What to Serve with Banh Mi

Every country and cuisine has its signature sandwich, but few are as impressive as the Vietnamese banh mi. A cheap but full meal, a banh mi is served on a French baguette and filled to the brim with traditionally savoury goodness.

But if you find the fullness of an entire banh mi to be overwhelming, split the sandwich in half and enjoy it with the perfect side dish (and save the rest for tomorrow):

5 Dishes to Serve with Banh Mi

Though traditionally filled with savoury ingredients (particularly grilled pork, soy sauce, and daikon), many modern banh mi uses a mixture of savoury and sweet fillings. This makes it way easier to pair with a range of side dishes, such as: 

1) Baked Beans 

Believe it or not, baked beans are a popular side dish outside Britain. But other cuisines take baked beans to a new level, easily overshadowing the sweet mess that makes up tinned baked beans in the UK. 

Baked beans can be cooked in either a savoury or sweet sauce, so they can act as a good pairing for both traditional and modern banh mi sandwiches. Slow-cooked baked beans with rich sauce are best paired with savoury banh mi sandwiches, while baked beans in a sweeter sauce are better paired with sweeter banh mi fillings. 

The beans themselves are best when they have been slow-cooked for hours, developing a creamy tenderness that completely counteracts the crunch of the sandwiches’ French baguette and toughness of any pork fillings. 

2) Banh Bot Loc

What better side to pair with a signature Vietnamese dish than another Vietnamese classic, banh bot loc, aka Vietnamese shrimp and pork dumplings. 

Banh Bot Loc

Unlike other dumplings, banh bot loc dough is made using tapioca flour. This makes the dumpling much chewier, offering a refreshing change in pace from the more standard, crunchy sandwich. 

There is also the filling of the dumpling to consider. Shrimp and pork are a natural pairing seen across a range of cuisine. So long as you keep the flavourings of the pork and shrimp pretty basic then they make sense as a side dish for a predominantly pork-based sandwich. 

These dumplings can be quite filling on their own, so you don’t want to serve too many with your banh mi, though you can make a batch of them and enjoy them for lunch the next day if you wish. 

3) Potato Salad

The last thing you want a side dish to do is overpower the complex tastes and texture of your banh mi. But neither do you want a boring, plain salad served on the side of a stunning, show-stopping sandwich.

That is why a potato salad is a perfect compromise. 

Potatoes, while delicious, are mostly delicious because of how adaptable they are to other flavours. A squirt of lemon juice and dill can make the salad taste fresh, like a summer day, while a sprinkle of chilli powder or paprika to the mayonnaise creates a creamy kick that can be the perfect pairing for a range of meat fillings.

A lot of work usually goes into making banh mi. Potato salads are speedy and easy to throw together in between making your main sandwich, only needing some mayonnaise and seasoning to be delicious.

Just remember to put your potatoes on to cook before making your banh mi so they have time to cook and cool down. 

Potato Salad for Banh Mi

4) Mix Of Crisps

Though most of the side dishes on this list are cheap and easy, they do not come as cheap and easy as a packet of crisps. 

You can use a few different flavours of crisps and create your own crisp mix for the ultimate side dish. Ready salted and salt and vinegar will be plain and mild enough to pair with any banh mi sandwich, while other more specific flavours like BBQ can perfectly tie in with your banh mi’s filling. 

There are countless crisp flavours that your local supermarket will stock. For a banh mi side dish, stick with some of the plainer flavours. The crisps will still be delicious and morish, but you want to centre your sandwich as the star of your plate, not some roast beef or prawn cocktail crisp. 

5) Fruit Salad

A fruit salad is an underrated side dish but can make a banh mi shine. It is also a convenient way to use up any fruit laying around that may start to go bad, making sure you make the most out of your money. 

A savoury banh mi can become heavy and too savoury when stuffed to the breaking point with various grilled meats and savoury vegetables. Fruit can help make all that savoury goodness more bearable between bites, acting as a refreshing break. 

The only thing you may need to worry about with a fruit salad is using too many sweet fruits. A fruit salad that only has strawberries and mangos will be too much of a hard contrast for a savoury meat sandwich.

But a fruit salad with a healthy mix of tart and sweet fruits such as apples and grapes can work wonders. 

Fruit Salad with Banh Mi

Banh Mi Accompaniments FAQs

Do you still have questions about what to serve alongside banh mi? Then these FAQs might help you out:

What is the White Stuff on Banh Mi?

The white stuff could be one or two things. It could be a simple mayonnaise that is often used in banh mi, or it could be thin slices of pickled daikon.

What is Traditionally in a Banh Mi?

A banh mi is usually made up of a French baguette that is then stuffed with a meat, lots of fresh and pickled vegetables, a handful of refreshing herbs and a simple mayo dressing.

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