Vietnamese Caramel Braised Pork Belly Banh Mi – Nail Shop Eats #4

by on February 17, 2010

The leaning tower of pork belly banh mi: not for the light hearted

I’m not a comedian, nor was I trying to be one when I spoke frankly about my mother’s Nail shop cooking escapades. Like I’ve always said, my mother is a culinary fool, a manic of a woman who lives to feed her family of 6 kids and our extended family of neighborhood friends. She’s been known to get even more carried away and feed her nail shop clients homemade noodles and fish sauce while they’re getting their pedicures.

My mother’s nail shop has launched her notoriety as the local nail salon that leaves you twinkling with pretty red nails and stinking of fish sauce. Or in our case, smelling so umami-delicious!

Her salon is a combination Viet food joint slash Tuesday-after-5pm-pedicure-special nail salon. And it tickles me #32 bottle-pink to see the buzzing jive of food and eyebrow “wacks” that are going on. The ladies are still trying to pronounce “wax” correctly. Good luck.

I make an effort to be a good daughter and relieve her for a few hours from the bonds of the nail salon so that she can visit her vendors and suppliers. I enjoy the time that I’m in the salon because I get to visit all the ladies that work there and participate in their daily chat, gossip, bitching sessions and most importantly, food talk. When you get 10 Vietnamese women talking passionately about food, recipes and family food stories, it’s a Ph.D lesson in Vietnamese culture and cuisine. Everytime I walk out of there, I feel so much smarter and unfortunately, 10 pounds heavier from all the food talk.

On one lucky occasion, my mother had a huge tupperware of her beloved braised pork belly waiting at the salon. Before I arrived, she rang me on my phone and screamed (she always thinks we’re deaf on the other side of the cell phone) “Con ghé vaò tiệm bánh mì mua cho mẹ 8 ổ bánh mì baguette!!!” When Mother requests 8 loaves of crusty vietnamese baguettes, I know of only one salivating vision—Mom’s braised pork belly banh mi sandwiches.

I hooked a quick and discreetly illegal u-turn and headed to one of our local Vietnamese bakeries for the 8 loaves of baguettes that she requested.

When I arrived at the salon, it was like a scene from the “stone soup” story. Mom brought the braised pork belly, Chi Yen had a bag of fresh cilantro, Vicky (real name is Phuong) donated the tub of pate and the others completed the community meal with their donations of pickled carrots/daikon, fresh chiles and soy sauce. My arrival of the baguettes was met with roaring applause and the always anti-climatic critique, “What took you so long? We’re hungry!”

I dived head first in to the best banh mi of the day. Juicy, fatty, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly sandwiched between cool and tangy textures of the banh mi pickles is just pure Viet food genius. Add a light and heavenly crusty Vietnamese baguette to hold all the flavors and textures in, and what you have is one of the best friggin’ sandwiches on the face of the earth. That’s right, Vietnamese banh mi is one of the worlds best sandwiches and anyone who wants to argue with me will have my mother and her staff to contend with!

So there you have it. A Vietnamese braised pork belly banh mi that will leave you overwhelmed, satisfied and in awe on the power of a good mamwich.

Thank you Mom,


Other Nail Shop Eats (some of the very first posts for this blog -Jan 2008!) & Related Recipes

Step-by-Step photographs for Braised Caramel Pork Belly

above: cook shallots & garlic until fragrant and light brown

above: add pork belly, cook until seared on all edges, add fish sauce

above: add water, black peppercorns and braise.

above left: after caramel is added. Above right: after about 45 minutes of braising, pork belly becomes soft and caramel crusted. Pot of gold!

Step-by-Step Photographs for Vietnamese Caramel

above: the heated sugar will slowly melt and become light brown caramel

above: continue heating until caramel becomes golden brown. Immediately remove from heat. Add additional water (very carefully! slowly!), then stir quickly to thin caramel. Pour into pork for braising.

Braised Caramel Pork Belly Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe

Yield: 4 Sandwiches

Cook Time: 1 hour

Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly Banh Mi Sandwich Making good banh mi at home is quite easy, but can involve a bit of preparation. Simply put, you can make it as simple or thorough as you want or have time for.

