Shredded Pork Banh Mi Bites- A Take on Tapas

by on January 15, 2012

Too much of a good thing is certainly possible. Take for example, my favorite sandwich in the world, Vietnamese Banh Mi. But wait, before you blame me for being biased (you’re absolutely right anyways), allow me to clarify a few things about my subjective love of this sandwich.

Yes, I’m Viet-Nam born, am Vietnamese at heart, and grew up eating banh mi for as long as I can remember when I started chewing solid foods. I often took this sandwich for granted as a grade school kid and was often embarrassed about taking it into my school lunch bag for fear of being sniffed out. As soon as this sandwich emerged from my bag, my classmates would pick up the aroma of pungent pickled daikon and carrots.

The pungent smell of pate and fish sauce laced pork loaf meat was quickly picked up by the rest of my peanut-butter-jelly clan of classmates. Noses would turn up, but not in a hateful way. It wasn’t often that fish sauce scented foods made way into an elementary school cafeteria and pickled daikon was known to clear a room rather quickly.

Still, my humiliation radar turned on. The crusty french bread with fresh pickles, rich pate, flavorful pork meat and tender sprigs of cilantro had no value to me at all. This was not quality food, I kept thinking. This was just embarrassing.

I was wishing I had a ham and cheese sliced white bread sandwich instead. And oh, an Orange Capri Sun would have been nice. I never got Capri Suns in my lunch and wished I was with the cool kids sipping this astronaut looking drink bag. Instead, Mom snuck in a can of tofu milk instead. I’m going off on a tangent, but all this is another long, venting post.

Anyways, fast forward 10 years later in High School. My non-Vietnamese friends are bringing banh mi sandwiches to school that they picked up at the local banh mi shop. Suddenly, banh mi was super cool to have at lunch. The cool Senior bench had cheerleaders sharing a banh mi sandwich and the captain of the football team was sporting a grilled pork banh mi and shrimp chips. Here was the coolest white guy on campus eating a banh mi and I’m sporting a PB & J sandwich. There was something seriously WTF’d up with this picture.

Since then, I’ve found pride again in my native foods and every time I pulled out the white wrapped banh mi sandwich, everyone turns my way in envy, not with their noses turned up. I’m crunching on my fabulous banh mi sandwich with crumbs falling on my lap and with a big beam of pride while everyone around me is barely gnawing on their limp PB & J. Those bastards in my 3rd grade class were definitely losing out. I believe that now.

My menu now at parties normally have a banh mi platter filled to the brim with bite sized sandwiches. But as of late, I’ve been playing with more tapas, bite sized, open faced banh mi bites. I’m loving this because the fillings are exposed and the first bite is always terrific and full of the fresh, flavorful fillings. That’s how my fun parties are started with: tasty little banh mi bites.

Timing was quite perfect last month when I was craving my banh mi bites again and thinking of making some shredded pork for the bites and Gilt Taste contacted us about trying out some organic pork. Normally we don’t accept offers to review food products, but knowing the quality of specialty foods that Gilt Taste offered, it was hard to pass up.

From what I had read at Gilt Taste, their market offers quality food made by artisans and small farmers across the country. We accepted their offer to try the Becker Lane Organic Farm‘s heritage breed Berkshire pork shoulder. We trusted Gilt Taste’s choice to support Becker Lane and quality of the pork and ethics on how the pigs are raised.

The pork shoulder was used to make this shredded pork banh mi and we were extremely pleased with the wonderful marbling and flavor. When pork of this quality tastes this good, you don’t need to eat a whole lot to be satisfied. Better yet, the philosophy of Becker Lane on their farming technique is both admirable and in tune of how we try to be more conscious about where our food comes from.

So thank you to the lovely folks at Gilt Taste for helping us satisfy our craving for more banh mi. Like I said in the beginning, too much of a good thing like great pork on banh mi should always be possible. I never feel a bit of guilt when I can enjoy comfort food from my childhood with fabulous ingredients produced with love.



Shredded Pork Banh Mi Bites Recipe

This recipe is my standard braised Vietnamese pork banh mi recipe and the only difference is how it’s served. Rather than serving it in a closed sandwich style, I’ve served it bruschetta style. These smaller bites are fun and perfect appetizers for parties and gatherings.

For the recipe and step by step photographs, please refer to my original Pork banh mi post.

You can see from the images on this banh mi bites post on how I served and prepared the final look.

Thanks and have fun with the banh mi bites!

More of my Banh Mi & Vietnamese Recipes:

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Comfort food and a trip down memory lane is where it’s at. I love that this food helped you connect to your roots and it’s stunning. The photos are so crisp, clear, vibrant; I want to reach through the screen for one!


2 Anna @ the shady pine January 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm

This looks like the ultimate sandwich! I’ve tried something similar served in a baguette at a nearby Viatnamese restaurant….the meat is so delicious and melt in your mouth!


3 Urban Wife January 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm

These are great! Much cooler than your standard bruschetta. ;)


4 January 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm

great recipe! I like the concept of tapas banh mi! :)


5 Snippets of Thyme January 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I’m going to be sinking my teeth into my childhood favorite sandwich soon…the fried oyster po-boy. I can relate! I would love to try this sandwich of yours soon. Is it typically on the menu of a Vietnamese restaurant or something prepared at home? While I’m asking questions…are you guys still planning that trip to Vietnam for food photographers?


6 Stephane in Alaska January 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I’m so glad you rediscovered your pride in your native foods! My maternal self was wanting to hug your child self. : ) Beautiful presentation!


7 Cookin' Canuck January 15, 2012 at 8:33 pm

You and I could have sat together at the lunch table – you with your banh mi and me with my leftover chicken curry. Outcasts with rockin’ lunchboxes!


