Friday, August 5, 2011


This is a wonderful recipe that is versatile.  You can use it to serve as an entree or main course and sliced.  Or you can slice in smaller portions to serve for sandwiches or pork buns.

What is a pork bun?  In China, they are sandwiches using very soft white dough that is usually steamed or baked with filling in it - pork, or vegetable, etc...  In my past blog, I had featured a "bun" recipe using an open flat white "bread" that you can steam and then stuffed with filling of your choice like pictured below, on the right.

There are also Chinese buns where the filling is inside the dough which is completely sealed and steamed or roasted to cook.  They are called Cha Siu Bao.  The bread is made with both yeast and baking powder which makes the dough very soft with fiiner holes than a baguette or bread.
Pictured above:  Chinese steamed bun

Vietnamese baguette sandwiches, called Banh Mi has become very popular.  The usual baguette is soft inside and crackly crisp outside like a light French baguette.

To make it easier to eat this flavorful Vietnamese style sandwiches called Bahn Mi, I have used a regular "hot dog" bun or even slider sandwich bread.  This way, I can enjoy the taste without having to search for the availability of bread traditionally used for Bahn Mi.  This version will make it possible for anyone to create a Bahn Mi Asian sandwich using accessible ingredients.

For the filling, I have tried various recipes cooking pork bellies and have finally pinned down the best way to make a moist and very tasty meaty pork belly with versatile use and easy at the same time.

3 lb meaty pork belly (Make sure that you view this piece from its side so you see more meat than fat.  Just like picking the meaty bacon)
1/2 can of 7-Up
1/4 c soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
6 cloves of peeled and minced garlic
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp Five Spice Powder (found in grocery stores in a bottle)
2TB honey to brush on top or Asian BBQ sauce
*(Garnishes for sandwiches below)

Combine all the ingredients above.  Prick your pork belly about 5 times with sharp fork and put the entire meat inside in the marinade.  Marinate for 2-3 hours turning meat over once.  Transfer directly in a roasting pan on rack with water under the rack (or use a dutch oven with a rack) and cover with foil. Baste with the honey on top and bake in preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 1 hour.  Uncover and baste top with honey or Asian BBQ sauce and bake for 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and let it cool off.

Slice 1/4 inch thick and serve or use as meat for sandwiches or Bahn Mi.
Above, note the garnishes inside the sandwich and how thick or thin the slice is of the pork

TO PREPARE BAHN MI (Vietnamese Sandwiches)
You may use a nice baguette or baguette-style bread.  Otherwise, you can use hot dog buns or mini hamburger buns or sliders.

Bunch of cilantro leaves
Slivered scallions
Pickle Relish or sliced butter pickles
Cucumber slice (if available instead of cucumber pickles)
Pickled carrots (If not available, use pickled relish)
Siracha (hot sauce found in grocery stores)

If you will serve it right away, it is nice to toast the gread openned on a hot griddle first.  Otherwise, to take the sandwich out with you for a picnic or lunch for later, there is no need to heat the bread up.
Above, I have used a hot dog bun to make this Roast Pork Bahn Mi

Put mayonnaise on one side of the bread.  Squeeze siracha sauce, pickles or relish, sprigs of cilantro leaves and a slice or 2 of roast pork belly.

If you have time, you can make your own pickled carrots or purchase shredded pickled carrots from an Asian grocery store if you happen to know where to get it and use it as garnish instead of the pickles or pickle relish.

For Bread:  You may use hotdog buns if you cannot find a light French baguette.  Warm the baquette or if using hotdog buns, slice the bun and toast it flat on griddle.

You can also use the Chinese buns found in Asian markets' freezer.  Steam them first though.
Hong Kong Supermarket
157 Hester St
(between Elizabeth St & Bowery)
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhoods: Little Italy, Chinatown
(212) 966-4943

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