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Banh Mi Tacos

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 30 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Vietnamese Dry Rub: 

1/4 cup Chinese five-spice powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Pork Belly:

One 3 1/2-pound piece pork belly

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic

1 onion, chopped

1/4 cup light soy sauce

1/5 cup dark soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

3 pieces star anise

Daikon and Carrot Salad:

8 ounces carrots

8 ounces daikon

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons chili garlic

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Sriracha Mayonnaise:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/6 cup Sriracha

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Twelve 5-inch tortillas, flour or corn, for serving

Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish


Special equipment:
Chinese mandolin
  1. For the rub: Mix together the five-spice powder and sugar in a small bowl, and then add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For the pork belly: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Rub the dry rub over the whole piece of pork belly, making sure to push the rub into the meat. Once the pork belly is covered, sear it in the skillet until browned, 4 minutes per side, to ensure that you have sealed in the juices. Pull the pork belly out of the skillet and let it rest. Without emptying the meat's juices from the skillet, saute the garlic and onions over medium heat until browned, 2 minutes. Add the soy sauces, sugar, vinegar, star anise and 1/2 cup water, and then add the pork belly, making sure it is no more than halfway covered by the liquid. Place the skillet into the oven and let it braise until it is very moist and tender, and can be pulled apart with ease, about 3 hours 30 minutes. Let the pork belly rest, and then chop it into smaller pieces.
  3. For the salad: Meanwhile, shred the carrots and daikon into thin strips using a Chinese mandolin. Mix together the vegetables with the sugar, vinegar, chili garlic and fish sauce. Let the mixture sit and rest.
  4. For the mayonnaise: Whisk together the mayonnaise, Sriracha, lime juice and rice vinegar in a small bowl and pour into a small squeeze bottle or set aside.
  5. For assembly: Heat the tortillas on a griddle over high heat. Add a small serving of the pork belly to each one, and top with the daikon and carrot salad, Sriracha mayonnaise and chopped cilantro, and serve.