Entertaining/ Main Course/ Recipes

Burger Meets Banh Mi, Deliciousness Ensues

At long last, we’re about to have a 70+ degree weekend. And that means we’re grilling for sure.

Having blown through my grilling go-to’s (flank steak and lamb burgers) last weekend for Memorial Day, last night I went back to a meatball experiment I did a few months ago, essentially taking the pork filling for a potsticker or spring roll and shaping it into a meatball. That was the beginning of dinner — a pork burger with Asian flavors.

Just like I would for spring rolls, I grated a carrot, cut up a couple of green onions, some garlic and ginger, and then looked in the fridge and realized I didn’t get any nappa cabbage. I did have a couple of baby Shanghai bok choy, so I chopped them up and sauteed the lot, drizzling it with mirin, shoyu (soy sauce) and chili garlic sauce.

So what do you put on it? If we were having regular hamburgers, it’d be lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup, but you can’t really go that route with this pork burger without totally drowning out the core flavors. I decided to do a quick carrot “pickle,” just marinating them in rice wine vinegar and a little sesame oil, a la the carrot and daikon on a banh mi. Plenty of onion already going into the burger itself, so I opted to keep the lettuce, just for a little greenery, and the ketchup turned into sriracha — which, interesting factoid, according to this NYT article, is not Thai, despite being named after a town in Thailand. I didn’t even think it was Thai, but who knew?

If I’d thought to take this to its full conclusion, I might have picked up ciabatta rolls and thrown in cilantro for a more banh mi-like presentation, but it was perfectly good on regular hamburger buns. You can also mix mayo with the sriracha for a spicy secret sauce, but as I’ve mentioned before, not everyone around here eats mayo, so we had the sriracha straight. I wouldn’t quite call this a banh mi burger. It’s more like…my husband just said:

Banh Mi Burgers

Print Recipe
Serves: 4


  • Burgers
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 t. canola oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1 in. piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced thinly on the bias
  • 1-2 baby Shanghai bok choy, stalks and leaves sliced thinly ~1/8 in. (1 or 2, depending on size)
  • 1 t. soy sauce
  • 1 t. mirin
  • 2 t. chili garlic sauce, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. bread crumbs
  • Carrot Slaw
  • 4 large carrots, peeled into long strips
  • 3-4 T. seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 t. sesame oil
  • 1 t. sugar (optional - depending on the carrots' sweetness)
  • Additional Toppings
  • 4 romaine leaves, sliced into thin strips, across the leaf
  • Sriracha



For the burgers:


Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 30 seconds to scent the oil. Add the carrot, onions and bok choy. Drizzle with soy sauce and 1 t. chili garlic sauce. Saute until just cooked through. Let cool. You'll end up with about 1 c. (or a little more) of vegetable mixture.


In a medium bowl, mix together ground pork, vegetable mixture, egg and bread crumbs. Add remaining 1 t. of chili garlic sauce. Mixture will be pretty moist. Form into 4 patties. Chill for 15-20 minutes to firm up a bit. Grill over high heat until cooked through, 7-10 minutes.


For the slaw:


Mix carrots, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and sugar (if using) in a bowl and let marinate for ~30 minutes.


Serve on hamburger buns or ciabatta rolls.

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  • D Cormier
    August 20, 2011 at 4:24 am

    Whoa … looks awesome … fan of Banh Mi, living in HK … was looking for something else on “TasteSpotting.com”, but gotta try that tomorrow ! With a good Vietnamese beer …

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