Making Banh mi preparation easier is all about nailing down the assembly. Once you have your basic pantry items for banh mi, it won't take that much more effort. The carrot and daikon pickles can be made ahead of time and be stored in the fridge for about 1 month.


Caramel Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs warm water

Pork Ingredients

  • 2 lbs cubed pork belly (about 1 inch cubes)
  • 2 large shallots, minced (about 3-4 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoons oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • about 1 or 1.5 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Banh Mi Assembly (not all required, some are optional):

  • 1 french baguette
  • pickled carrots and daikon. Recipe for carrot/daikon pickles here.
  • fresh cilantro
  • soy sauce
  • pork liver pate
  • mayonnaise
  • thin slices of chili pepper
  • thin slices of cucumber


For the nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce)

  1. Add sugar and water to heavy bottom sauce pan. Heat pan on medium heat and let sugar melt. As sugar begins to melt, the mixture will begin to turn to a golden brown. Using wooden spoon, stir the mixture occasionally.
  2. Do not leave the caramel sauce unattended! Once the sugar begins to melt, it will turn color very quickly. As soon as the mixture turns to a medium golden brown, immediate remove pan from heat.
  3. If the mixture is still too thick, SLOWLY and CAREFULLY add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes more watery consistency. Adding the addition water to the HOT caramel will splatter, so be careful. Quickly mix with a wooden spoon so that there are no hard lumps. When finished, set aside.

For the Pork:

  1. In medium to large sauce pan (or dutch oven), turn on heat to medium. Heat oil, then add shallots. Slowly cook shallots for about 1 minute, then add garlic. Cook both until they become soft and fragrant. Add pork belly. Cook pork belly for about 10 minutes or until all the edges are seared and browned.
  2. Add fish sauce and cook pork belly for about another 5 minutes. Add about 1 cup of water. If you need more water to cover the pork, add more until the pork is covered. Add the peppercorns. Turn heat to low and cook for about another 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Then add the caramel sauce.
  3. Continue braising the pork on low heat for about another 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until pork is tender. Stir occasionally.

For the Banh Mi assembly:

  1. Slice baguettes lengthwise. Add the ingredients that you want (or like) to the banh mi. Add slices of the pork belly.
  2. Enjoy!
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas February 17, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Wonderful background story. Amazing inital photo (I’m salivating!) and well done on your series of descriptive photos for creating an envious meal.


2 Huyen February 18, 2010 at 12:45 am

Hi Diane, where is the best place to find good pork liver pate?

Thank you!



3 White on Rice Couple February 18, 2010 at 8:00 am

Huyen – Where do you live?


4 Yogi February 22, 2010 at 7:42 am

I don’t know where huyen lives, but I’m in Pasadena, and I’d LOVE to find a good source for pate.



5 Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary February 18, 2010 at 3:26 am

OMG that is mouth watering beautiful!


6 Dineindiva February 18, 2010 at 3:59 am

Stunning. That is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I want it, right now. For breakfast.


7 Jen Yu February 18, 2010 at 5:08 am

Oh. Ma. Gah!!! This is a little torturous at 6 am, Diane, don’t you think? :) To this day I have yet to try a banh mi sandwich and I’m “afraid” to try one around here until I have tasted one that meets your approval. So I guess that means I need to hurry up and get over there, right? You’re the best (and such a good daughter – why for no grandchildren!?!? – ha ah ah ah!) xo


8 White on Rice Couple February 18, 2010 at 8:24 am

Jen- hahahah!!!! I never said I was the “perfect” daughter! Mom’s requests for grandchildren has gotten a way too frequent over the last year, basically requesting every single day!


