Pork Meatball Banh Mi

January 10, 2010

Meatball Bahn Mi

I think I’m the last person on the planet who has had the Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi, added to her food radar. The first time I saw anything about them was in one of my food magazines about a year ago. Anything with bright veggies gets my attention — especially if it’s salad. But a salad in a sandwich? This had to be good. Pickled carrots, cucumber with cilantro…and pork? I’d never heard of this particular kind of sandwich before. It was interesting that it was on a French baguette, too. An easy search led me to Battle of the Bahn Mi and then to White on Rice for some amazing renditions of this sandwich.

My first attempt follows.  After much procrastination, I’ve finally joined the ranks of those who love this sandwich.

Now, I need to find a local place that makes them.

I could eat them every day.

Pork Meatball Banh Mi

Recipe source:  Bon Appetit

Hot Chili Mayo

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)*


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt


  • 2 cups coarsely grated carrots
  • 2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon (Japanese white radish)**
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
  • Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles
  • 16 large fresh cilantro sprigs

The recipe can be found here.

Pickled Veggies
Pork Balls Pork Balls


  • We wanted to eat the meatballs before we made the sandwiches.  The aroma was amazing,
  • You knew how lean pork was, right?  Here’s the deal:  there are a few more calories compared to ground chicken or turkey, but ultimately the calories from fat are significantly less:  half.  That’s quite the difference.  I used  California natural extra lean ground pork and doubled the quantity (2 lbs.).
  • I used quite a bit of basil.  I couldn’t help myself.  I had a package that needed to be used and got carried away, so added about 1/2 cup to the mix.
  • If you don’t have Sriracha, you don’t know what you’re missing but you could substitute any hot sauce you like.
  • There was no daikon at my market.  Go figure.  I sliced radishes and added them to the carrots to pickle.  They were most likely a tame version of what the daikon would have been.
  • I didn’t have jalapenos.  I couldn’t believe it.  I always have jalapenos.  Honestly?  If you used the Sriracha liberally, the extra heat isn’t needed.  The balls and the sauce are spicy enough.
  • On the sauce:  I hate to mention this, but have to.  I couldn’t get my husband to consider eating anything with mayonnaise in it, so I made the sauce with ranch dressing.  Don’t get me started.  It was fine.  Don’t tell anyone.
  • I used a store-bought baguette and cut it into three pieces to make our banh mi.  For the amount of meatballs I had, I could have fed 6-8 with small portions.  Great party food.

Meatball Bahn Mi

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Kitt January 10, 2010

Wow, you sure did a great job for someone who doesn’t know banh mi! Looks delish.

There should be someplace nearby that sells them, too, if you’re in urban California.


bellini valli January 11, 2010

I am even further behind since I have not tried these sandwiches as yet. They sure look tasty.


barbara January 11, 2010

No I think you were second last. I’m the last. I’d not heard of them before. Fabulously detailed post.


Yvonne January 11, 2010

I live your blog and have been a reader for quite sometime. I also have a blog and recently did the kofta meatballs from the same Bon Appetit. I was so torn between these 2 recipes (sriracha is a staple in my house) – but the Banh Mi is next – looks delicious!


Karen@Mignardise January 11, 2010

I had a banh mi about a year ago and have been dreaming about another one ever since. Not too well known around here. We’re always several years behind the latest trends.
Now that I have the recipe, looks like I’ll have to make my own.
.-= Karen@Mignardise´s last blog ..A Nice Brisket – and a 100th Post Giveaway =-.


grace January 11, 2010

i, too, am at the end of the grapevine with the banh mi. although i have heard of it, i certainly haven’t tried it yet. can i just have some pork meatballs? that’s all i really want. :)
.-= grace´s last blog ..the rest is just gravy =-.


Esi January 11, 2010

Ok, now I really have to make this.


kim January 11, 2010

Adding this to my ever growing list of recipes that I must try! Your food photography is excellent!
.-= kim´s last blog ..11/365 =-.


Laura January 12, 2010

Very inviting! Pictures are great.
.-= Laura´s last blog ..Mamma… =-.


rebecca January 12, 2010

oh I so need one of these yummy


Barbara January 12, 2010

You are way ahead of me. I have never heard of this sandwich. Your photos are so good I almost smelled the meatballs! No wonder you wanted to eat them all before you finished putting the sandwiches together!
.-= Barbara´s last blog ..Spaghetti Casserole =-.


ravenouscouple January 12, 2010

great job! also very clever using the radish as a substitute. These “meatballs” (nem nuong) is a staple in vietnamese food and also great for making spring rolls as well.
.-= ravenouscouple´s last blog ..Banh Cuon Vietnamese Steam Rice Rolls =-.


lo January 12, 2010

Soulmates, I tell you! and this proves it.
We just had our first (marvelous) bánh mì this past week. And we seriously wondered what had taken us so long. Love the idea of making them with the meatballs. *drool*
.-= lo´s last blog ..Leftover Bliss: Bánh mì Sammiches =-.


Deborah January 13, 2010

I’ve heard of banh mi before, but have never had one. Now I don’t know how long I can wait before trying them!
.-= Deborah´s last blog ..Bananas =-.


Ivonne January 14, 2010

Second last person … I’m the last person to have one. Of course if you wanted to make one for me I would not object …

(Happy 2010!)


Carolyn January 15, 2010

You should photograph food all the time. This looks like it is from my Cooking Light! It is so perfect and yummy looking!
.-= Carolyn´s last blog ..15:365 (Face Friday) =-.


DaviMack January 15, 2010

You’re not the last one… after all, we vegetarians would just skip this. Sounds very tasty, though, and like something I’ll have to figure out some replacements for. :)


Prof. Kitty January 18, 2010

Thanks for this mouthwatering description–you inspired me to finally make these myself! (Go Sriracha!)


Christy/Chou January 25, 2010

Bahn mih are my favorite. Now I know what I’m going to make my honey for valentines!


Diane C. February 23, 2010

Hi- I’m writing to you from Bon Appétit magazine and am interested in possibly using a photo from your blog for a blog post we are putting up on our website http://www.bonappetit.com.

The photo will be extracted from this page:

And you will definitely be credited for your photo! Hope you can get back to me soon- Thanks so much.

Diane Chang
Bon Appétit Magazine


kellypea February 24, 2010

Hi Diane, Apologies for not seeing this right away! I’ve sent you an email, but if you don’t receive it, you’re more than welcome to use my photos, and thanks very much for your interest!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: