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Take your bánh mì game to the next level with this amazing Vietnamese-inspired tomato sauce! Infused with garlic, green onions, chili sauce, and five-spice, this sauce is thick, spicy, and so flavorful!

Pouring tomato sauce into a Bánh Mì sandwich.

⭐️ Why You Should Try This Recipe

  • It’s packed with flavor. This sauce has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy. The addition of garlic and a pinch of five-spice gives it a subtle char siu flavor! It’s definitely going to be your next secret ingredient for amazing bánh mì!
  • It’s quick and easy. 20 minutes, 12 ingredients, and one pot.
  • It’s a versatile sauce. That’s right. This sauce doesn’t have to be used only for bánh mì! It’s also delicious used in burgers, sandwiches, or as a dipping sauce!
Ingredients like tomatoes, five-spice powder, green onions, oyster sauce, and sugar.

🥣 How to Make Bánh Mì Sauce

This sauce takes just 20 minutes to prepare and one pot. Here is what you will need:

  • Tomatoes – Use fresh and ripe tomatoes for the best flavor. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can use tomato purée. Check out the FAQ below for more info.
  • Garlic and shallots
  • Scallions – Also called green onions, these add a sharp and peppery flavor to the sauce.
  • Soy sauce – For saltiness. Feel free to use tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Oyster sauce – Sometimes sold as “stir-fry sauce,” it’s a sweet and salty sauce that has a thick consistency. You can use store-bought vegan oyster sauce, or learn how to make your own oyster sauce here!
  • Sweet chili sauce – For a hint of spiciness and extra sweetness. I also have a recipe for homemade sweet chili sauce, if you want to try it!
  • Five-spice powder – We will not use a whole lot of five-spice powder, but enough to add a hint of anise and cinnamon to the sauce.
  • Black pepper
  • Cilantro – For freshness, we will add chopped cilantro at the end of the cooking.
  • Tapioca starch – To make a slurry and thicken the sauce. If you don’t have tapioca starch, you can use cornstarch.
Sautéed garlic, shallots, and green onions in a saucepan.

First, start by sautéeing the garlic, shallots, and green onions until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

In the meantime, add the tomatoes to a blender and blend to make a tomato purée. Pour in the tomato purée into the saucepan, add the sugar, and cook for about 5 minutes.

The tomato purée will take a deeper red color and shouldn’t smell like raw tomatoes anymore.

Preparing Bánh Mì sauce in a saucepan.

Next, add the rest of the seasonings: vegan oyster sauce, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, and five spices. Pour in 1/4 cup of water to slightly dilute the sauce and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

Finally, add the tapioca slurry and cook for one more minute or until the sauce has thickened.

Note: The sauce will thicken even more once chilled. Feel free to reheat it over low-medium heat to get a thinner consistency again.

🥖 Where to Use This Sauce

This sauce obviously shines in bánh mì sandwiches! Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the sauce inside the bread to add flavor and make the sandwich juicier.

You can also use this sauce in regular sandwiches, tacos, burgers, or simply as a dip for taro fries, mushroom tempura, or even vegan chick’n nuggets!

Bánh Mì sauce in a saucepan topped with cilantro.


Is this recipe authentic?

There is not one authentic recipe. Each cook has his own way of making bánh mì sauce. It is, however, based on Vietnamese recipes.

Can I substitute tomato purée for fresh tomatoes?

Yes, you can use about 1 cup of tomato purée.

How long does this sauce keep?

You can keep this bánh mì sauce for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Bánh Mì sauce topped with green onions in a bowl.

I hope you are going to love this sauce! If you have ever wondered what makes those Vietnamese sandwiches so tasty, the sauce is definitely one of the key components!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Bánh Mì sauce topped with green onions in a bowl.
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Bánh Mì Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Author: Thomas Pagot
A sweet and spicy tomato sauce that is perfect for adding a ton of flavor to your Bánh Mì sandwiches! Infused with garlic, five-spice, chili sauce, and green onions!
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cook Time : 10 minutes
Total Time : 20 minutes
Servings 1.5 cup


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch diluted in 1 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro


  • Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the minced garlic, shallot, and green onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
  • In the meantime, wash the tomatoes and slice them into quarters. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the tomato purée into the saucepan. Add the sugar, and let simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the tomato purée has darkened and no longer smells like raw tomatoes.
  • Add the sweet chili sauce, vegan oyster sauce, soy sauce, five-spice powder, ground black pepper, and water. Let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Finally, add the diluted tapioca and cook for one more minute or until the sauce has slightly thickened. Stir in the chopped cilantro and let cool for a few minutes before using to make bánh mì!
  • This bánh mì sauce will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Course : Condiment
Cuisine : Vietnamese
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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cant wait to make this soon for me i never had banh mi sauce before perfect for my snacks or your banh mi recipes love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

This sauce is so flavorful! We are having Bahn Mi sandwiches tomorrow for Easter and I think a good sandwich needs at least one or two good sauces. This is going to take our sandwiches over the top. Thanks so much for the recipe. 😁

5 stars
Wonderful sauce, I want to use it on everything! Will this sauce freeze? Maybe adding thickening agent after thawing?