9 Thao February 18, 2010 at 5:10 am

I adore this stuff. Your story made me so happy and sad–I loved hearing about someone else’s Vietnamese family, but it really made me miss my own! Thanks for sharing. :)


10 joey February 18, 2010 at 5:15 am

“Vietnamese banh mi is one of the worlds best sandwiches and anyone who wants to argue with me will have my mother and her staff to contend with” — I agree 200%!!! When I visited Vietnam I fell in love with banh mi and am so sad I can’t get a decent one here :( I will have to try this recipe…not just banh mi but a caramel-y pork belly one! Thank you and thank your mom! :)


11 matt February 18, 2010 at 6:01 am

I’ve had the pleasure having this from T&D and believe it — THERE IS NOTHING BETTER. I could so eat this RIGHT NOW at 6:01am. Just like Jen :)

God I love these posts so much.


12 White on Rice Couple February 20, 2010 at 10:37 pm

matt- thanks matt! mom say’s hello and wants you to come over and taste her fish sauce!


13 Delia February 18, 2010 at 6:30 am

That looks positively amazing. The photography looks like your sandwich sat for a formal portrait, I love it! I am making your meyer lemon curd today. I am so excited!


14 Danielle February 18, 2010 at 7:47 am

That looks delicious, and I love your mother! These stories totally give me flashbacks of the good aspects of visiting Hanoi. (I got sick there, so there were bad aspects, too.)


15 Julia February 18, 2010 at 7:54 am

What a funny story!! I wish I were there to enjoy some Banh Mi, too. And I really could use a pedicure while I’m at it.


16 Sharon Miro February 18, 2010 at 8:05 am

My vision of heaven already had a pedicure involved–and now, well, I gotta say, forget the pedicure and hand me the sandwich!


17 casey February 18, 2010 at 9:16 am

The step-by-step photos –esp of the caramel colors– are so helpful. Many, many thanks


18 Victoria February 18, 2010 at 9:21 am

Oh, this looks so yum – all golden and delicious. I love banh mi sandwiches and now that I am making my own bread, I will have to follow this recipe to make one at home!


19 Deanna B February 18, 2010 at 9:35 am

I feel so bless to live so close to Little Siagon now. I think I’ll have to make the pork belly and just run over to my local bahn mi store for the veggies and bread. Wow sometimes my laziness surprises even myself.


20 Evie February 18, 2010 at 9:37 am

I love reading your posts! Any chance that pork butt can be used instead of pork belly? I live in a small town and pork belly is not readily available. I am ready to make this tonight, if possible.


21 White on Rice Couple February 18, 2010 at 10:36 am

Evie- yes! definitely, you can use any cut of pork. If it’s a lean cut, with less fat, then you need to increase the braising time to make the meat tender.
Also, you might have to increase the braising liquid too.


22 Woo February 18, 2010 at 10:28 am

Ever since you guys started that whole other site about bahn mi, I’ve been thinking about bahn mi non-stop. BUT I’m a bahn mi virgin. Yes, it’s true. Sad, but true. Furthermore, I live in Indiana! Let the ramifications of that sink in for a bit…. So, I said to myself, “To heck with geography! Make yer own!” Ok, I might have said it outloud and my husband might have said, “huh? Make my own shovel?” He may have been speaking of shoveling the snow while I was daydreaming about bahn mi bliss. Anyhow, long story short, I’m super excited that you posted this! THIS is the bahn mi I am going to introduce to all my new midwestern friends! THIS I know will win me snow shoveling slaves for the entire time I have to live in the midwest! I’ll report back in about a week! (I would do it this weekend, but I’ve already made plans to introduce them to the food I grew up on, Korean. We’re doing the Korean grilled pork belly, spicy pork boolgogi, all the ssam fixings and maybe soon-du-bu jigae.)
Thanks again!


23 White on Rice Couple February 18, 2010 at 11:11 am

Woo – did you say something about Korean food? Oh, my heart beat still. We LOVE Korean food. Da bomb!


24 Angie February 18, 2010 at 10:40 am

This is got to be one the best pictures I have seen, its so pretty, and looks delicious too. I have had these from the Vietnamese restaurants, but never made them at home.


25 Heidi @ February 18, 2010 at 11:04 am

Oh.My.Gosh. I think I am in love! That looks like fabulousness on a plate. Can’t wait to make it!


26 kwokie February 18, 2010 at 11:32 am

pork belly – yum! did you mean thick slices of cucumber or thin when you said “think”? i could see it going either way.


27 White on Rice Couple February 18, 2010 at 11:43 am

Kwokie- oops, typo. Thin, but thick if you want too! What ever you want.


28 DianasaurDishes February 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Okay I just ate lunch and that photo is making me drool!!! I love Banh Mi and this one looks incredible.


29 mirinblue February 18, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Fabulous! And I love the nail shop chronicles…I can smell the smells, hear the sounds. Please, more of Mom’s cooking adventures!


30 Tartelette February 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Drooling over here….Can you believe I have never had a banh-mi before? I know! Cray-zee…Plan to change that when I am in L.A in March :)


31 Girl Japan February 18, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I think counting calories is out of the question here, eh? “wink” I really, really like pork, esp with a lot of fat. It’s really hard for me to enjoy meats by themselves because although my husband eats meat, he is SO Picky about the texture.

In Japan, they sell this type cut on the local grocery, but I’m sure if I made it, my husbnd would put it on top of some Ramen… humph…


32 Tuty @ Scentofspice February 18, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Wow… your Banh Mi stack makes my mouth water.


33 Connie C February 18, 2010 at 7:53 pm

OH DIANNE, I love your nail bites, oops, I mean nail shop bites. Just wished I did not have to travel for for the crusty bread.


34 Leslie February 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm

wow…looks very tasty!


35 Divina February 19, 2010 at 4:41 am

Wow, with just one look, I really want to bite into it now. Gorgeous.


36 Sarka February 19, 2010 at 9:44 am

Oh, I’m salivating right now! I’ve never had Banh mi, but it looks divine! I like the story of your mother and her nail salon! ;)


37 chocolate shavings February 19, 2010 at 10:37 am

That is pure amazingness all packed up in a sandwich!


38 Captain Dumbass February 19, 2010 at 11:09 am

My wife left this up on the computer for me and now my stomach is cramping with NEED! Guess I know what I’m having for lunch.


39 my spatula February 19, 2010 at 11:49 am

oh my goodness…i could literally eat those sandwiches. everyday. for the rest of my life.


40 Bethany February 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Your posts are entertaining, heartwarming, and always yummy! Thanks for sharing a funny & beautiful portrait of your lives and culture! The pork belly looks like a project but I can see how making a ton and sharing with others would make for a great Saturday project.


41 matt February 19, 2010 at 2:48 pm

WOW, this is the best darn pork belly recipe I have ever seen. Love the sweetness added, the rich deep color. Just fantastic guys!


42 Gastronomer February 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm

That’s the most hilarious post I’ve read all week! Thanks for sharing another delicious tale from the nail salon. You know what, Diane? I have never had a banh mi thit kho! There’s a new place downtown (Starry Kitchen) that’s making them for lunch. I need to go grab one or just make one myself.

It’s interesting that you add the caramel sauce at the end. My fam makes a caramel sauce at the beginning, then adds in the meat and seasonings.


43 White on Rice Couple February 19, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Gastronomer- When you finally have your banh mi thi kho, you’ll keel over and die in heaven!
As far as the caramel sauce goes, it goes into the pot about 15 minutes into the cooking time. So, maybe about 1/4 way through. After the caramel sauce goes in, we braise it for about another 45 min to 1 hour, or until tender. Depends on how thick the pork is cut.
My mom likes cooking the pork first, releasing as much juice as possible, then cooking the caramel into the juice. It balances out the sweetness more, rather being too sweet. My papa is Northern and the man doesn’t like sweet food!


44 Kelly von Hemert February 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm

The torn bread, the use of colors and the devastating lighting of a Melendez still life: it’s pure pulchritude. Thank you! And your mom’s nail shop stories: classic! I eat in Little Saigon all the time, but the first time I tried home made banh khot was at the mani/pedi shop! Thank you for your beautiful site.


45 Cynthia February 20, 2010 at 4:14 am

I am definitely going to try this.