8 Cookin' Canuck January 15, 2012 at 8:34 pm

P.S. Loving the background in these photos. Is that a red metal chest?


9 White on Rice Couple January 16, 2012 at 12:00 am

Dara- yes it’s a red vintage chest. One of a “few” that I collect. ;)


10 the gook January 16, 2012 at 2:25 am

Your school yard sandwich smell was totally my experience growing up. I used to cringe when it was lunch time. Others had what I thought were ‘normal’ sandwiches but mine was tasty yet totally messy, breadcrumbs everywhere. How times have changed. Long live the banh mi.


11 Maureen January 16, 2012 at 6:12 am

What a wonderful post. I love your banh mi!


12 alison @ Ingredients, Inc. January 16, 2012 at 7:24 am

so fabulous!! Hope you’re doing well and look forward to seeing you soon!!


13 alison @ Ingredients, Inc. January 16, 2012 at 7:25 am

so fabulous! My favorite sandwich turned into a crostini! Hope you’re well and look forward to seeing you in March


14 Angie January 16, 2012 at 7:29 am

Love your writing and photos, of course.


15 Karen Milling January 16, 2012 at 8:02 am

love the distressed red metal (?) table in the photos. Is it DIY or found object? The banh mi look tasty too!


16 White on Rice Couple January 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Karen- we found it at an antique store. :)


17 Ms. T January 16, 2012 at 8:06 am

Great post! Cant wait to try this recipe.The irony is that all kids are embarrassed about something at that age. It reminds me of how I felt bringing my friends over to my artist mother’s house decorated with weird flea market finds and funky wall colors. I couldn’t wait to grow up and have my own house–I dreamed of white walls and floral curtains. Here I am 25 years later with chartreuse walls with mom’s art hanging on them :) thank goodness age brings perspective.


18 LiztheChef January 16, 2012 at 8:53 am

Terrific post – I remember hiding the sandwiches my mother made on whole wheat bread – many moons ago – and she put lettuce in my pb&j…


19 Platanos, Mangoes & Me! January 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Such comfort and so much flavor….wish i could reach out and grab one….


20 Yadsia @ShopCookMake January 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I could eat this right now!


21 Jeni January 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Oh my, this would be perfect for all the dinners that my friends and I have been hosting.

And I definitely understand third-grade you… Except that my grandparents would smuggle com ruoc into my lunch bag or something. I can still hear Emily shrieking in my ear, “Is that DOG?!” Vietnamese-American stereotypes. =P


22 White on Rice Couple January 17, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Jeni- omg love com ruoc! thanks for the reminder, gotta eat that again soon. xoxo -d


23 MikeVFMK January 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

This is beautiful guys! Love banh mi and it’s great seeing it in tapas form. Little bites of heaven. Love the writing too!


24 Jessica Macpherson January 23, 2012 at 6:44 am

oh my gosh these look scrumptious. So many fresh ingredients! So much tastiness! Beautiful.


25 Beth January 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

Your recount of your childhood lunches made me remember that I refused to eat anything other than Kraft Singles “Cheese” on dry rye bread for an entire school year. I’m glad my tastes have evolved. Your bahn mi sounds infinitely better!


26 $35 a Week January 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I’m making something extremely similar to this for a dinner party, except with pâté instead of shredded pork. I wasn’t sure it was going to work or not, but now I see that it will! Thank you!


27 Kevin (Closet Cooking) January 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Those are some amazing looking banh mi tapas!


28 Monica February 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

I don’t eat pork but this sounds amazing! If I substituted chicken, what cut of meat should I use?


29 White on Rice Couple February 3, 2012 at 10:01 am

Hi Monica,
Our preference would be to use chicken thighs, but you could easily use breasts instead if you like them better. Enjoy!

T & D


30 Tina February 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Wow!!! these look amazing!


31 Janice February 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Too much of something this good looking seems almost impossible. It sounds yummy.


32 Russell at Chasing Delicious February 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Yum! These guys look so good! I love all things mini.


33 elizabeth ranger September 19, 2012 at 12:53 am

Your Banh Mi were undoubtedly more tasty, but I vividly remember unpacking a tuna sandwich for lunch virtually every day and having the smell fill the classroom. Oh, how I wished for coldcuts! (Yes, even properly delicious roast pork, although I didn’t know it at the time!). I’m glad you figured out how lucky you were, and passed on your experience with this totally rad crostini idea. I’m moving to Vietnam in a week and making banh mi (some vegan, some full of pork) for my going away party, so I’m also glad to hear that it’s a standard party food!


34 Katie November 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm

This looks amazing! Will definitely try at the next dinner party. Did you layer the mayo and pate on these banh mi bites? Also, have you tried toasting the bread prior to adding the ingredients for more of a crunch? thanks!


35 White on Rice Couple November 20, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Usually for the bites we’ll just do the pate. Maybe the mayo if they are going to be served and eaten right away. And a definite yes on the toasting the bread. Reminds us of the banh mi we’d buy on the streets of Viet-Nam. :)


36 Marlene October 9, 2014 at 12:50 pm

OMG, why oh why, didn’t I think of this?! I love to entertain and I love bahn mis to death! Especially pork. I appreciate that you used pate as I truly believe should be on every proper pork bahn mi sandwich. I have a question though, having never been to Vietnam I’m wondering what other clever/traditional combos this could be done with, if say I have someone that has an aversion to pork but not beef or chicken. Could I say serve it with a chicken pate and roasted shredded chicken? Or perhaps beef with a duck pate? Just a thought. Thanks!


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