Banh Mi in Vietnamese translates to bread. Just bread. But, we’ve all come to associate it with Vietnamese sandwiches. A concoction of your choice of meat with pickled daikon and carrots, crispy cucumber and fresh cilantro. So, Banh Mi Tacos (Bread Taco) should really be called Banh Tacos. Potato, po-ta-toh. Whatever you choose to call it, it’s delicious!
This recipe came out of a happy accident. We were making regular Banh Mis and ran out of baguette, but, had a bag of small tortillas. I’m sure someone, somewhere must’ve of thought of this before, however, this was a revelation to us. And it turns out we prefer the taco versions to the standard Banh Mis. There’s a higher filling to starch ratio which makes for a more satisfying, chock-full-of flavor bite.
The Char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) in this recipe will not be red as you would expect from your Chinese restaurant. That hot pink color comes from red dye which I’ve chosen to omit. It taste yummy just the same! The pork does need to marinate overnight, so plan ahead. And the pickling of the vegetables should be done the night before as well. Though I’ve done it 3 hours before serving with success.
Use a sharp blade when it comes to julienning the veggies, it makes a difference in the texture. If daikon is not available, substitute with five thinly sliced radishes.
Chinese BBQ Pork
1 pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine/sake
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Pickled Vietnamese Vegetables
2 medium carrots, thinly julienned
1 small daikon, thinly julienne
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
Tortillas, toppings and condiments
1 dozen small good quality flour tortillas (I used Alejandro’s)
1 peeled, seeded and thinly sliced cucumber
cilantro, washed, leaves only
Siracha or thinly sliced jalapeno peppers (optional)
Maggi seasoning sauce
Fresh cracked pepper
Pork and pickled vegetables
- Mix pork marinade ingredients.
- Trim tenderloin of any silverskin. Add to marinade and refrigerate overnight.
- In a bowl, mix carrots and daikon with 1-2 Tbsp. salt. Let sit for 10 minutes, this will draw out their liquid.
- In a container with an airtight lid mix pickling juice ingredients until all is dissolved.
- Rinse carrots and daikon to remove salt. Dry with paper towels.
- Add vegetables to pickling juice and refrigerate. Pickles should keep for at least a month.
- When you are ready to cook pork, remove tenderloin from marinade and set aside, reserving marinade.
- Mix honey with 2 Tbsp of pork marinade and brush tenderloin with mixture.
- Pork can be grill or roasted. To grill, turn grill to high. Grill tenderloin, turning every 3 minutes (covering in between turns) until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. To roast. Turn oven to high broil (500 degrees), broil in oven proof dish for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5-10 minutes until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.
- Let tenderloin rest for 20 minutes before slicing for sandwiches.
Assembling Banh Mi Tacos
- Warm tortillas on stove, in a pan. 30 seconds each side over high heat. Wrap warmed shells aside in a clean towel until ready to use.
- On each tortilla, run a bead of mayo and Siracha (optional) down the center.
- Top with slices of pork.
- Sprinkle pork with Maggi seasoning.
- Add a layer of sliced cucumber.
- Top with a little pickled vegetable.
- Layer with cilantro leaves.
- Pepper and top with jalapeno (optional).