I laughed so hard at this: My arrival of the baguettes was met with roaring applause and the always anti-climatic critique, “What took you so long? We’re hungry!”


46 White on Rice Couple February 21, 2010 at 8:58 am

Cynthia- Thanks, because of you, I find humor in it too. Otherwise, it’s just my elders critiquing me all the time!


47 catherine February 20, 2010 at 8:59 am

Great recipe, superb photograph. I have bookmarked your site for future inspiration, thanks for takign the time to post.


48 Mark @ Cafe Campana February 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Wow, my mouth is watering as I write this comment. I would have never thought of adding caramel to meat.


49 HungryC February 21, 2010 at 1:51 am

My tailor took me to a nail salon in Hanoi (where locals go), and I had the best iced coffee there. I was munching down on cream puffs, and chowing down on bowls of beef porridge and beef noodles before my travelling companions were awake. Your pic make me wish I was back in Hanoi. Or I might just make a simple version of this for dinner – I have half a baguette and pork belly, and it’s raining too heavily to go shopping


50 White on Rice Couple February 21, 2010 at 8:57 am

HungryC- I wish I was back in Hanoi too. Sigh. Thanks for the great memory of eating chao and pho in Vietnam .


51 Kevin February 21, 2010 at 8:30 am

Those sandwiches look so good!


52 Katherine February 21, 2010 at 10:22 am

I want to go to your Mom’s nail shop!


53 White on Rice Couple February 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Katherine- LOL! She just might kill me if she finds out that I’ve been writing about her. ;)


54 tiina February 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Wow, could there be any more gorgeous dish – so colorful with amazing looking layers. Oh, the recipe looks wonderful!


55 mymudcake February 21, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Hello Diane and Todd! …am a first time commenter but a silent lurker for a long time. If I were there, I would surely love to visit your mom’s nail salon, but on second thought…don’t need to gain more pounds! Yeah…my in-laws also think we are deaf on the other end of the line!

I have never tried caramel braised pork belly sandwich. Thank your mom please for sharing her recipe.


56 Oi February 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I must try this! Vietnamese sandwiches (and pho) steal my heart. The best vietnamese sandwich I have found in NYC is this place in Chinatown called Saigon. Just <3 them and this sandwich looks even juicier and flavorful! I was thinking of pairing it with the white steamed buns (or mantaos). Now that I have posted this comment, I must make good on this post and show you pictures from my try at making the pork! Hopefully sooner than later.


57 Manggy February 21, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I believe you! Believe me, I never considered myself a sandwich person (rice all the way…) until I had my first banh mi in Saigon Sandwich in San Francisco. I’m a firm believer in sweet meats so this is right up my alley too :) The braised pork looks so much like our adobo here in the Philippines, except ours is braised in vinegar :)


58 White on Rice Couple February 26, 2010 at 7:26 am

Manggy- make an adobo banh mi!! xo


59 Nate February 22, 2010 at 3:42 am

Oh my God, you are making me miss the Bay Area so much because of that banh mi food porn. I haven’t had a good Vietnamese sandwich in over 6 months! I really need to get cracking on baking a good baguette so I can make these at home.


60 Carrie Minns February 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

Wow! This looks delicious…my mouth is watering. Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes and beautiful photography with all of us.


61 Shawn Regan February 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

I’d be willing to get my nails painted pink for one of these sandwiches! Your mom reminds me of mine, she’s Thai and i have to hold the phone at arms length away when she calls. When she cooks it’s hard to find an empty seat on the “floor” as well. Lol. good post. thanks!!


62 Dawn (KitchenTravels) February 22, 2010 at 10:28 am

Banh mi – one of my all-time favorite foods. When I was in my second year of law school and pregnant with our first child, I became seriously hooked on these sandwiches. There was a little hole in the wall place a few blocks from our flat in San Francisco that served the best Viet food. I’d stop there on my way to class at least three times a week, big belly and all, for a banh mi and a plastic cup of coconut banana tapioca to go. God help them if they were out of either! Trust me, you don’t want to come between a pregnant woman and her banh mi.


