret to the sexiness of this sandwich is without a doubt, in the fillings. Be Spartan when it comes to this aspect – it should be bravely loaded up with beautiful morsels and colour – you should expect every bite to be different to the last.

Loaded with crisp cilantro and cucumbers, pickled carrots and radish, fresh chillis and creamy mayonnaise, this sandwich is next level. I also add a little Maggi seasoning; it adds a subtle note of umami which is just amazing.

Apart from a burst of flavour in every bite, this take on bánh mì ticks all the boxes: you get to have a nutritious salad, an energy boost from the bread and a little bit of good fat and protein from the pork. Not to mention the flavours <—- Yumtown!

If you have enough pork, double this recipe. You can count on wanting more than one sandwich each.

Bánh Mì Thit Nuong (Vietnamese Barbecued-Pork Sandwich)

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By Nosh - An Eater's Manifesto Serves: 4
Prep Time: 2 hours Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Loaded with crisp coriander and cucumbers, pickled carrots and radish, fresh chillis, creamy mayonnaise and notes of umami, this sandwich using leftover char siu pork is next level.

Ingredients

  • 300 - 400g leftover Char Siu pork
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 250g peeled and julienned carrots
  • 250g sliced radish (daikon if available)
  • 4 Vietnamese baguettes (or crusty petit pains)
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber – thinly sliced on an angle
  • Thinly sliced chillis – to taste
  • Bunch fresh coriander
  • Whole egg mayonnaise
  • Maggi seasoning (or fish sauce if Maggi unavailable)

Instructions

1

Prepare the pork by warming, preferably covered in foil in the oven at 150C until it reaches your desired temperature.

2

Meanwhile, prepare the pickled carrot and radish by combining the warm water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir together until all is dissolved and add the carrot and radish. Let it stand for at least two hours (see note).

3

Remove the pork from the oven and prepare by slicing into 5mm slices, against the grain.

4

Cut the baguettes open lengthways and warm in residual heat of the oven for a few moments.

5

Assemble the sandwiches by liberally slathering one side of the interior with mayonnaise. Next, nestle a few slices of chilli, a generous helping of meat, a couple of slices of cucumber, a clump of carrot-radish pickle and a fringe of coriander. Be liberal, this sandwich is all about this mixture of texture, temperature and flavour.

6

Finish with a drizzle of Maggi seasoning and serve immediately – this is best eaten while the pork is still hot and the cucumber cold.

Notes

You may have leftover pickle which is fine – leave them in a jar covered in the brine and refrigerate for up to three weeks.

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