There are many things that I miss about the fabulous city of Sydney: the sparkling harbour, the beautiful beaches, the vibrant nightlife and the creative and colourful friends who live there. Of course, me being me, whenever I am away from the harbour city I also miss the amazing selection of food Sydney has to offer. As any true-blue Sydneysider will tell you, the best Vietnamese Chicken Rolls or chicken bánh mì to be had in Sydney can be found in Marrickville, in Sydney’s inner west – luckily enough, only a quick walk from my apartment.
These tiny, hole-in-the-wall establishments have such a cult following that the locals queue around the block every lunchtime to get their bánh mì fix. As befits their origin as Vietnamese street food there is a range of fillings to choose from, with pork and chicken warring for the most popular. Whichever meat you choose, the other ingredients are always the same. Shatteringly crisp baguettes, plenty of pickled carrot and radish, a generous slathering of mayonnaise, pâté or both and loads of chilli and fresh herbs.
This is street food at it’s finest, and is probably the cheapest, most filling meal you can find anywhere in Sydney! As travel is off the cards for the immediate future, however, I’m pleased to tell you that you can make incredibly good bánh mì at home. While the ingredient list may look long, the ingredients are easy to come by in any well-stocked supermarket. The actual hands-on work is minimal, and slicing up the carrots and radish will give you a chance to show off your knife skills.
The marinade for this recipe does most of the heavy lifting. It tenderises and flavours the meat, and then does double duty as a flavour-packed sauce. Even half an hour in this marinade is better than nothing at all, so you can even satisfy your bánh mì cravings last minute. This recipe makes 4 bánh mì, which depending on how hungry you are will feed 2-4 people.
In other news, I’ve updated the way recipes show up on my website. If you have tried a recipe and like it, it would be fantastic if you could give it a star rating in the recipe card. You only need to click the stars, no forms to fill out, I promise.
Hope you’re having an amazing week, take care out there and happy cooking! x J
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
for the pickled vegetables:
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 250ml warm water
- 200ml white vinegar
- 200g carrots, approx 2 medium, cut into fine strips (julienned)
- 200g daikon radish, cut into fine strips (julienned)
for the marinade:
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- juice of 1 lime
- freshly ground black pepper
for the chicken:
- 400g chicken breast fillets
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 large baguette or 4 small baguettes
- 4 Tbsp chicken liver pâté
- 4 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 spring onions / scallions, sliced
- 1 green chilli or jalapeño, finely sliced
- small bunch coriander / cilantro
- small bunch mint
- lime slices
Make the brine for the pickled vegetables by stirring the sugar and salt into the warm water until dissolved. Pour into a mixing bowl, stir in the vinegar then add the carrots and radish. Refrigerate until needed.
To make the chicken marinade, whisk together all marinade ingredients in a shallow dish. Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally so you have thin pieces and place in the marinade. Refrigerate until needed, between 1-24 hours.
When you are ready to serve, heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan, reserving the marinade, and cook, turning once or twice until well coloured and golden brown, 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan to a plate and cover loosely with tinfoil.
In a small saucepan, heat the marinade until boiling. Turn the heat down to a simmer and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, use your hands to shred roughly, then toss the chicken with the warm marinade.
To assemble the bánh mì, cut the baguette into 4 even pieces. Cut each nearly in half horizontally and open out like a book. Spread one side of each with pâté and the other with mayonnaise. Divide the pickled vegetables, chicken and spring onions evenly between the baguettes, then add chilli, coriander, mint and a squeeze of lime to taste. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1747Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 167mgSodium: 5497mgCarbohydrates: 239gFiber: 13gSugar: 33gProtein: 88g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I use another type of meat in bánh mì?
Yes! Actually, bánh mì rolls are traditionally made with several types of pork meat, so they are delicious with pork, though thinly sliced steak or roast beef would be lovely too.
I can’t stand coriander / cilantro or pâté! Can I leave it out?
Yes, of course. All the more for me!
Can I make bánh mì in advance?
You can make the pickled vegetables up to a week in advance, while the chicken can marinate for a maximum of 24 hours. After 24 hours the acids in the marinade will begin to cook the chicken which changes the texture. To make life easier you could cook the chicken in advance and either reheat it wrapped in foil in a low oven or just serve it cold. It’s very tasty both ways!