Shredded Pork Banh Mi Bites- A Take on Tapas
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: