Banh mi are the hottest sandwiches in America, and you don't have to find a Vietnamese Banh mi shop to enjoy one. You have most of the ingredients at any decently stocked market in the America! The trick here is to make the roasted shaved pork at home. The secret is brining the pork before roasting! You can apply chicken breast to the recipe as well! Try to find very light, airy baguettes or French rolls. A good banh mi should be crispy on the outside and light and airy in the middle. Stay away from the bread that will shred the roof of your mouth!
For the roast pork: Combine the garlic, shallots, fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, black pepper and 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water in a blender; puree until combined, about 20 seconds. Place the pork in a medium bowl, then pour the marinade over the top and massage well. Marinate for at least 1 hour.
Heat a medium skillet on high heat and add some oil. When you see white wisps of smoke, saute the pork until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
For the pickled carrots: Combine the sugar, vinegar, salt, peppercorns and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar and salt have dissolved, then remove it from the heat. Add the cilantro and carrots and stir to coat them in the pickling mixture. Let stand until the carrots have softened, at least 30 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator. Drain them well and set aside. You can make this days ahead and keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
For the banh mi build: Combine the mayonnaise and pate in a bowl, then spread on the top and bottom of the toasted bread. Top it with the cilantro leaves, chiles, cucumber ribbons, pickled carrots and the grilled pork. There may be some leftover pork, so smash it into your mouth and enjoy while building the banh mi. Sprinkle with the soy sauce and close with the upper half of the baguette.
Pro Tip: Combine the pate and mayo in a food processor to make a super smooth spread. You can also sub in cold cuts here for the roast pork to save a step. You can also sub out half the carrots for daikon radish for some extra deliciousness.