• Jerry Mai's banh mi heo quay from her book, Street Food Vietnam. (Jerry Mai)Source: Jerry Mai

Roasted pork belly. In a banh mi! Can there be a greater filling for a sandwich?






Skill level

Average: 3 (2 votes)


  • 4 banh mi (Vietnamese bread rolls)
  • chicken liver pate, for spreading
  • 1 tbsp hoi sin sauce
  • 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, sliced into 8 long wedges
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), cut into 15-cm (6 in) lengths
  • sliced bird’s eye chilli, to taste
  • coriander (cilantro) leaves, to taste

Pork belly

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pork belly
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • sea salt

Vietnamese butter, for spreading

  • 4 egg yolks
  • pinch salt
  • 400 ml vegetable oil, plus extra if needed

Pickled carrot and daikon

  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) white vinegar
  • 100 g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 kg carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 300 g daikon (white radish), cut into matchsticks

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


The pickled carrot and daikon component needs to be started 2 days in advance.

1. Start by making the pickle by combining the vinegar and sugar in a bowl and adding 100 ml water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Rinse the daikon and carrot under warm running water for 5 minutes, then drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel. Transfer to a large plastic container or non-reactive bowl. Pour the pickle liquid over the vegetables and set aside in the fridge for 2 days, after which time the pickles will be ready to use. Makes 1.3 kg. Leftover pickle will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

2. Preheat the oven to 250°C (440°F).

3. First, roast the pork belly. Rub the meat side of the belly with the five-spice powder and season with salt. Score the skin side and rub with 2 tablespoons of salt, making sure to rough up the skin so it becomes crispy when cooked. Set aside for 5 minutes.

4. Wipe off any excess liquid from the meat and season with a little more salt. Transfer to a roasting tin, skin side up, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy. Reduce the temperature to 180°C (350°F) and cook for further 30 minutes or until the pork is cooked through. Remove from the oven and rest the pork for a few minutes before slicing into thin pieces.

5. Meanwhile, make the Vietnamese butter. Place the eggs yolks and salt in a food processor. Blitz to combine. With the motor running, very slowly add the oil in a thin, steady stream. The butter should become thick and firm and resemble soft butter. If it hasn't thickened by the time you've added all the oil, add a little more oil until it comes together. 

6. Slice open the banh mi along the side without cutting all the way through. Spread one side generously with butter and the other side with pate, and place the sliced pork on top. Drizzle over a little hoi sin sauce and add the cucumber, spring onion and pickles. Garnish with the chilli and coriander, to taste.


Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99