I’ve had a few friends over the years who were obsessed with Vietnamese subs. One massage therapist buddy loved them so much, in fact, that she exchanged a massage from one! Still, despite the fact that I love food from around the world, I never tried one. Whenever I’d think about it, I’d get to the restaurant and end up getting my favorite Broken Rice dish and promise to try it the next time.
Oddly enough, I got my first taste, not from a traditional restaurant but from Which Wich. They offered a banh mi sub for a limited time in my area and I decided to try it. I was pregnant and couldn’t eat cold cuts so it seemed like a great option! I had no idea, however, how much I was going to love it. I was disappointed, therefore, when they stopped offering the sandwich and I set out to learn to make it myself.
I’ve tried to make it several times but my most recent attempt seemed to be the most successful. It’s a pretty simple dish but there are a number of steps since you have to make the marinade for the chicken, as well as the sauce and the slaw. The effort is totally worth it in the end because you end up with a meal that everyone can customize a little bit to suit their individual preferences. Set it up buffet style and let everyone dig in.
First, you should probably get that marinade going. The longer the chicken sits in it, the better.
Chicken and Marinade Ingredients
- 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cubed (we prefer breasts but you can use thighs or a mix!)
- 2/3 cup of soy sauce
- 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 3 Tbsp. minced ginger
- 1/4 cup of green onions
- 1 Tbsp. of grapeseed oil
- *We omit ingredients such as fish sauce due to an allergy in our house but you can also replace 1/3 cup of soy sauce with fish sauce if you prefer!
Combine and let everything sit at room temperature for, at least, 15-30 minutes.
Next, you will want to get your slaw prepared. Again, it’s best to make this in advance and let the flavors get cozy. Combine the following and put in the fridge until ready to use:
- 1 English cucumber, very thinly sliced,
- 1 cup of matchstick carrots (add up to a half cup more, if you prefer!)
- 1 daikon radish, peeled very thinly sliced
- 1 cup of green onions sliced
- 3 Tbsp. of rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. of sugar
- 2 Tbsp. of Sambal Oelek
- 1 Tbsp. of soy sauce or fish sauce
Super easy! Just mix this together and throw in the fridge until ready. I like to add a little extra rice vinegar to mine for a sharper taste and thinner consistency.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp. sriracha
- 1-1.5 Tbsp. of rice vinegar
Optional Side Dish: Cilantro Lime Rice
This is really easy if you’ve got a rice cooker. Prepare jasmine rice and, once cooked, open the lid and squeeze some fresh lime juice into it. Add some cilantro and stir. Return the lid to the pot/cooker and let sit for 10 minutes. So good and so easy!
Once you have finished prepping all of the accompaniments, go ahead and cook the chicken. I like to cook mine in grapeseed oil but you could try other oils. I find that cooking at a high temperature gives the chicken a nice caramel coating due to the amount of brown sugar in the marinade. If your meat needs additional cooking, make sure it is browned on all sides and then reduce the heat until it is no longer pink inside.
Put It All Together!
When it’s all done, put chicken and rice on a plate and put slaw, sriracha mayo sauce and small tortillas on the table and let everyone customize their tacos themselves. It’s fun, easy, and a healthy way to try Vietnamese!