Slow Cooker Banh Mi Pork takes the classic Vietnamese flavors in an easy to make, crockpot dish made with lean pork, jalapenos, and garlic. Great for sandwiches, tacos, and more.
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This crockpot version of classic Banh Mi Pork takes of the traditional flavors of the Vietnamese sandwich to make a sweet, spicy, and savory tender pork dish that can be used in so many different ways. Topped with crunchy veggies, this dish is so good and so easy. Serve it on as tacos, a rice bowl with Cilantro Lime Rice, or with an Asian Noodle Salad.
Whenever we go out for Vietnamese food, I’m always most excited about ordering a Bahn Mi. Banh Mi are deliciously sweet and spicy Vietnamese sandwiches filled with flavor. They typically arrive packed into a French baguette with savory pork, pickled veggies, and a creamy mayonnaise-based spicy spread. They are one of my favorite sandwiches ever, as the combination of meats and condiments is totally unexpected, yet works so well together.
So when a craving hit this week, rather than take myself to the nearest Vietnamese restaurant (which, fortunately, or unfortunately, isn’t so close by), I set out to recreate a banh mi-style meal at home using the slow cooker. The meat is cooked with jalapeno, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar to infuse it with tons of flavor.
The combination of spices, sauces, and peppers gives the meat a deep, rich, and seriously delicious taste. From there, you can serve it up however you like. I went for a banh mi-style taco rather than using French bread (because…tacos), served up with some quick home pickled carrots and jalapeno and a squirt of Sriracha. So, so good.
What do you serve with Banh Mi Pork?
I like to stay on theme when serving Banh Mi — it makes my decision to make my own Vietnamese food and forgo the carryout even more worthwhile.
- I love a good slaw. Nothing tops this Asian Peanut Slaw for a good side — or put it right on top of your Bahn Mi because, why not?
- Asian Zucchini Noodles are a great, low-carb side that I love to make quite often.
- Crispy Asian Brussels Sprouts are a great way to satisfy that need for something crunchy, while also giving your body some good-for-you nutrients.
- Asian Kale Apple Slaw is a side that everyone loves to fight over at my house. Don’t you want that same fighting at your house? I mean, it’s a noble cause after all!
What other proteins can go in a Banh Mi?
I like mine with pork, but I’ve certainly had Banh Mi’s with chicken, steak, and even shrimp. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can try a combo of pate, pork, and even meatballs.
Sometimes people like to make them like the way they began — with cold cuts (and sometimes that pork pate sneaks in there too).
However you make them, just make sure you enjoy it!
Where did Banh Mi originate?
Like most foods throughout history, Banh Mi is a conglomeration of French and Vietnamese flavors, brought together out of necessity, kept in circulation out of deliciousness.
In the 17th Century, some French missionaries popped into Vietnam to try to convert them to Catholicism. Then the emperor of Vietnam killed two Spanish missionaries, which then put the French on high alert. Such high alert in fact, that they just went ahead and attacked Tourane (which is now Da Nang).
The emperor refused to give in and let the Catholics do their Catholic thing. Eventually, though, by 1862, the French finally won over Saigon and much of Vietnam. Then, to make Vietnam pay for the war, they forced three provinces to open up their trading ports to the French.
The French also started to grow and introduce the foods they were accustomed to all over Vietnam, including coffee, milk, and livestock. Because they couldn’t get wheat to grow there, they shipped it in. But, it was so expensive that only the French could afford it.
Fast forward to WWII. The Germans lost a couple of their warehouses full of wheat and other goodies to French troops. When the French left Vietnam to join the war effort back home, the warehouses used in the Saigon ports were free to whoever was around to purchase the goods.
Enter the Vietnamese, who could now afford bread, cheese, and deli meats. I bet you can guess what became of these newfound ingredients. Sure, the Vietnamese had their fair share of meat and cheese sandwiches. But they also began to combine the foods into their local recipes and make up their own dishes…ones that everyone could afford and ones that already had their own carrying case if you will. All one needed to do was order up a sandwich and carry it along with them, no container needed.
Eventually, in the 70s, people fled Saigon for America and other European nations, bringing with them their foods (thank God) which eventually became widespread due to their ridiculous deliciousness.
Which brings us full circle to this recipe, which I’m sharing with you and spreading it even further into the homes and mouths of my readers.