63 Samantha West February 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm

What a splendid website! Thank you for sharing such wonderful delights with us!


64 Yumi @ Natsukashii February 23, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Diane – I love your site! Thank you for sharing with all of us! This story is absolutely classic. I’ve been learning Vietnamese for about 2 years now. The food is fantastic and so I always look forward to your Viet posts. Cảm ơn rất nhiều! :)


65 White on Rice Couple February 26, 2010 at 7:25 am

Yumi- wow! you write great Vietnamese! I’m thrilled to know that you’re taking classes.


66 Mai February 24, 2010 at 9:20 am

I’m Vietnamese and I have never had banh mi thi kho either. It looks delicious so I’ll have to try it now. BTW, I love your nail shop stories. They are so funny!


67 White on Rice Couple February 26, 2010 at 7:24 am

Mai- my mom is famous for putting everything into a banh mi. Hope you get to try it one day, it’s delicious!


68 Lori Lynn February 24, 2010 at 2:22 pm

That is some sandwich!
Love the story!


69 Charlotte February 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm


This is hilarious! It reminds me of my work place. Our favorite meal is fried rice.
We have a rice cooker and electric wok that is stored permanently in the lunch room. We ASIANS make a big pot of rice one day and the next, everybody pitches in to make fried rice. Eggs, vegetables, BBQ pork, anything goes. The wok is electric so it does not get steaming hot but good enough for a freshly-cooked meal. One especially inspiring day, we brought a deep-fryer and fried homemade frozen egg rolls.

It never ceases to amaze the non-Asians :-)

(Mind you, my work place is a full-blown corporate office with 200 employees, not a small family business)

By the way, I am not a sandwich person but I love banh mi. The herbs and veggies are great.


70 White on Rice Couple February 26, 2010 at 7:23 am

Charlotte- haha! your story is hilarious too and another great example of the lengths that our people will go through to cook food. :D


71 Meaghan February 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Looks delicious.
I *love* banh mi & eat them once a week. I work all day on Saturdays and banh mi is my after-work treat. After eating my lovely sandwich, all is right with the world.
I read the other Nail Shop Eats stories,too. They’re adorable!


72 justcooknyc March 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

let’s skip the sandwich and just have a bowl of the pork, maybe over rice


73 d March 5, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I want to go to your mom’s nail shop to get my nails done AND more importantly to get me some banh mi! Or whatever it is that she is cooking. My mouth is watering, and I am so homesick now for some good ol’ Viet food! Great post.


74 J March 21, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I love banh mi and this looks outrageously good! I’m hoping to travel to Vietnam this year and I have to say one of the things I look most forward to is the food.

I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and I finally started my own. I hope you don’t mind that I linked your site as one of my favorites.



75 Vivilicious March 23, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Oh. My. Gawd. Pork belly banh mi AND a pedicure, my idea of heaven. Where exactly is your’s mom’s nail shop again? Would love to go next time I’m in LA, promise I’ll be discreet and try not to gush too much ;-). By the way, I love my banh mi with mayonnaise and Maggi sauce as well as chili sauce. that’s how I first had them in Paris, so I guess that’s my gold standard. Oh and the Bun Bo Hue looked amazing as well, one of my other faves. Sadly if I want to get anything this good here I’d have to make it myself. Vietnamese food in Singapore is sadly lacking. Maybe you could ship your mom out this way for a few weeks?


76 Andrew February 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Wow. This makes me want to get my first mani-pedi! Too bad I don’t get down to LA very much or I’d ask for the address of the salon!!


77 Downtown Foodie April 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Mmmm, looks delish! Your mom sounds sweet :)! For the sugar, is it palm sugar, demarara/raw sugar, or just regular white refined? Yummy, yummy! Your photos are stunning, by the way. I love the color! What kind of camera did you use?


78 White on Rice Couple April 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm

downtown foodie- hello. for these shots, we used a Nikon D300 and a 50mm lens.


79 anhhh May 13, 2011 at 3:18 am

Dear Diane, sound like you know so much abt Vietnamese food. I love food but just enjoying is my strong points, i don’t care much abt other things. My mouth is watering after reading yr post. Banh mi is cheap, but good.


80 Dee Sutton June 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I would like to know if there is anything you can use instead of Pate. I love food, but I cant get past pate, I hate it passionately.


81 Jess November 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm

This recipe looks great!! Two questions, how many folks does this recipe feed? and What cut of meat would you suggest for those of us who can not get pork belly?


82 White on Rice Couple November 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Hi Jess,
Thanks so much. It is delicious! For an average sandwich, it makes about 4 sandwiches, although we will frequently cut them down smaller to serve as appetizer bites for gatherings (kind of like what is in the first picture.)
In regards to the cut of pork, if you can’t get pork belly (try really hard because it is the best option), our next choice would be pork shoulder (also known as pork butt or Boston butt)
Hope that helps.
T & D


83 Katie @ saltpig canteen December 9, 2011 at 11:00 am

I am obsessed with Bahn mi and have eaten 6 over last weekend. I will definitely try this at home, has anyone got a good Vietnamese baguette recipe as it’s quite different to a french baguette


84 Joye April 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Several of my aunts and cousins work in nail salons, so your story brings back wonderful memories. They’re always hungry and in a hurry for food. And not only does my mother shout on the phone she also repeats everything twice. :-) Thanks for the smiles and recipe.


85 @leibatt August 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Trying this recipe out with chicken. Smells sooooo good!


86 Ses November 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Hi there, I have only just found your gorgeous blog. My 12yo daughter and I have just started learning Vietnamese and love the food, so I decided I should google some recipes to cook, to get us and the rest of the family enthusiastic about the great task ahead of us (I am 40, and know that this language will not come easy!!) this bahn mi looks fantastic!!! I have a piece of pork belly in the freezer, just begging to be made into this. My question is, do I cut the top layer of fat/skin off before cubing it? Thanks!! Sarah.


87 White on Rice Couple November 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Thanks Sarah. The best way to learn a language is through the food.;)
Cutting off the skin and fat is a personal preference. The skin will become fairly soft and gelatinous when cooked, but some people refer to take it off. Taking off the fat will make it a bit healthier, but we like the flavor and moistness it gives to everything. Personally, we’ll trim the skin maybe half the time, trying to keep as nice of a layer of fat as we can. The rest of the time we cook it with the skin on.
Good luck the the Vietnamese.
T & D


88 L. Chance February 12, 2013 at 12:37 am

No trim! It’s pork belly. This is no place to be health conscious. Old posts, place is quiet for such a bomb recipe. I’ve seen two variants – this type, and the “New Yorker” recipe with a HALF CUP of fish sauce per pound of belly. Oh, hell no. This is the proper recipe. Now, I, being me, do belly first, either stovetop to sear or what I prefer, is broil. Such color. Then pop in the shallots and all (I use onion), then follow as stated. I did onion and garlic first once but they burn on coloring the pork. To me, any way. Cooking time I stretched until a nice sauce was made, then tipped the pan and watched the fat roll off so easy. Saved it for later, and the pork is sublime. This is one great recipe. The next change in the next batch is scrap the water for beer. Yum.


89 Chance February 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Modified this AWESOME recipe a bit for what I think is a bit easier, at least for us. Hot pan, lard. Brined or even cooked pork. Sear. Onion. Color. Garlic. Don’t kill it. Fish sauce, times three! We love stinky fish over here. Caramel batch times three. Sweet stinky is good. Add caramel, water to cover. When I make the sammy I use avocado mayo (squish em together). Daikon carrot pickle, siriracha, cilantro, shot of quality soy sauce, shot of fish sauce, cilantro and Chile. The bread, I’ve found, is KEY. It MUST be good, fresh baked, THICK pieces if not in a loaf. It makes the base of the sammy. Incredible recipe, love it.


90 Rona T May 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Can the pork be made ahead of time and reheated the next day for assembly? Does it affect the flavour?


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